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The Trusted Advisor

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Overview

In today's fast-paced networked economy, professionals must work harder than ever to maintain and improve their business skills and knowledge. But technical mastery of one's discipline is not enough, assert world-renowned professional advisors David H. Maister, Charles H. Green, and Robert M. Galford. The key to professional success, they argue, is the ability to earn the trust and confidence of clients. To demonstrate the paramount importance of trust, the authors use anecdotes, experiences, and examples — ...

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Overview

In today's fast-paced networked economy, professionals must work harder than ever to maintain and improve their business skills and knowledge. But technical mastery of one's discipline is not enough, assert world-renowned professional advisors David H. Maister, Charles H. Green, and Robert M. Galford. The key to professional success, they argue, is the ability to earn the trust and confidence of clients. To demonstrate the paramount importance of trust, the authors use anecdotes, experiences, and examples — successes and mistakes, their own and others' — to great effect. The result is an immensely readable book that will be welcomed by the inexperienced advisor and the most seasoned expert alike.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Carl Stern CEO, Boston Consulting Group An invaluable road map to all those who seek to develop truly special relationships with their clients.

Tom Peters author of The Professional Service 50 This is a brilliant — and practical — book. In our "world gone mad," trust is, paradoxically, more important than ever.

William F. Stasior senior chairman and former CEO, Booz-Allen & Hamilton This book is engaging, enjoyable, and absolutely on target. It is packed with truth. The Trusted Advisor will guide success not just in the advisory professions but in leadership and life as well.

Professor Charles Fombrun Leonard N. Stern School of Business, New York University The Trusted Advisor gets to the heart and soul of the advice business. This path-breaking book is a must-read.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743212342
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 9/25/2001
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 49,487
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet 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.

Charles H. Green is an executive educator and business strategy consultant to the professional services industry. Charlie has taught in executive education programs for the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, and for Columbia University Graduate School of Business, as well as independently through his firm, Trusted Advisor Associates. His current work centers on the nature of trust-based relationships within organizations, and on the management of professional service firms.
Charlie is a graduate of Columbia and of the Harvard Business School. He spent the first twenty years of his career with The MAC Group and its successor, Gemini Consulting, where his roles included strategy consulting (in Europe and the United States), VP Strategic Planning, and a variety of other firm leadership roles. He is the author of numerous papers, with articles published in the Harvard Business Review and Management Horizons. He is president of Trusted Advisor Associates, which he founded with Rob Galford. He resides in Morristown, New Jersey. He may be reached at:
Tel: 973-898-1579
E-mail: cgreen@trustedadvisor.com
Web site: www.trustedadvisor.com

Robert M. Galford is currently a Managing Partner of the Center for Executive Development in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was formerly the executive vice president and chief people officer of Digitas, Inc., a leading Internet professional services firm with over 1,400 employees. He taught for many years on executive programs at the Columbia Graduate School of Business and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, in addition to consulting to professional services firms, technology companies, and financial institutions.
Rob has lived and worked in both Western Europe and North America as a vice president of The MAC Group and its successor firm, Gemini Consulting. He has practiced law with the international firm of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle in New York and Washington, and has also worked in investment management for Citicorp.
Rob's writing and commentaries on management have been published in the Boston Globe and he is a three-time contributor to the Harvard Business Review. He currently sits on the boards of directors of Forrester Research, Inc., and Access Data Corporation. He also hosts the business video Talk About Change! with the popular cartoon character Dilbert.
His educational background includes Liceo Segre, Turin, Italy; a B.A. in economics and Italian literature from Haverford College; an M.B.A. from Harvard; and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was an associate editor of The Tax Lawyer. Rob lives with his family in Concord, Massachusetts. He may be reached at:
E-mail: rgalford@tiac.net

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: A Sneak Preview

Let's start with a question: What benefits would you obtain if your clients trusted you more?

