Professional Service Firm50 (Reinventing Work): Fifty Ways to Transform Your "Department" into a Professional Service Firm Whose Trademarks Are Passion and Innovation! [NOOK Book]


Transform white collar departments into "professional service firms" whose sole, powerful asset is knowledge.

Peters discusses making the most of presentations, working with outsiders on market analysis, how to imporve brainstorming meetings, how to develop relationships with clients and get the most out of them.

50 of Tom Peters's ...
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Professional Service Firm50 (Reinventing Work): Fifty Ways to Transform Your

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Transform white collar departments into "professional service firms" whose sole, powerful asset is knowledge.

Peters discusses making the most of presentations, working with outsiders on market analysis, how to imporve brainstorming meetings, how to develop relationships with clients and get the most out of them.

50 of Tom Peters's trademark insights on how to get the most our of your department.
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Editorial Reviews

Describes a new organizational model, the professional service firm, and shows how to transform a department into a profit center that's a magnet for the hottest talent. Gives suggestions for generating urgency and excitement, partnering with clients, mastering information flow and timelines, and delivering results. Lacks a subject index. 4.25x7<">. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375410956
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/15/1999
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • File size: 460 KB

Meet the Author

Tom Peters continues to be in constant demand for lectures and seminars. In addition to researching and writing his books, he travels more widely than ever to monitor and observe the business environment worldwide. The founder of the Tom Peters Group in Palo Alto, California, he lives mostly on American Airlines, or with his family on a farm in Vermont or an island off the Massachusetts coast.
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Read an Excerpt

The White Collar Revolution will envelop 90+ percent of us. And quickly. The commonplace, if traumatic, changes that came to the factory, the distribution center, and the London docks are now racing toward the relatively unscathed world of "purchasing," "finance," "HR," "IT," etc.

Of course, we had "re-engineering" and "downsizing" in the nineties. But truth is, work in finance today looks about the way it did decades ago. We pass "papers" -- electronically, to be sure -- but the topics are about the same. And the processing delays are maddening as ever. As are the petty tyrants who oversee the processes. (Witness Dilbert's monumental popularity; the comic strip depicts my dad's day in the Credit and Collections Dept. at the Baltimore Gas & Electric Company, circa 1955, as accurately as it captures white collar world at the millennium's turn.)

But -- I repeat -- all that is about to change. So-called Enterprise Resource Planning systems from SAP, PeopleSoft, Baan, et al. will hit high gear within the next decade. Clumsy knowledge management and knowledge-sharing systems will gather a full head of steam . . . or, should I say, a light-speed flow of bits.

Those of us in jeopardy -- 90+ percent, don't forget! -- must invent a new game. A hot game that transforms "accounting" from the butt of a million jokes about "useless overhead," "purposeful obfuscators," and "petty bureaucrats" to the . . . ta da . . . scintillating center of value added through knowledge capital accumulation.

Sound too grand for you? Fine.

But . . . then . . . what's the (your) alternative?

An Answer/T-h-e Answer?

I contend there is an alternative, an answer even.And that is -- and long has been -- right under our collective noses. To wit: the "real" Professional Service Firm, or PSF. A la McKinsey & Co., Chiat/Day, Arthur Andersen. And Andersen Consulting. IDEO. And EDS. Pricewaterhouse -- Coopers. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati. Etc.

These firms can be tiny . . . or huge. (EDS employs well over 100,000 people.) But regardless of size, they perform pure intellectually based services, own damn little in the way of hard assets, and sometimes deposit billions of $$$$ on the bottom line. They do Good Work. Valuable Work. And, often, Important Work.

Moreover, Life in a PSF is about as far a cry from DilbertDrones in DrearyVille (a.k.a. "Departments") as one can imagine.

So why have we left these firms out in the cold for so long? Why haven't we studied them? (We haven't. Period.) I think there is an answer. In short: We didn't take them seriously! When I joined McKinsey & Co. in 1974, the consultants . . . and lawyers . . . and accountants and ad agency denizens were considered the bloodsuckers, the parasites living off the sweat of real men's -- USW, UMW, and UAW members' -- brows.

And then a funny thing happened.

We woke up one morning and discovered . . . we'd won!

The economy had taken a 180-degree turn. Bill Gates was the richest man in the world . . . and the "soft guys," the "service guys," ruled. From Hollywood to Silicon Valley . . . to a revived (branding uber Alles!) Madison Avenue.

And so we started jawing about "virtual organizations" and "knowledge capital accumulation." Exotic, new stuff. And we imagined that we had to invent a brand-new wheel.

Not so!

I'll be the first to acknowledge that there are crappy professional service firms . . . just as there are incompetent retailers and second basemen who bat .200. But the pick of the litter -- just as with retailing -- have a lot to teach us. Teach us about, say, scintillating projects that add value. I.e.: Work that Matters!

THE "Model"

Our model is simple. And it will be expanded upon in this book and others in this 50List series. To wit:
Point-of-impact for this millennial meteor: the white collar worker (a.k.a.: you, me!).
Those who survive -- on or off a corporate payroll -- will jettison (almost) everything they've learned and (1) adopt the attributes/attitudes of a PSF/Professional Service Firm. (The subject of this book.) They will behave as (2) de facto (if not yet de jure) independent contractors, or what I call Brand Yous. (Please see the Brand You50.) I.e., survivors will "be" a product . . . and exhibit clear-cut distinction at . . . s- o-m- e-t-h-i-n-g. And (3) the bottom line or base element for the PSF, Brand You, and the White Collar Revolution: the Project. (Please see the Project50.)

Exciting "Bottom Line"

So that's the crux of the story!


Transforming work!

Performing Work that Matters!

Becoming Brand You!

