June 5, 2001

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - Practice What You Preach

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 9:32 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Practice What You Preach: What Managers Must Do to Create a High Achievement Culture by David Maister, The Free Press, 225 Pages, $26.00 Hardcover, June 2001, ISBN 0743211871
David Maister and 800-CEO-READ have been friends since 1993 when David published his first book, Managing the Professional Service Firm. That book was extremely well-received, we sold a ton of them, and the book continues to sell. It was one of the first books specifically looking at the professional service firm, years before Tom Peters started telling people that the professional service firm is the best model for tomorrows organization in any industry. We maintained our friendship during and following the release of Maisters Trusted Advisor, and I am thrilled to have the chance to support his newest effort. I am particularly excited about Practice What You Preach because the lessons learned in this book are fundamental to my own companys philosophy.
In his new book, Maister surveyed more than 5500 people from 139 offices in 29 firms in 15 countries. These offices are owned by one holding company and there are 15 different autonomous businesses represented. Employees were asked to rate 74 quality issues regarding their workplace. Then, the author studied the financial performance of each office by measuring an examination of margin, profit-per-employee, two-year growth in revenues, and two-year growth in profits. This exhaustive study generated some exciting conclusions. Ultimately, Maisters study reveals that financially successful businesses do better on virtually every aspect of employee attitudes, and those that do best employee attitudes are measurably more profitable. In addition, by raising employee satisfaction 20 percent a companys financial performance increases by more than 42 percent. Think about that.
Some of the common attitudes held by the more successful companies include: Management practices what it preaches; Management is trusted by those they manage; Each employees personal potential is being fulfilled and realized; Compensation systems are equitably managed; Firms hire right the first time. Can you say your company values these same attitudes?
One of the many issues I have with business books are they are way too long and they make statements that are not supported with data. This book is beautifully written and blessedly shortjust over 200 pagesand Maister has all the documentation needed to support his claims. This book is loaded with takeaways.