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True Professionalism

The Courage To Care About Your Clients & Career

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Are some technically competent professionals who work hard and long hours 'true professionals' or are they just cruisers? In this deeply illuminating call to arms, David Maister, the world's premier consultant to professional service firms, vigorously challenges individuals to examine closely the meaning of their work and reach beyond their grasp.

The pursuit of the highest standards, Maister argues, is the primary road to commercial success. He presents a visionary reconception of professionalism that encompasses a lifelong dedication to self-improvement, a personal commitment to excellence, and a true spirit of service to clients. Looking first at the individual professional, Maister dares those good corporate citizens who 'do their duty' to discover what they truly love to do. Turning to the institution, Maister focuses on what he calls the 'instability' of professional service firms today, and offers advice on how to invest in skill building. David Maister's message is a recipe for success and for professional satisfaction making TRUE PROFESSIONALISM a worthy successor to his previous writings.

Discussion Group Questions
1. What percentage of our people are acting like DYNAMOS (i.e. acting as if they had a career, actively working to expand their skills and responsibilities)? What percentage are CRUISING (i.e. doing the job well, but not learning and growing)?
2. How can we manage differently in order to encourage more dynamism, and tolerate less cruising?
3. What are our enforced values (in the sense of the non-negotiable minimums that must be observed to belong to our organization)?
4. How well do we live up to the values we espouse? How well do our people think we live up to them? What must we do to better live up to our values?
5. Are we too tolerant of dysfunctional behaviors or "adequate" performance? What should we be less tolerant about?
6. How organized and disciplined are we in using our non-reimbursed time to invest in things that will make us more competitive?
7. How well are we performing on the following business processes?:
  • Creating innovative solutions to client/customer problems
  • Finding new, efficient ways to lower cost of performing our tasks
  • Earning unprompted referrals from client work
  • turning individual client assignments into long-term relationships
  • continuously gathering market intelligence and tracking emerging client needs
  • generating awareness of capabilities in important markets
  • turning inquiries into assignments ("Sales Process" Effectiveness)
  • Developing new services
  • attracting high-quality new recruits
  • Transferring skills to junior staff
  • Developing and growing New Senior people from junior ranks
  • Disseminating and sharing skills and knowledge
  • Helping people to continue to grow and develop their capabilities throughout their careers

8. How well do our managers perform in the eyes of their subordinates? Do they pass the tests of Motives, Values, Competence and Style?
9. Is your firm culture one where firm life is to be enjoyed and not endured? Are your people "having fun" at what they do? If not, why not? How can the level of fun and fulfillment be improved?
10. Are we a firm of "True Professionals" or one of "Good Technicians"? How do we describe our firm and why? How can we raise the degree of professionalism?

David H. Maister is widely acknowledged as the world’s leading authority on the management of professional service firms. Beginning four decades ago, David has advised firms in a broad spectrum of professions, covering all strategic and managerial issues, spanning the globe. A native of Great Britain, David holds degrees from the University of Birmingham, the London School of Economics, and the Harvard Business School, where he was a professor for seven years. He is the author of the best-selling books Managing the Professional Service Firm and True Professionalism. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

Robert M. Galford is a Managing Partner of the Center for Leading Organizations, where he works with senior executives at the intersection of strategy, organization, and leadership. In addition to The Trusted Advisor, Rob has coauthored three books: The Trusted LeaderYour Leadership Legacy; and Simple Sabotage, and has been a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, HBR.org, and numerous other business publications. His educational background includes Liceo Segre, Turin, Italy, a BA in Economics and Italian Literature from Haverford College, an MBA from Harvard Business School and a JD from Georgetown University Law Center.

Charles H. Green is a speaker and executive educator focused on trust in complex businesses and professional services firms. Charlie is founder and Chairman of Trusted Advisor Associates. In addition to The Trusted Advisor, Charlie wrote Trust-Based Selling, and coauthored The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook. He is a graduate of Columbia and of the Harvard Business School. He spent the first twenty years of his career with The MAC Group and its successor, Gemini Consulting. Charlie lives in Boca Raton, Florida.

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (December 11, 2012)
  • Length: 224 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781471108518

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