The Trusted Advisor – Best books on consultancy part 1



The Trusted Advisor
by David H. Maister, Charles H. Green, Robert M. Galford

Read more about this book…

This book by David Maister is centered around the concept of earning trust and confidence of clients. It is based on academic research of David Maister during and after his stay at Harvard University.

He has studied consultancy in many different industries, from accountancy, legal to financial industries.I will give a short review of this book with the key points, and some remarkable quotes and examples. Contains a lot of checklists. Highly recommended book!

The book consists of three parts:

  1. perspectives on trust
  2. the structure of trust building
  3. putting trust to work

Some key elements of this book are:

Part 1 – perspectives on trust

The more clients trust you, the more they will:

  • reach for your advice
  • be inclined to accept and act on you recommendations
  • share more information
  • pay your bills without questions
  • refer you to others
  • …..

Part 2 – the structure of trust building

This is the more formal part of the book

‘Trust equation: T = (C + R + I) / S

  • T=trustworthiness
  • C=Credibility          ‘I can trust what he says…’
  • R=Reliability           ‘I can trust her to…’
  • I=Intimacy              ‘I feel comfortable discussion this…’
  • S=Self-orientation  ‘I can trust that he cares about….’

This equation shows how the different elements of trust interrelate.

On Self-orientation:

  • there is no greater source of distrust than advisors who appear to be more interested in themselves than in trying to be of service to the client
  • How do we demonstrate a lack of self-orientation?:
    • letting the client fill in the empty space
    • not giving answers until the fight is earned to do so
    • saying you don’t know when you don’t know
    • ….

The development of Trust:

  • Engage: initial connection between advisor and client
  • Listen: earning the right; rational and passive listening; list of ‘What good listeners do’
  • Frame: encapsulating the client’s complex issues into a problem statement
  • Envision: envisioning an alternative reality
  • Commit’: the final stage of trust building. On managing expectations; resistance to commitment; joint commitment

Part 3: putting trust to work

Worth to look at:

  • ‘The Lieutenant Colombo Approach’ – useful metaphor for effective consulting. ‘Colombo’s style is informal …. he appears overwhelmed and underqualified…. of course, he is none of these things. …. his style is chosen … on one level, Colombo’s lesson is obvious. Set the client at ease and don’t overwhelm him with technical expertise…’
  • Cross selling
  • Quick impact list to gain trust

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