Susie Kay

About Susie Kay

I am passionate about excellence and the very positive effects it has on individuals and organisations. So my business is helping you build and maintain professionalism in your personal and working life – supporting you in being exceptional.

I published “Professionalism: the ABC for Success” in 2010 (available from Amazon, bookshops and and its message continues to inspire and support. I am currently working on two other books with colleagues. The first is a humorous guide to surviving the different personality types that you are likely to encounter at work. The other is a guide to good practice in the governance of non-profit organisations, an area where my expertise is called on by third sector organisations needing to review their governance, internal structures or strategies.

As a conference and event speaker, and also running workshops and seminars, I offer ways in which we can all be as productive and effective as possible.
There are moments in most lives when some well-timed personal support can provide the answer to a difficult problem or the route to a successful outcome. I therefore provide face-to-face mentoring and it is always a remarkable experience to be such an integral part of someone’s life, even for a short while.


THERE are a great many ‘Top 10’ lists available on every conceivable subject, for work, for leisure, for health and many more besides.  However, here is one more for you to consider which generates enormous change for the better wherever it is used.

When we think about the meaning of professionalism, we need to consider not just our own work and relationships but also need to think about our expectations of professionalism from those around us.  Have you perhaps been disappointed by someone recently?  It may be that they did not quite deliver what you needed on time, perhaps their attitude on the phone left something to be desired, or you just got the overwhelming impression that they didn’t really care?  Unfortunately, it doesn’t take very long for the cumulative result of these small failures in professionalism to become quite damaging to the one thing which has the power to scupper all of our best laid plans – our reputations.  We know that people often choose to work with people they like and are more prone to making recommendations to others based on their positive experiences.  Building and maintaining our reputations for excellence is, therefore, the surest way to make steady progress in any role.

Just before we get to the Professionalism Top Ten, it is important to mention one more magic extra ingredient.  It is the one personal trait which has the potential to do most good in the workplace or in our home lives.  It is Empathy – the ability to understand how it might feel to be in someone else’s shoes, to experience how they might be feeling when on the receiving end of our services, our moods, our everyday personas.  We cannot know precisely how someone feels but we can see for ourselves the results of our interactions with people.  If we take the time to look, we may see a little more than we expected.

So here they are, The Golden Rules, which ensure that we think, behave and act in way which make us stand out from the crowd and, wherever possible, be a positive influence on those around us.  Professionalism makes a difference and makes the working world a better place to be!






  • always striving for excellence
  • being trustworthy
  • being accountable and taking responsibility for your actions
  • being courteous and reliable
  • being honest, open and transparent
  • being competent and continually learning
  • always acting ethically
  • always acting honourably and with integrity
  • always treating others with respect
  • always respecting confidentiality
  • setting a good example


A copy of The Golden Rules is available to download to put on your wall or share with colleagues.  Just go to


Adapted from “Professionalism: the ABC for Success”  by Susie Kay
Published by Professionalism Books at £10.99;  ISBN: 978-0-9565401-0-2 (Available in paperback and Kindle editions from Amazon)


“The secret of joy in work is contained in one word — excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it” – Pearl S. Buck, American Novelist

“Excellence is not a single event, but a habit”  – Aristotle

“Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way” – African American educator, Booker T. Washington

Professionalism in Challenging Times

There probably aren’t many people who would disagree that we have had a difficult couple of years.  Even with a combined will to find new or better ways to make an impact on our current circumstances, it is likely that each of us will probably be required to do more with less, get used to having less resources available to us but still be expected to make a positive impact and provide services of high quality.

That’s a big task so how can we make it happen?  How do we go about having that positive impact and how do we make the most of what we have at our disposal in both our personal and work lives?

Professionalism’s real importance is in the way that it helps us deal with the challenges we all face, bringing benefits to an individual’s day to day work and leading to increased satisfaction and success in the workplace.  The many attributes of professionalism fall into three categories – attitude, behaviour and character.  Although too many to be listed here, finding ways to make professionalism work for you is not difficult.  It can be incremental, implementing small differences or improvements each day and then, after a while, finding that you have been an agent for change, not just for yourself but also for those around you.

