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Managing The Professional Service Firm Paperback – 6 Jan 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK; New Ed edition (6 Jan. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743231562
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743231565
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Tom Petersauthor/co-author of "In Search of Excellence, Thriving on Chaos," and "Liberation Management"The professional service firm is the best model for tomorrow's organization in any industry. When it comes to understanding these firms, David Maister has no peers.

About the Author

David Maister is widely recognised as the premier expert on professional service firm management. Maister is British by birth but has made his success in the US where he founded the highly successful Maister Associates Inc. He is also the author of several highly acclaimed business books.


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you have ever worked in, been a partner or managed a consultancy firm, this book will not only answer a lot of your troubling questions, it will also explain matters that you did not know the questions to - just the obnoxious frustration of something that was not working. It is with incredible ease, yet depth and understanding that David H. Maister plough through the important issues that concerns not only managing partners in a consultant company, but anyone who wants to climb up the ladder. He explains why you got to balance your workcrew (juniors up to partners) and why it is so vitally important to mix people on the right combination of projects (brains, grey hair and procedure projects) as this builds up the firm's human capital, and provides the means and profitability to continue to grow steadily. I could go on but space does not allow me to. This book is not filled with theoritical babble but practical and useful information, no - knowledge and experience!
The book is divided into seven parts (personal highlights inside brackets): basic matters, client matters (quality work does not mean quality service!), people matters (building human capital, the motivation crises), management matters (creating a strategy), partnership matters (the art of parner compensation), multisite matters (the collaborative firm, hunters and farmers, etc.) and asset management. All in all it comprises of 32 chapters.
You won't find many books that explains service business any better than this one. I know because I went searching.
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Format: Paperback
It is for consultants like the Bible for Christians and Capital for Marxists
This book is like a Bible for all professionals, regardless of whether they are working on their own or for a company. It can be read again and again and every time you can find something new. I think that even Maister did not suspect how great it would be. I feel able to declare that everybody who wants to be called "a consultant" must read this book.
Although this book consists of articles by different years it can be read without any difficulty. Maister also used international English and therefore it is easy for non-native English speakers to read.
I found especially interesting the following chapters:
1. Marketing to Existing Client
2. Attracting new Clients
3. Managing the Marketing Effort
The core ideas of all these chapters are:
1. Demonstrate you ability do not declare (Marketing works when it is demonstrative not
assertive)
2. The most effective type of marketing is client-level marketing (face-to-face meeting not to-broadcast marketing)
3. Existing clients are the best sources of new business (and often the most profitable ones)
4. Marketing activities represent an investment and therefore should be budgeted for.
The author puts all these principles into practice. In this book (and all the rest of his books) he demonstrates his quality. He treats all his readers (all of us) if we were already his clients and which means he shares some top secrets of this business.

All in all, I can say that it is amazing how many new ideas I managed to get from this book for so little money. Buying this book was one of my greatest investments. I only regret that I did not read this book in the eginning of my career in consulting.
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Format: Paperback
David Maister is one of the best exponents around of managing professional service firms. I came across the hardback edition of this book seven years ago when I was doing a course run for board directors of the global public relations firm, Burson-Marsteller. Now as independent public relations practitioner I find it an invaluable source of guidance. While I am generally none too keen on Amercian management textbooks - a little too evangelical for me - this is different. Full of cogent, well-reasoned and useful advice from the viewpoint of a practitioner. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book as a lawyer and my comments apply only in that context.

There are many areas David Maister refers to where the legal profession has simply moved on from the analysis that he gives. For example, he is very uncritical of the traditional firm model of equity partners leveraged by ambitious young professionals motivated by reaching partner status. The whole book assumes that this model will largely persist. However in the UK this model is substantially under threat from alternative business structures and external non lawyer sources of capital.

Junior grades at law firms are increasingly staffed by non qualified paralegals who are trained to become effective in a very narrow area of practice. They are paid a fraction of what traditional lawyers would earn, but they are just as effective in their area. These people are also highly disposable in that they acquire a relatively narrow range of skills and may be redundant when the market turns away from their area. They have no chance of becoming an owner of the firm. Where this isn't the case now, it is a model likely to be increasingly adopted. Thus the whole premise of much of Maisters book, management of the process by which junior staff work fantastically hard to gain the prize of partnership, is looking increasingly irrelevant.

The chapter based on the presumption that demographic changes, reducing the number of young talented individuals available to recruit, is not the experience of law firms who find that the massive increase in lawyer training in the UK means there is a glut of people with law degrees and professional qualifications seeking to be solicitors. In the current economic climate it is likely to be many years before this changes.
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