The Korean edition of True Professionalism by David Maister has just been published, which I had worked on together with Innomove colleagues. The book has both aspects like a father who strictly persuades us of the meaning and the value of doing things right, and one like a mother at the same time who warmly encourages hesitant us saying that doing things right is ultimately beneficial for ourselves. I strongly recommend this book to people who think themselves as professionals, or want to be professional.
I set a rule of not translating books unless they are meaningful to myself or to the firm, Innomove, partly because I’m not a professional translator, and also partly because I find translation quite difficult. True Professionalism passed the rule. Though the book is written mainly for traditional professionals, I think it gives a great value even to people who want to be professional in any parts of businesses.
Now “Professionals” as a traditional definition of “people who serve clients with professional knowledge” cover from traditional professionals such as lawyers, accountants, business consultants to newer ones such as IT consultants, architects, advertisement planners, marketing researchers, fashion designers, insurance agents, financial advisors in banks/brokerages/investment management companies, interior designers, and etc. Sales people in most industries are transforming to consultants. Also the understanding of professional service providers from a buyer's viewpoint is critical, because every business uses professional services in some ways.
I encountered True Professionalism first when I was thinking deeply about professional attitude and philosophy as a business consultant. Do we add real value for clients? Do we need to decline projects even when we can get the deals? Why do we do consulting as a job? My thinking evolved to the question about life itself and ultimately to “what is success?” My conclusion was that enjoying and being proud of what you do is the most important. When you think success only from a result, you’ll find very few successful people. Not everyone can be a world champion or a billionaire or a first prize winner. However, when you define success as the process itself, everyone can succeed. People who enjoy their work and believe that they are doing something of value to the world are eligible to be successful. Besides, enjoying what they do leads them to a better chance of fame and fortune as well. There is a saying that genius can’t beat the trying and the trying can’t do the enjoying.
This book helped me settle on my own conclusion about success and start a new venture to do what I would enjoy and be proud of. While giving or recommending the book to people around me, I came across that a Korean edition would be needed for more readers, and got on this translation work. The author, David Maister, is an influential consultant for professional service providers such as lawyers, business consultants, accountants, advertising planners and etc. Recently, I was struck by Dr. Maister’s website, which he upgraded with such new web technologies like blog and RSS, even though he doesn’t belong to the so-called Internet generation. He’s actually practicing what he’s preached in his book; keep learning something new and improving yourself. Several interactions with him gave me an impression that he’s nice and humble.
Many people helped. I thank Mina Park more than anyone. She did the first whole draft translation. She must have had tough time between her role of a mother of two kids and her work at Innomove. Many thanks again and hope she has a great time back at Harvard Business School from this autumn until graduation. Also thanks to Joonghyun Kwon, Mina’s husband and my friend, who supported her for working with Innomove. Dr. Maister deserves my appreciation for writing this amazing book and introducing the publisher to me. Jeongho Park at Kyobo Book Center had led all this process from the very beginning to the very end with warm kindness. All the Innomovers from Kiyoun Cho, my partner who is leading Innomove together, and to Donggoo, Youngho, and Leanne were involved in this work directly and indirectly. I deeply appreciate their commitment to Innomove, when they definitely could live a more comfortable life elsewhere. And sincere appreciation to Minhyuk Kim who was a former intern and now is serving a military obligation, Jaechul Cho who was more than just an intern, Eunjung Lee and Sehyoung Chung who were with me in the early days of Innomove, and Jinho Yoon who was the first intern. And thanks to everyone – juniors, seniors, colleagues, clients and supporters - that I can’t name individually here but shared my time in the past and gave me a great experience.
At last, my infinite thanks and love to my family. My parents who are still caring and praying for their son, my wife who supports and encourages me to take this difficult journey, and my two lovely kids who gave me great happiness from just seeing them grow up.