Here's our list. The more your clients trust you, the more they will:

  1. Reach for your advice
  2. Be inclined to accept and act on your recommendations
  3. Bring you in on more advanced, complex, strategic issues
  4. Treat you as you wish to be treated
  5. Respect you
  6. Share more information that helps you to help them, and improves the quality of the service you provide
  7. Pay your bills without question
  8. Refer you to their friends and business acquaintances
  9. Lower the level of stress in your interactions
  10. Give you the benefit of the doubt
  11. Forgive you when you make a mistake
  12. Protect you when you need it (even from their own organization)
  13. Warn you of dangers that you might avoid
  14. Be comfortable and allow you to be comfortable
  15. Involve you early on when their issues begin to form, rather than later in the process (or maybe even call you first!)
  16. Trust your instincts and judgments (including those about other people such as your colleagues and theirs)

We would all like to have such professional relationships! This book is about what you must do to obtain these benefits.

What changes would you make to this list? What would you add? Delete?

Next, let's consider three additional questions:

Do you have a trusted advisor, someone you turn to regularly to advise you on all your most important business, career, and perhaps even personal decisions?

If you do, what are the characteristics of that person?

If you do not, what characteristics would you look for in selecting your trusted advisor?

Here is a listing of traits that our trusted advisors have in common. They:

  1. Seem to understand us, effortlessly, and like us
  2. Are consistent (we can depend on them)
  3. Always help us see things from fresh perspectives
  4. Don't try to force things on us
  5. Help us think things through (it's our decision)
  6. Don't substitute their judgment for ours
  7. Don't panic or get overemotional (they stay calm)
  8. Help us think and separate our logic from our emotion
  9. Criticize and correct us gently, lovingly
  10. Don't pull their punches (we can rely on them to tell us the truth)
  11. Are in it for the long haul (the relationship is more important than the current issue)
  12. Give us reasoning (to help us think), not just their conclusions
  13. Give us options, increase our understanding of those options, give us their recommendation, and let us choose
  14. Challenge our assumptions (help us uncover the false assumptions we've been working under)
  15. Make us feel comfortable and casual personally (but they take the issues seriously)
  16. Act like a real person, not someone in a role
  17. Are reliably on our side and always seem to have our interests at heart
  18. Remember everything we ever said (without notes)
  19. Are always honorable (they don't gossip about others, and we trust their values)
  20. Help us put our issues in context, often through the use of metaphors, stories, and anecdotes (few problems are completely unique)
  21. Have a sense of humor to diffuse (our) tension in tough situations
  22. Are smart (sometimes in ways we're not)

What would you add to (or delete from) this list?

Using the Golden Rule (we should treat others as we wish to be treated), we can probably make a fair assumption (or at least a good first approximation) that this list, or your list, is not much different from a list your clients would make.

So, if you want your clients to treat you as their trusted advisor, then you must meet as many of the "tests" on this list as possible.

Ask yourself: Which of these traits do my clients think I possess? (Not what you think you possess, but what they think you do!) If you suspect that you might not demonstrate all these traits, then how do you get better at each of them? That's what this book will try to answer.

Note that this book is not (just) about the wonderful benefits that wait at the end of the rainbow for the full-fledged trusted advisor, who does (or is) everything listed here. The early benefits of beginning to earn trust are substantial and can be obtained quickly. The ability to earn trust is a learnable skill, and we shall try in the succeeding pages to show "the yellow brick road" that leads to success.

Copyright © 2000 by David H. Maister, Charles H. Green, and Robert M. Galford

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Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction

How to Use This Book

Part One: Perspectives on Trust

  1. A Sneak Preview

    What would be the benefits if your clients trusted you more?

    What are the primary characteristics of a trusted advisor?

  2. What Is a Trusted Advisor?

    What do great trusted advisors all seem to do?

  3. Earning Trust

    What are the dynamics of trusting and being trusted?

  4. How to Give Advice

    How do you ensure your advice is listened to?

  5. The Rules of Romance: Relationship Building

    What are the principles of building strong relationships?

  6. The Importance of Mindsets

    What attitudes must you have to be effective?

  7. Sincerity or Technique?

    Do you really have to care for those you advise?


Part Two: The Structure of Trust Building
  1. The Trust Equation

    What are the four key components that determine the extent of trust?

  2. The Development of Trust

    What are the five stages of trust-building?