We are also all aware that in this climate we will be thinking about surviving but how to thrive is a much better question.  What will make the difference, how can we achieve the balance?  The answer lies in the relationships we develop with those around us, how we interact with the world and the impression of ourselves that we offer to those we meet.   Adopting and living by all the essential qualities of professionalism will deliver huge benefits for individuals and for organisations.  For those running businesses it will gain customers for us, keep those customers happy and ensure that they come back time and again.  For organisations it will ensure that staff are engaged and feel that there is good reason to come to work in the morning. For individuals, it can transform the way we see ourselves and are viewed by those around us.

Whether you are looking for a professional, a tradesman, or a particular service provider, the chances are that you will first ask friends and colleagues for recommendations.  The social network discussion pages are also full of requests for trusted advisors and ‘proven’ abilities on an endless range of subjects and specialisms.  Why does this work?  Because we all believe that anyone with a decent reputation, someone who has delivered excellent service before, will do so again for us.  This person is therefore to be relied upon and will turn up when expected and give us the service we need.  Reputations are hard won but oh so easily lost.  Our actions and behaviours are our constant marketing tool so we should be very aware of the way we portray ourselves at all times, not just when we think we are being scrutinised.

Since “Professionalism: the ABC for Success” was published I have received many requests suggesting that it would useful to have one section – “The Golden Rules” – available to put up on the wall or by the desk as a constant reminder.  So here they are as a download, just to give you the continuous edge you need to ensure that you maintain and build your hard won reputation, to ensure that you thrive in this difficult economic climate.

Professionalism is how to get ahead in any profession, in any sector.

An unavoidable truth is that people like to work with people they like so managing relationships is a critical aspect of your professionalism and, unsurprisingly, manners matter.  Thoughtfulness and a smile are incredibly powerful tools and make people want to work with you.   Small gestures also matter in our busy lives. Remembering personal details about those you work with; being responsive and returning calls and emails promptly even if it is only to say I will have to get back to you soon; acknowledging and thanking someone for a job well done; offering your support to colleagues, all make a huge difference.

If your belief in yourself and your abilities is underpinned by your competence and a commitment to CPD (continuing professional development) then you will always present yourself in an appropriate and professional way. You would also be ensuring that you build a level of respect for the professional services that you provide.  However, treating each other with respect is not just about deferring to their status.  It is also about arriving on time for a meeting, switching off your mobile phone during meetings or understanding if colleagues are under external pressures.  Earn respect for yourself by being known as someone with integrity, who is dependable, honest and trustworthy.

One of the magic ingredients of professionalism is empathy – although we can’t see what others see when they look at us, we can see the results of our interactions with them.  Before each and every interaction try to envisage how it might feel to be on the receiving end and plan your approach and response accordingly. You should also be prepared to amend those interactions if you perceive a negative result and can establish why it happened.

We are all aware that planning (in the short, medium and long term), managing your time and being well organised are critical tools for being as effective as possible.  We all have the same amount of time at our disposal each day so the trick is to make the best possible use of it and not allow it to slide away through trivia, inactivity or intrusions.  Maximizing our productivity can be as simple as starting each day with a concise ‘to-do’ list and being sure to consult it if intrusions occur.  Only you can know if the ‘new’ is important or urgent enough to replace something already on the list.  Mapping out your daily, weekly, monthly commitments will also ensure that you deliver on all your responsibilities.

Managing impressions, managing yourself and your relationships will ensure that you are noticed for all the right reasons and thereby enhance your reputation – and that’s a great place to start!
“If we all did the things we are capable of doing we would literally astound ourselves”        – Thomas Edison

**  Adapted from “Professionalism: the ABC for Success”  by Susie Kay
Published by Professionalism Books at £10.99;  ISBN: 978-0-9565401-0-2 (Amazon, bookshops and