Experience 30-minute Issue Coaching session
business coaching

What Professionals Do . . . to be Business Literate

The current workday is conducted like an ATM machine. Data in, data out. We must add back the human element. It is to our advantage as professionals to conduct ourselves differently because we will receive more of what we want in the way we want it!
Here is a useful starting point to encourage your team and yourself to advance in your career. After two decades as a business coach, I crafted these points as useful discussion points to explore in staff meetings.
Please select and circle three priority items in each section to apply your attention. Write them on a 3 x 5 card and prominently post in your work area. Read it first thing in the morning and last thing before leaving work. Be sure to read your next-day schedule before leaving.

Here are several tips based on highly effective professional behavior:

  • Optimism fuels their options. The O-Principle: Opportunity + Optimism=Optionsä
  • Write down the plan for the next day.
  • Accountability for one’s actions.
  • Aligns self-talk with accomplishment and values.
  • Finds out the expectations before beginning the project based on the originator’s desires, vision and behavioral style.
  • Anticipates next steps to your daily activities and events you manage.
  • Assembles their tools before beginning the project.
  • Identifies and reviews availability of resources before beginning the project.
  • Commits to lifelong learning.
  • Conducts business as if it is their own.
  • Consistency and follow up methods are ACE quality traits professionals have.
  • Courtesy sets the professionals apart from the crowd.
  • Efficiency—Exercises awareness when leaving telephone messages by leaving what they need back, time frame, format and best method of delivery.
  • Have a method for “Urgent, MUST DO, Can do” as they move through the day and minimize distractions.
  • Have a system to file and retrieve completed projects.


  • IMPLEMENT, MONITOR AND ADJUST (3-Phase Loop) throughout the day as priorities may shift.
  • Asks for what they need.
  • Knows when to delegate without dumping with precise time frame, format and preferred method of delivery. When you delegate you are still responsible for the outcome. Apply your follow-up on items you delegate.
  • Makes an investment to manifest that their employers look good.
  • Adopts flexibility as an asset.
  • Negotiation skills are essential for breaking through barriers and boosting self-confidence.
  • Eliminates distractions, interruptions and dumping on others.
  • Procrastination is not an option.
  • Provides people with information in the manner they can process it best—Apply the Platinum Rule, do unto others as they would have you do unto them.
  • Recognizes and practices the art of discipline. This is applying routine to an action (computers do this). Do it the same time and same way each day until you consciously change an element and achieve conscious competence
  • Recognizes the impact of their actions on the company BUDGET. Figure out how much income the the company must make in order to support your position?
  • Reads and acquaints self with industry publications, trends, Internet sites, resources for future referral.
  • Reduces verbal instructions; submit requests in writing so recipient has a record of the transaction.
  • Seeks help beyond their knowledge base to build value.
  • Separates the ego energy from the project and FOCUSES on the desired outcome.
  • Shares with colleagues to help them do their jobs more effectively.
  • Takes ownership of their job description tasks, roles, functions and delivery.
  • Understands what they are managing: 
    • People
    • Company Resources 
    • Time (pace, accuracy,  
    • Materials 
    •  Budget 
    • Company priorities 
    • Company values
  • Have a high sense of commitment, integrity and loyalty.What they say they will do.

Consider these ideas:

  1. Follow up so that little time is wasted with phone tag, retrieving lost data, incomplete documents, and incomplete details.
  2. Don’t assume anything! Log, review, apply, review again, measure, close.
  3. Determine who needs to know and approve the steps of the assignment before starting.
  4. Assess by asking yourself—“What causes most problems in my communications? Not understanding what’s expected, fear of appearing ill-informed, fear of reprisal, not knowing the questions to ask, where to go to find what I need?” Break it down into bite-size pieces.
  5.  Think ahead. “What if they don’t receive my message, what can I do to assure they do?” Take responsibility for at least three more contacts even if they don’t respond. Add two more contacts for urgent responses.
  6. What is the next step to keep the pace on this project?
  7. Say to yourself, “How will this impact the person I represent or am working with?”
  8. What are the five priority details that MUST be addressed to complete my assignment on time?
  9. As a professional, courtesy sets you apart from the crowd.
  10. Speak clearly and directly into the telephone. Be aware of tone and pace in stating your request or case. People hear less than 30% of what you say. Provide a written follow-up memo, fax or letter.
  11. Arrive early for meetings and bring everything you need to support your message or presentation.
  12. Define your work area. What are the three priority things you do daily. Make your area clear for you to perform comfortably. (A desk map is useful. Keep it handy if you’re on vacation or on extended absence.)
  13. Organize files, writing supplies and resources in files, job jackets, boxes, and piles.
  14. Identify a common area that people can deposit, takes things away from your work area. Let it be known to your co-workers so they can benefit and expedite working with you, and don’t intrude on your privacy.


As a credentialed business coach and analyst, one of my primary functions is to work with individuals and company managers to clarify where they are presently, where they would like to advance, and what tools they have and need to achieve their desired outcome.

I use a variety of tools to assess perceptions including Platinum Rule instruments, my experience and training in assessing behavior. My preferred tool is the EQ-i®, emotional intelligence inventory. I have specialized training on the EQ-i® and DISC Inventories and access to multiple other sources including a company culture index. I prefer the EQ-i® because it is the least judgmental instrument I have found. It focuses on strengths and areas of development related to the goals set by the individual. For example, people are more likely to apply the EQ-i®’s information rather than label themselves by the Myers-Briggs categories.

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