The Trusted Advisor – Best books on consultancy part 1

August 10, 2008

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

Most important from David Maister

April 27, 2008

This is an entry to the most important information David Maister is willing to share with all readers!

I post this here for easier access.








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David Maister on a book on Collaboration Tools for lawyers

April 15, 2008

David Maister recommends this book on Collaboration Tools for Lawyers.

I guess Web 2.0 is getting more and more mainstream! It is also interesting to see that special attention is paid to legal issues surrounding these new technologies:

‘Collaboration Tools and Technologies

The Law Practice Management Section of the American Bar Association has just published a book entitled “The Lawyers guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together” It was written by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell’

Expertise Marketplace Blog – on marketing professional services

April 3, 2008

You can learn more about marketing your professional services by reading this great blog written by Suzanne Low!

‘About the Expertise Marketplace Blog

Welcome to the Expertise Marketplace blog, where professional service firm leaders, CMOs, journalists, and academics can find:

Suzanne Lowe

About Suzanne Lowe

Suzanne Lowe is a recognized expert in the marketing and management of professional service firms. She is the president of Expertise Marketing and author of Marketplace Masters: How Professional Service Firms Compete to Win.’

She has written a good review on the book of Ford Harding: ‘Rainmaking’. I am reading this book; it is a practical guide to selling professional services. I recommend both this review and the book!

Trust-Based Relationships

March 29, 2008


This is a valuable blog that explains how to build Trust-based relationships with your customers.

‘True trust-based relationships have four characteristics:

  • they start with the perspective of the customer
  • they have a long-term perspective
  • they are collaborative
  • they are based on transparency’

From: TrustedAdvisors Associates blog authored by Charles H. Green:


Mr. Green co-authored the book ‘The Trusted Advisor’ together with David Maister.

As David Maister also explains in his podcasts, videocasts, books and blog, doing business based on an true earned trust-relation with your customer will improve your bottom-line.

David Maister at CEEMAN ConferenceImage via Wikipedia

Collaboration in large professional companies

March 23, 2008

Great podcast by David Maister:

David Maister

how to improve collaboration in large organizations.

‘I am going to read off a list of the “network collaboration” tactics that large multisite professional companies consider in attempting to induce more cooperation in their networks.

The top-tier tactics:

  1. Cross-staffing
  2. Rotation of staff
  3. Reorganize around people we want to collaborate more
  4. Information-sharing (Real-Time Knowledge Management) (…) ‘

In my opinion, Real-Time Knowledge Management is supported by Web 2.0 platforms.

Business Podcast overview.

David Maister video – ‘On Careers: Dynamos’

March 22, 2008

Great video on careers, management and coaching

On Careers: Dynamos 9:51

‘In this video clip we’re going to look at the issue of energy, excitement, and ambition in a different way and talk about the different states of drive that you and I might experience at different stages of our career.’

There are three catagories of people in your organization:

  • Dynamos
  • Cruisers
  • Losers’

‘Your job as a manager is to make sure that your people are excited about something’

Business podcast overview.