Living in a scintillating Professional Service Firm . . . a Department that Matters!

We think that this logical case for transforming work is airtight. So join us on this . . .

Adventure Toward Work that WOWs!: Brief User's Guide

What follows is a portrait. A portrait of a "Department" transforming itself into a full-fledged Professional Service Firm. The aspirations are grand. The challenges are enormous.

Even if the logic rings true and the heart is willing, can you expect to pull off "all this stuff" (among other things, some 200 "To Do's")?


What you can do:
*        Treat this as the portrait it is. Imagine a Different World for your "Dept." Talk with colleagues about the portrait that does emerge . . . and your collective aspirations. (We urge you to dream!)
*        Go through the Main List of 50+ items and select, using some ranking scheme, 10 that make the most sense for you and your colleagues. (That are most important . . . and that are surprising/provocative.) Discuss the 10.
*        Select a couple of action steps (To Do's) from each of the 10 selected items. Find a Volunteer Champion, and consider an action plan for going after each one.
*        Alternatively, assign priorities to each of the seven sections in the book. Choose a Discussion Leader for each section. Once every two weeks, say, schedule a session to review a selected section; perhaps invite a relevant outsider to talk about the content. Consider practical Next Steps at the end of each discussion session.

There are 100 other ways to skin this cat. My point: We don't expect you to bite off the entire challenge in one crunchy chomp. We do hope you'll consider some scheme -- of your choosing -- for walking through the content in a measured way.

Who Is This Book For?

The idea of "PSF 50": Turning a "Dept." into a full-fledged, WOW-Project-obsessed Professional Service Firm. So . . . does that mean this is a book for bosses? Yes. And no.

Yes:The key idea is that the HR Dept. head is now . . . Managing Partner, HR Inc. No: We will all -- survivors! -- inhabit PSFs. We all must learn the ways of these exceptional institutions, and thence create mini-PSFs in every setting we inhabit. The PSF "mindset" is as appropriate/important to the neophyte 23-year-old professional as it is to that Department Head, age 43.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Inexorable "PSF" Logic 3
I. PSF = Inc. + Clients + Projects!
1. Think Inc. 13
1a. Commit "Cool" 16
2. Think Client. Period 19
3. Select Clients very carefully 23
3a. Seek out Clients who are leaders 26
3b. F-i-r-e Clients ... upon occasion 27
4. Turn every "task" into a Project 32
4a. The Work Matters! 35
5. Become a Catalyst for Revolution 38
II. Portfolio Quality!
6. Visit every client 41
7. Create an immodest Current Projects List 44
8. You are a Venture Capitalist 48
9. Conduct a weekly--or a more frequent--formal Current Projects Review 51
9a. Words ... matter 53
III. Impact!
10. Transform every "job" into a ... WOW! Project 56
11. Never ever compromise your Identity 59
12. Pursue ... P-A-S-S-I-O-N 62
13. Measure: Did we make an impact? 65
14. Tom's Epithet No. 1: "Thoroughly Professional ... But Not Provocative" 67
15. L-E-A-D Your Client! 70
16. Another-flavor-of WOW: Politics 73
17. PSF success boils down to ... the fine art of balance 77
18. Accounting etc. is a performing art 80
19. Speaking of accounting ... remember the bottom line: "Business-ing" 82
20. Got any quirky projects on the list? 84
21. Think ... Legacy 88
22. Pitch in ... or bail out! 91
22a. Practice serial monogamy 94
23. PSFs need Vision Statements! 96
23a. We help people! 100
IV. Live with 'Em!
24. Make Clients an integral part of every project team 105
24a. Cohabit with the Client! 108
24b. Turn the Client into an expert! 110
24c. Engage Clients in a measured "risk progression" process 112
25. Insist that Clients submit a formal evaluation of "your people" and "their people" at the end of each project 116
25a. Think External 118
26. Client-centric = PSF Imperative 121
27. Bring in wild and woolly outsiders. E-x-p-a-n-d the box 123
V. A Culture of Urgency!
28. Create a "sense of urgency"/"excitement"/"vibrancy"/"buzz" 127
29. Hot Teams thrive in Hot Spaces 132
30. Celebrate ... constantly! 134
30a. Projects-worth-doing are bumpy 137
30b. You need a clown! 141
31. Love thy "support staff" 143
32. A rabid scheduler is a must! 146
32a. We're in this for the money! 148
33. Pay attention to the "hard stuff" ... e.g.: Methodology 150
34. Embrace marketing 156
VI. Knowledge-Is-Us!
35. Become a Research & Development evangelist 160
35a. Devote a sizable share of effort/revenues to Knowledge Development 163
36. Turn your current portfolio of projects into a ... Research & Development playground/gold mine 167
37. Think ... Design 170
38. Evaluate the possible bases of PSF competitive advantage 174
VII. Talent!
39. Become a ... Connoisseur of Talent 177
39a. We want to be a Magnet for Talent 185
40. Cherish instability! Mix up teams! 188
40a. Mix redux: Encourage turnover! 190
41. Demand that every PSF member be known for ... something 192
41a. Admiration beats affection 196
42. Champion passion. Champion perfection 198
43. Create stories/mythology around "project winners" 200
44. T-R-A-I-N. Teach the "Professional Service Firm Basics" ... with a vengeance 202
45. Provide "project management-leadership" opportunities ... ASAP 205
46. Cherish great listening skills 210
47. Geeks--the antisocial, masterful diggers-of-obscure-facts--should be adored! 213
48. Challenge! Challenge! Challenge! 215
VIII. It's Ours!
49. Think ... Dream ... Act: Wow! Beauty! Impact! Distinction! 218
50. We own this place! 219
The Movement 223
Reading Suggestions 225
Acknowledgments 227
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