  3. Engagement

    How do you get clients to initiate discussions with you?

  4. The Art of Listening

    How can you improve your listening skills?

  5. Framing the Issue

    How can you help clients look at their issues in a fresh way?

  6. Envisioning an Alternate Reality

    How can you help clients clarify what they're really after?

  7. Commitment

    How do you ensure clients are willing to do what it takes to solve their problems?


Part Three: Putting Trust to Work
  1. What's So Hard About All This?

    Why are truly trust-based relationships so scarce?

  2. Differing Client Types

    How do you deal with clients of differing types?

  3. The Lieutenant Columbo Approach

    What can we learn from an unorthodox winner?

  4. The Role of Trust in Getting Hired

    How do you create trust at the outset of a relationship?

  5. Building Trust on the Current Assignment

    How can you conduct your assignment in a way that adds to trust?

  6. Re-earning Trust Away from the Current Assignment

    How can you build trust when you're not working on an assignment?

  7. The Case of Cross-Selling

    Why is cross-selling so hard, and what can be done about it?

  8. The Quick-Impact List to Gain Trust

    What are the key things you should do first?


Appendix: A Compilation of Our Lists

A comprehensive summary and list of concepts, insights, tips, and tactics.

Acknowledgments

Notes and References

Index

About the Authors

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Chapter 1: A Sneak Preview

Let's start with a question: What benefits would you obtain if your clients trusted you more?

Here's our list. The more your clients trust you, the more they will:

We would all like to have such professional relationships! This book is about what you must do to obtain these benefits.

What changes would you make to this list? What would you add? Delete?

Next, let's consider three additional questions:


Do you have a trusted advisor, someone you turn to regularly to advise you on all your most important business, career, and perhaps even personal decisions?

If you do, what are the characteristics of that person?

If you do not, what characteristics would you look for in selecting your trusted advisor?


Here is a listing of traits that our trusted advisors have in common. They:

What would you add to (or delete from) this list?

Using the Golden Rule (we should treat others as we wish to be treated), we can probably make a fair assumption (or at least a good first approximation) that this list, or your list, is not much different from a list your clients would make.

So, if you want your clients to treat you as their trusted advisor, then you must meet as many of the "tests" on this list as possible.

Ask yourself: Which of these traits do my clients think I possess? (Not what you think you possess, but what they think you do!) If you suspect that you might not demonstrate all these traits, then how do you get better at each of them? That's what this book will try to answer.

Note that this book is not (just) about the wonderful benefits that wait at the end of the rainbow for the full-fledged trusted advisor, who does (or is) everything listed here. The early benefits of beginning to earn trust are substantial and can be obtained quickly. The ability to earn trust is a learnable skill, and we shall try in the succeeding pages to show "the yellow brick road" that leads to success.

Copyright © 2000 by David H. Maister, Charles H. Green, and Robert M. Galford

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 12 of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2010

    Excellent guide for any consultant

    This book was recommended to me by two expert ad men and negotiators, so I thought I'd see what it was all about. The book is an easy read and walks through the dynamics of the advisor-client relationship, how to strengthen it, and how to damage it. If you're a seasonsed consultant yourself, it will probably sound familiar, but if you're just getting started, it's full of invaluable guidance.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 25, 2010

    Excellent reference book

    The "Trusted Advisor" is an excellent book on how to achieve the "Trusted Advisor" status at your client. Very good examples illustrate the key ingredients to this professioanl designation at your clients site and explain the differences in how clients look at consultants or other service providers. I have recommend this book to many of my consulting friends.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2006

    Clear directions on creating trust

    Being trusted by their clients separates successful advisors and consultants from the corporate consigliores. But how does a qualified advisor become trusted? Authors David H. Maister, Charles H. Green and Robert M. Galford provide methods you can use to reach the inner circle. They break trust into its component parts and reassemble those pieces into a viable, practical model, complete with suggested conversations. That may sound a little robotic, but with practice, an advisor can make the transition from outside technician to habitué of the inner sanctum. This readable book includes a useful appendix and a list of quick references. We recommend it to consultants and professional service providers. We trust you¿ll know what to do with it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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