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.








“The One-Firm Firm” – new free seminar | “Values in Action” – new free seminar | A Case Study In professional Ethics | A Home Fit For Heroes? | Alignment and Accountability | Another reader question | Are Law Firms Manageable? | Are You Being Mentored? | Blawg Review #76 | Blawgworld 2007 | Book Review – JUST ENOUGH ANXIETY | Can the Good Guys Win? | Can You Say No? | Central European and Australian Interviews | Compensation Systems | Corporate Strategy and Personal Profiles | Creating a High-Trust Organization | Creating A New Religion | Disclosing People’s Pay | Do My Ideas Work? |

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Favorite books on Management Consultancy – LinkedIn Question

April 10, 2008

‘Favorite books on Management Consultancy?’

is is a question that I have posted on LinkedIn Q&A at:

(LinkedIn login is required to access this question)

‘What are your favorite books on Management Consultancy?
I am curious to learn from others at LinkedIn what you like and would recommend!
Some of my favorites are:

Here are some answers that can help you find the best books on Management Consultancy!

Some real new insights for me are – I will look into these books in the coming weeks and months:

Thanks to all contributors !!

Any additional ideas are welcome on this blog!


Karthik Rao

Project Management at Ernst & Young

Jack Walser, CGC

Experienced Project Management and Process Improvement Executive / Strategist

I’m a big fan of these:

The first book takes a look at systems thinking and can help you with roadblocks within an organization. The second provides a tool that will help you channel organizational resources to achieve a strategic goal.
Good luck!

George Dinwiddie

Owner, iDIA Computing, LLC and Computer Software Consultant and Coach

George Dinwiddie also suggests this expert on this topic: Jerry Weinberg

Leif Andersson

Owner, Proicio and Management Consulting Consultant

My favourites:

Jonathan Arnold

Energy Enterprise Solutions

  • I read David Maister’s “Managing the Professional Service Firm” , “The Trusted Advisor”, and “True Professionalism…” and would recommend these books to anyone at any level. I re-read the first book regularly.
  • Soneone gave me Goldsmith’s book. I think it was a hint, and it was very helpful.

Alco van Neck

Ing. at Getronics PinkRoccade

Jakub Nosek

Management consultant – Experienced problem solver

My favorites are:


Patrick Ahern

Branding and Employee Performance Expert, Professional Speaker – Partner, Brand Integrity, Inc.

  • Achieve Brand Integrity: Ten Truths You Must Know to Enhance Employee Performance and Increase Company Profits by Gregg Lederman. The book recently won the 2008 Axiom gold medal for Best Business Books in association with Inc.Magazine.

Jim Parnitzke

Independent Executive – Enterprise Architecture, Business Intelligence, BPM, CDI/MDM

  • Plenty of terrific ideas and books already mentioned, all are worthwhile. A little off-beat, but no less valuable to me was Barbara Minto’s book labeled “The Pyramid Principle – Logic in Writing and Thinking” first published in 1987. Since we (management consultants) live in the world full of abstractions, creating a powerful, compelling, and concise message to communicate our thinking is pretty much fundamental blocking and tackling. This is especially true if the subject matter is complex or not well known to our clients or management peers. Heavily recommended for anyone who makes a living in the world of thought and communication (this is our business right?), and certainly more approachable than the Rhetoric (yes that one – Aristotle <g>)
Gail Bubenick, Psy.D.,Ph.D.

Owner, Sierra Communications, Inc.

Darryl Dioso

Principal Consultant, Resource Management Solutions Group – Sales Recruitment | Sales Training | Sales Assessments

  • Management Consulting” by Biswas and Twitchell – Let me know what I was getting into.
  • “Dr. Deming” by Aguayo – Not really “on Management Consultancy” but he’s one of my (and I’m sure a few of you) MC ‘idols’.
  • “The Goal” by Goldratt and Cox – A book about Process Improvement that I couldn’t put down…How crazy is that?

Roberta Chinsky Matuson

Owner, Human Resource Solutions and Management Consulting Consultant



Dorina Grossu

Certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt – Program Management, Quality Management, Business Process Re-Engineering


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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.

David Maister video – ‘Managing works’

March 22, 2008

Great video!

‘In this video we’re going to explore how management, in a society of professionals, can really be made to work. The clip opens with an example of fabulous management, fabulous coaching, that was done to me early in my career, and contrasts with the sorts of management that we often see, inside professional firms.’

‘Find a way to take the sting out of the criticism’

‘He helped me hard to save face’



‘Maister Moments: David Maister Live

Leading global consultant, business author, and former Harvard Business School professor David Maister presents a videocast of highlights from his speaking engagements covering his four main topic areas: Strategy, Management, Client Relations, and Careers.’

Business podcast overview.