The Best Praise For a Pro

What it means to be “fire and forget.”


“Fire and forget…”

It’s a term used to describe smart weapons that can lead themselves to a designated target.

It’s also quite possibly the best praise a professional can receive. As in: “He’s fire and forget, put him on the problem and tell him to call you when it’s solved.”

The phrase is worthy of a blog post here because, put simply, it’s something that we focus on developing in our work with our clients.  While the vast majority of our work is focused on working closely with our clients, there are times when data just needs to be found, or interviews conducted, or analysis completed in order to solve a problem.

And that’s where being or having access to “fire and forget” resources can make the difference between professional life and professional death.  Being a resource of this kind means a few things.

It means you are competent.

It means you are reliable.

It means you are trusted.

It means you are credible.

It means you are resourceful.

It means you are responsible with resources.

And, so if fire and forget is the ultimate in professional attainment, why are so many professionals lacking this level of trust?

My answer?  A mis-designation.  We think some people are professionals when in reality they are simply role players.  They have a job, not a profession.  There is a difference.  There are plenty of ways to define what a professional is, but I know of only one good way:

The professional gets the job done the right way. 

But, becoming a professional is a process. Sure, there are some intrinsic aspects of a worker that are hard to coach–how curious they are, how resilient they are, whether they act with purpose or watch the clock–you probably know them.  But so much of being a pro has to be learned.  Show up.  Get results.  Do real work.  All these are marks of a great pro.  But, so is sensitivity.  So is practical judgment.  So is empathy.

You want to gain the highest professional compliment?  You want to be “fire and forget?” Better yet, do you want to retain or hire true professionals?  Start looking at their track record on these attributes.  Start looking for people who act with purpose and judgment, even early in their careers.

Oh, and when your professionals aren’t professionals?  Make the move.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this one…

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