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Practice What You Preach!: What Managers Must Do to Create a High-achievement Culture Hardcover – 2 Jul 2001

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (2 July 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743211871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743211871
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 2.4 x 22.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 633,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

David H Maister, a specialist in the management of professional service firms, surveyed 29 in 15 countries to determine whether positive employee attitudes really correlate to corporate success. In his consultancy and previous books he has suggested they do, and in Practice What You Preach he is able to show that in many companies it is "attitudes that drive financial results, and not (predominantly) the other way round". On a pragmatic level, this allows him to demonstrate how a subsequently energised workforce will provide top-quality client service--the key component in any service-oriented business. Overall, Maister recommends managers instil trust and respect, develop a high morale and serve as "coaches" rather than "most valuable players". He offers detailed case studies of survey respondents and amalgamates their replies into an explicit Path to Performance as well as four chapters with specific lessons that should be transferable to other enterprises (i.e., effective managers allow others to get deserved credit, ensure workers believe management is not only out to make a lot of money for itself and understand employees are looking for help in growing their careers). Practical and accessible, it also includes survey specifics for those who care to analyse them on their own. --Howard Rothman


Michael Albrecht, Jr. Global Executive, IBM With compelling evidence, Maister blows away the mysteries as to what makes a high performance team. He offers great insights and definitive actions.

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By Charles Vasey TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Many years ago I went for a job interview with a second tier and third-rate accounting firm in Slough. The unpleasant little toad behind the desk explained they were only interested in hiring people at £40k who would earn them £500K. Did he have such people, I enquired, he confirmed he did. "In that case" says I, "I'll take any spare ones you've got." We then engaged in body language displays in which I had an unfair advantage. As the News Of The World used to say, I made my excuses and left.

Putting aside his foolishness in explaining the Goose That Laid The Golden Egg, Mr Toad had got much of what David Maister demonstrates in this book. Taking consistently high performing businesses and using questionnaires/interview Maister has looked for common features across the field. He depends, of course, on his interviewees being sufficiently self-aware to analyse success, but I doubt they can all be similarly deluded.

The result of this study is that one wants a certain kind of team player, and one wants them more than a more talented individual who does not "know the Company Song", disruption is to be feared more than incompetence. The result is the sort of business that I loathe but which does function as a money spinner and I suspect makes its kind of people happier than the more freer environment. This is a world where the team plays and works together, where middle-management service the higher ranks and expects to be obeyed in an inclusive fashion. Yes, oddly enough they do not expect unthinking obedience but thinking obedience. I never quite got this but it is undoubtedly there; the nearest I can get to is the sort of unit loyalty one finds in a regiment.

These managers do not want team members who criticise others; any that do will be... er...
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Format: Hardcover
The real strength of this book is not what it says, but the proof it offers in support of it.
Through extensive research Maister proves, for example, that increasing employee satisfaction will give rise to better financial results and that, in turn, employee satisfaction is caused by setting high standards, coaching and empowerment.
The book identifies 9 key factors which together account for over 50% of variances in profitability. They include such statements as "People within our office always treat others with respect" and "Around here you are required, not just encouraged to learn and develop new skills".
This is hot stuff for anyone in a position of management. Whilst focused primarily on professional service firms, the lessons are relevant to anyone managing a team of people in whatever sphere.
As well as detailed quantitative research (which is well explained) Maister cites some illuminating cases of enligthened managers who do practice what they preach and who, by doing so, are achieving extraordinary business results.
By focusing on the most important issue currently facing professional firms - that of bringing out the very best in their people - Maister reinforces his deserved reputation as a leader in the management of professional service firms.
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Format: Hardcover
Almost everyone will agree that professional firms must provide great service and terrific relationships to their clients. Some firms will provide these attributes at the expense of their own employees and others will not. Practice What You Preach establishes a quantified relationship to higher profitability in one publicly held marketing communications firm between those offices that nurtured their staffs as much as their clients. What made the difference? The attitudes and practices of the managers in the higher profit offices accounted for almost all of the variation.
General Schwartzkopf once said that you should "be the leader you want to have." That's the essence of the message of this book for achieving higher profitability. To make more money in pofessional offices, select and encourage leaders who will set high standards, serve as a good example, police the culture to improve it, and enable people to learn and make progress.
Few works about management and leadership have the superb quantifications involved in this book. The foundation comes in 5589 individual responses (to about 10,000 questionnaires distributed) in 139 offices of 29 firms owned by the same public company. Each office was characterized by four profit tests to establish a profit index. Then differences in employee survey responses were tested against the profit index. Taken in many different cuts, Mr. Maister tells you which questions best correlated statistically with higher profit index numbers for an office. Each key observation is supported by a case example of one office that did well in this dimension. First, he relates what the head of the office said about the office's success and culture. Then he provides a composite interview with the people who work in the office.
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