“When it comes to thought-leaders, there are few emerging faster than Bill Wiersma.”
Raul A. Deju, best-selling author, Director of the Institute of Entrepreneurial Leadership, John F. Kennedy University, and former President and Chief Operating Office of both EnergySolutions and Headwaters, Inc.
It's an educator's dream to be able to reach students not only intellectually but in a way that really touches their lives.
That dream became a reality for me after building a curriculum in late 2011 around the seven mind-sets contained in "The Power of Professionalism". Students have responded beyond my wildest expectation. They appreciate how powerfully their new-found (technical) skill-sets are complimented by a professional's mind-set. It has transformed their learning experience. For many, it has changed their lives---as it has helped them define who they want to be.
It wasn't until the curriculum was changed that this shift occurred. Today the students take their studies far more seriously, they're much more engaged. As a practical matter, the students believe that the combination of (technical) skill-sets and (professional) mind sets is a powerful differentiator for them in a crowded job market.
More importantly, these students have a new-found level of self-efficacy. Many of them feel like they can accomplish anything. This confidence transcends their traditional technical education. Many see themselves in a powerful new light--namely as a professional. As an educator, this has been tremendously rewarding.
Having taught in the radiology field since 2005, I only wish that my former students would have had the 'gift' that comes from understanding what it really means to be a professional and why it's so important. I'm grateful beyond belief that my current students do!
- Robert Cloutier, President - Radiology Provider Network, Adjunct Faculty, West Coast Ultrasound Institute
To learn more about the ground-breaking story at West Coast Ultrasound Institute click here .
My rural Alaskan business students have blossomed! They have shifted from believing professionalism was just a "coat" to wear at work, to a much more fulfilling understanding - illuminated by the living truths of what it really means to be a professional. Their idea of professionalism has expanded, deepened, and changed to accommodate their new reality and belief system. My students are taking a new look at who they are and who they want to be! "The Power of Professionalism" is aptly titled—how often does a business book have that kind of impact? I'm enthused about using this text again in upcoming business courses.
- Dr. Pamula Hagan, Professor - University of Alaska
It's so clear to me now that being a professional is really a state-of-mind. And having the mind-sets to gauge my progress against has proven invaluable. I review and apply the seven mind-sets on a daily basis in conjunction with my day job as a supervisor in a white-collar, for-profit company in Southern California.
The changes I've been able to make—both personal and in my role as supervisor—have been deeply profound. They've been simple, yet really impactful. One of those changes involves 'catching people doing something right' ---consistent with mind-set seven (something I'm working on).
Each Friday I send out a short company-wide email that celebrates stellar job performance. The email identifies specific staff members –recognizing them for their use of very specific behaviors (i.e. collaboration, being respectful, etc) under the most difficult of circumstances. It really reinforces that truth that 'professionals do things that are hard'. The impact has been tremendous. It has boosted morale and, to me, it feels great.
I'm now envisioning my future career path in a whole new light. Unlike my technical skills (which typically have a finite shelf-life), the mind-sets are timeless and have universal application. That's why they'll continue to be my 'go-to' guide in unlocking my true potential as a professional in the years ahead.
- Brian Lipscombe, Student, West Coast Ultrasound Institute
As a humble intern I have learned that all of my patients are different and that it's important to come up with ways to make them comfortable when performing an exam. I recently had an 'imaging' patient who suffered from cerebral palsy, leukemia, and chronic hip pain. She was 27 years old and had been in a wheelchair for eleven years. We were scheduled to perform a hip exam but the muscles in her legs had shrunk due to her condition.
My technologist (a mentor really...someone who I was shadowing) was reluctant to do the exam. Naturally, the patient was upset. In a departure from protocol I intervened. After a brief consultation, I was able to convince the technologist that I was capable of performing the exam in a way that was both respectful and empathetic. The exam was completed without incident. The patient's mother later gave me a hug and thanked me for taking such good care of her daughter. She later spoke to my supervisor and told her that I was a true professional. This experience really validated for me why I went into this field.
