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Whether you have recently been appointed as a group leader or are a battle-scarred veteran, you know that managing professional people is difficult! In this unique handbook, Patrick J. McKenna and David H. Maister argue that leaders will best enable their people to achieve peak performance not by managing them, not by leading them, but by inspiring them. The authors show you how to actually add value as a group leader or induce people to accept your guidance, even with intelligent professionals who are often free-agents accustomed to having automony to work on grueling assignments with little supervision. They also give advice on how to handle those oh-so-talented but oh-so-annoying professionals who exhibit attitude problems or are just exceedingly difficult to work with, when you need them but they tend to needle you. The lessons and learnings presented here will give you insights and action tips to help you provoke and inspire your people to their full potential.
Managing people over whom you have no real power is a challenge, particularly in professional service firms where, increasingly, top professionals are being tapped to lead their peers. In this guide, two renowned consultants show professional group managers lacking formal authority how to lead colleagues to peak performance. They speak directly to those who have gone from focusing on their own performance to being a group manager in charge of leading others. From understanding the group leader role to setting terms of reference and effectively dealing with talented prima donnas, McKenna and Maister present a thorough introduction to managing and orchestrating talent.
For the first time in paperback, international expert and consultant David Maister offers a brilliant and accessible guide to every management issue at play in professional firms. Professional firms differ from other business enterprises in two distinct ways: first, they provide highly customized services and thus cannot apply many of the management principles developed for product-based industries. Second, professional services are highly personalized, involving the skills of individuals. Such firms must therefore compete not only for clients but also for talented professionals. Drawing on more than ten years of research and consulting to these unique and creative companies, David Maister explores issues ranging from marketing and business development to multinational strategies, human resources policies to profit improvement, strategic planning to effective leadership. While these issues can be complex. Maister simplifies them by recognizing that "every professional service firm in the world, regardless of size, specific profession, or country of operation, has the same mission statement: outstanding service to clients, satisfying careers for its people, and financial success for its owners."
Firms that are perceived by their employees to actually practice what they preach are more financially successful than their competitors, says consultant David H. Maister, based on a worldwide survey of 139 offices in 29 professional service firms in 15 countries in 15 different lines of business. Maister asked the simple question: Are employee attitudes correlated with financial success? The answer, he found, was "an unequivocal 'Yes!'" Further, the author shows that high levels of employee commitment and dedication "cause(yes, cause) a demonstrable, measurable improvement in financial performance. " Maister proves that if your firm doesn't promote enthusiasm and high morale in your employees, your firm will make less money. So, how can you create a culture in your firm that promotes growth and superior financial returns? Maister discovered that the most successful firms surveyed excelled by doing well on things to which most, if not all, firms pay only lip service: commitment to clients, teamwork, high standards, employee development, and other familiar topics. However, what distinguishes the best from the rest is that the best live up to their own standards. Digging deeper by conducting in-depth interviews with managers and employees of the firms he surveyed, Maister has found that the key to success is not the systems of the firm, but the character and skills of the individual manager. He explores in detail the central role of the manager (what he or she must be, must do, and must require of others). The reader will find specific action recommendations from the managers and employees of these "superstar" businesses on how to build an energized workplace, enforce standards of excellence, develop people, and have fun -- all as powerful profit improvement tactics. Practice What You Preach can help any manager increase firm growth and profitability, and will provide proof to firm executives that great financial rewards come from living up to the high standards that most businesses advocate, but few achieve.
A financial advisor conducts detailed interviews with managers and employees to determine the connection between employee attitudes and a firm's financial success, finding that high levels of employee commitment and dedication actually cause a demonstrable, measurable improvement in financial performance. He then explains how managers can create a culture in a firm that promotes growth and superior financial returns by rigorously holding themselves up to the highest company standards. Annotation c. Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
The Courage to Care About Your People, Your Clients, and Your Career
Are technically competent professionals who work long, hard hours "true" professionals, seeking superior quality in their work and striving to provide the best service possible to their clients? Or are they "cruisers" adhering to standards, but performing below their full potential, lacking the inspiration for the extra level of intensity that creates superb work? Professional firms are forever trying to get their people to act like professionals -- to do the right things. Though their various incentives may create employee compliance, these don't often encourage excellence. Taking issue with such methods, David Maister, the world's premier consultant to professional service firms, vigorously challenges professionals to examine this essential, yet under-addressed question: What is true professionalism? Essentially, Maister argues, it is a personal commitment to self-betterment and a professional dedication to provide the best and most efficient service to clients. In clear, pragmatic terms, he convincingly advocates the "power of principles" -- the most effective tools management can use to inspire excellence in individual performance. His core principles spring from good, sound logic: Believe passionately in what you do, never compromise your standards and values, and care about your clients. Do all of these because they are the ethical things to do and because they are the primary road to commercial success. In this candid treasury of practical wisdom, Maister expounds some eternal truths about the individual professional, the firm, and the client. He explains how to achieve true professionalism at both the micro and macro levels by answering many key but tough questions, including these: How do you develop a personal career strategy? How does a firm track the profitability of individual assignments? Can and should you guarantee your client's satisfaction? Looking first at the individual, Maister dares those good corporate citizens who "do their duty" to discover what they truly love to do, and then to align their real-world actions with their true values -- and he tells them why a continual investment must be made in getting better. Turning to the firm, he focuses on what he calls its "instability" and offers advice on how to invest in skill-building. He explains why extra time invested in supervising reaps large financial benefits, and why excellence in client satisfaction should be an enforced standard. A brief example of the clear thinking and sound advice to be found in this handbook: Stress on maximizing billable hours may seem profitable, but instead it encourages employees to be inefficient, it loses the customer's trust and confidence, and eventually it hurts the firm's reputation and profit margin. The bottom line, according to the author? Act like a true professional and the money will follow.
In today's fast-paced networked economy, professionals must work harder than ever to maintain and improve their business skills and knowledge. But technical mastery of your discipline is not enough, assert world-renowned professional advisors David H. Maister, Charles H. Green, and Robert M. Galford. The key to professional success, they argue, is the ability to earn the trust and confidence of clients. The creation of trust is what earns the right to influence clients; trust is also at the root of client satisfaction and loyalty. The workings of trust are even more critical in the new economy than in the old. Maister, Green, and Galford enrich our understanding of trust -- yet they have also written a deeply practical book. Using their model of "The Trust Equation," they dissect the rational and emotional components of trustworthiness. With precision and clarity, they detail five distinct steps you must take to create a trust-based relationship. Each step -- engage, listen, frame, envision, and commit -- is richly described in distinct chapters. The book is peppered with pragmatic "top ten" lists aimed at improving advisors' effectiveness that can be put to use instantly. It also includes a trust self-diagnostic in the appendix. This immensely readable book will be welcomed by the inexperienced advisor and the most seasoned expert alike. The authors use anecdotes, experiences, and examples -- successes and mistakes, their own and others' -- to great effect. Though they use the professional services advisor/client paradigm throughout the book, their prescriptions have resonance for other trust-reliant situations -- selling, customer relationship management, and internal staff functions like HR and information technology. The result is a tour de force -- brilliant, penetrating, unique. It is essential reading for anyone who must advise, negotiate, or manage complex relationships with others.
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