In his debut guide, Strom extols the benefits of business professionalism.
According to business educator Strom, there are four pillars of professionalism: formation, self-management, presence and image, and communication. Taken together, they constitute business professionalism, which Strom defines as “a businesslike mindset or judgment system based on self-developed and managed knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors.” The book contains exercises, case studies and questions at the end of each chapter so readers can apply lessons learned. The author suggests that acting like a professional is the often-ignored key to success and that following the advice in this book will help readers reach and maintain professionalism. Strom covers a lot of ground in this well-written volume, which essentially boils down to a “do this and don’t do that” primer for people trying to get ahead in the corporate world. The book sometimes ranges farther afield, even finding time to take on such subjects as office romances (don’t do it, they never end well) and theme songs for business professionals (have one, because it inspires confidence). Some of the material can come across like a sermon from a well-meaning parent lecturing their child on how to act in the workplace, such as the section on how to dress for a job interview (navy blue or gray suit for women, conservative neckties for men). A greater emphasis on social media and the burgeoning role it plays in business professionalism—both within the workplace and without—may have been more useful for readers than clothing or dating tips or the discussion about company hierarchy that come across as dated. This would address the now commonplace act of companies scanning the Facebook pages of both prospective and current employees, since many consider their employees their representatives 24 hours a day. Acting professional in today’s business world surely entails how to manage one’s use of social media, yet except for a brief mention, it remains unaddressed.
A basic, if outdated, primer for workplace novices.