- Publisher: Free Press (2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743211871
- ISBN-13: 978-0743211871
- Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 2.4 x 22.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 717 g
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,203,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Practice What You Preach : What Managers Must Do to Create a High Achievement Culture Hardcover – 2001
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James M. Kouzes Co-author of The Leadership Challenge This is a straight-talking, data-based, and energy-infused work of uncompromising scholarship and incomparable practicality.
Lawrence A. Weinbach Chairman and CEO, Unisys Corporation A great "how to succeed" manual for organizations in any field. Maister confirms that success is not about programs and policies but is about the honesty, integrity, and courage of the leader.
Michael Albrecht, Jr. Global Executive, IBM David Maister has, with compelling evidence, blown away the mysteries as to what makes a high-performance team. He offers great insights and definitive actions.
Robert R. Garland National Managing Partner of Assurance and Advisory Services, Deloitte & Touche David Maister has done it again! He has written yet another insight-filled book that will facilitate your growth as a business leader and manager. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
David H. Maister, one of the world's leading authorities on the management of professional service firms, is the author of several successful books, including Managing the Professional Service Firm, True Professionalism, and Practice What You Preach, and coauthor of The Trusted Advisor. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
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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. By comparing the two sets of responses, he then points out the key intersections. It's a fine way of making statistics come to life.
He goes on to use more sophisticated statistical methods to establish which factors together are most significant, and how these factors appear to interact on one another. I was impressed by the quality and thoroughness of this work.
He goes on to drill down to find even more nuances. For example, testing how the youngest employees feel about their work, compensation, and opportunities is the acid test of how well you are doing. As you would expect, cultures usually work better in smaller offices where communication is less likely to become diffused.
The book ends with long lists of practices that seemed to have helped. If you want to know what to do, you should pay the most attention to the summary lessons in chapters 20-25. If you have trouble following all of the statistical analysis early on, just skip back to those sections. Then go back and read the case studies. At that point, you may be ready for the statistical chapters.
The only weakness in the study's design is that it failed to include a comparable set of surveys with clients of the offices. That would have made the richness of the conclusions greater and the persuasive value of the work higher.
How can you set high standards that delight clients and make everyone want to exceed those standards while enabling them to do so? You will find many excellent ideas in this impressive book.
Be the professional service firm you would like to hire!
In this book, Maister shares the results of his study of 139 offices of 29 firms in 15 countries in 15 different lines of business. To the approximately 6,500 people who participated in this study, he asked "a simple question": Are employees' attitudes correlated with financial success? The answer is an unequivocal "Yes!" Maister already knows that the world's most highly admired companies (e.g. those at which competitors' employees seek employment) are also the most profitable and have the greatest cap value in their respective industries. "What is even more powerful, as the book shows, it is [employee] attitudes that drive financial results, and not (predominantly) the other way around. Why do so many people want to work for Southwest Airlines? The airlines' most frequent fliers know the answer: employee attitudes. It is no coincidence that Southwest Airlines has consistently out-performed all other airlines, financially and operationally, for more than 20 years.
Maister offers what he characterizes as "new evidence to support important, but perhaps familiar, conclusions. (Hence the book's title: the message is not to preach new things, but to practice what most managers and firms already preach.)...The summary is deferred until the latter portion of the book." As is his style, Maister urges his reader to be alert to "lessons" he (Maister) may have missed or failed to stress. He also urges the reader to judge for herself or himself which "lessons" are most important. For me, the most valuable material is found in Chapter 7 when Maister explains what he calls "The Predictive Package." He identifies and discusses nine key statements such as "Client satisfaction is a top priority in our firm." He suggests that affirmations of these nine statements "represent a great place to get started" and that is true IF everyone involved fully understands what the implications of each "key statement" are, especially insofar as each member of the organization is concerned.
In the last chapter, Maister observes: "People must believe that the manager has the courage to believe in something and, more importantly, the guts to stick with it. There is no greater condemnation of a manager than to say that he or she is expedient, and no greater commendation than to say that he or she truly lives and acts in accordance with what he or she preaches." I am reminded of the fact that Dante reserved the last and worst ring in Hell for those who, in a moral crisis, preserved their neutrality. The manager Maister describes so well in Chapter 20 is also a leader....a moral leader, with or without title or social station...whose values and behavior nourish the lives of others. Although Maister's most recent study has finite evidence to support his affirmations, we need only reflect on our own abundance of experience to appreciate those affirmations and, more to the point, to then live our lives accordingly.
This book can inspire you to escape from the idea that you have to find the right balance between idealism and profitability; it invites you to be both highly idealistic and higly profitable. It can be done. Maister proves it.
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