It's funny, until I was introduced to the mind-sets in Rob's class I never considered myself to be a professional. The course made everything concrete and made me realize that if you're willing to apply yourself, learn, and 'do well by others' you'll be that true professional. The course gave me great confidence in handling patients--as evidenced by my earlier story. As mind-set three reminds us--things really do get better when we get better.
- Justin Long, Student, West Coast Ultrasound Institute
The mindsets have affected me in three major ways. The most profound way is how I interact with others. In the past, too often I'd wear my emotions on my shoulder---mostly negative emotions. And before being exposed to the mindsets, I would have never imagined being nice to people. I now see how self-defeating that is.
Today I try really hard to treat everyone with respect—whether I'm having a bad day or not. What a huge difference! Today people actually hear me out and are typically quite helpful---helping me with a problem or answering my questions. Plus, I'm getting a lot more respect than before. My interactions today are largely positive. The results are real.
Secondly, I'm taking greater pride in my work. I'm taking the extra step, rather than just doing the minimum. People around me appreciate that because it makes things better for them. And going home I feel good about what I accomplished that day."
Finally, I have realized that the mindsets are not something you keep in a locker and use only on the job. They are foundational skills for living. Think about this: If you strive to master your emotions, respect people unfailingly, and have a bias for results, you will become a happier person. At least, that's been my experience.
- Eric Mahl, Student, West Coast Ultrasound Institute
There isn't an aspect of my life that hasn't been positively impacted by the principles found in "The Power of Professionalism". It has helped my outlook, my work ethic, and my relationships - both at school and within my family. Perhaps most importantly, I now realize that I'm the one that determines whether or not I'm a professional. No one can take that away from me.
After being introduced to the mind-sets I realized that, as a student, I had unknowingly (but naturally) applied many of them to subjects I excelled in. What is also true, is that in the face of the inevitable challenges that I'll face in the future--whether they be personal or workplace related--the application of the mind-sets will be my first line of defense. In other words, the stronger the mind-set, the greater likelihood of success.
Even though I now realize where my 'mind-set' gaps are, I'm glad to have such clarity as to how the professional thinks. It has really helped me improve...people have noticed! And I'd like to think I'm a better person because of it.
- Bryan Lopez, Student, West Coast Ultrasound Institute
"The Power of Professionalism" has been a real eye opener for me! It has brought to light how a professional should behave and, most importantly, where I need to improve. I can see how much heart has been put into this book and---now knowing that it took 5 years to write---it really shows. Out of all of my assigned reading, this book is my favorite. I would read this book on my off time!
- Pauline Boratko---Student, University of Alaska
In today's competitive job market it is important to keep one step ahead of the game. Developing essential skill-sets through continuing education is one way to stand out. It’s also a great way to gain greater proficiency while currently employed and trying to better oneself. Yet as important as skills-sets are, I’ve learned that they are only half of the picture.
I had the great opportunity to discover the other half of the picture---namely professional mind-sets---while attending West Coast Ultrasound Institute. While studying to become a cardiovascular sonographer, I was introduced to The Power of Professionalism--a wonderful book by Bill Wiersma. I was so pleased that West Coast has put such emphasis on developing the students as professionals in addition to the traditional technical curriculum.
From the first page to the last page of Mr. Wiersma's book I found it insightful and innovating. Whether you are a new graduate or a ten year business associate, The Power of Professionalism will introduce you to seven mind-sets that will change the way you think and conduct yourself in your professional career. These mind-sets made the difference for me in my recent employment interview with W. L Gore. I was later offered a much-desired position---despite the fact that other candidates showed up better on paper.
Even though I have finished the book, I find myself going back to it as a reference guide for achieving goals to become a trusted professional Gore associate. Thank you Bill for giving me the mindsets that drive performance and build trust.
- Alfie Lucero, CVT, RCS, surgical research technician at W.L. Gore