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About The Book

The essential "must have" tool for professionals who advise or negotiate with others in today's new economy.

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 your 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. The creation of trust is what earns the right to influence clients; trust is also at the root of client satisfaction and loyalty. The workings of trust are even more critical in the new economy than in the old.

Maister, Green, and Galford enrich our understanding of trust -- yet they have also written a deeply practical book. Using their model of "The Trust Equation," they dissect the rational and emotional components of trustworthiness. With precision and clarity, they detail five distinct steps you must take to create a trust-based relationship. Each step -- engage, listen, frame, envision, and commit -- is richly described in distinct chapters. The book is peppered with pragmatic "top ten" lists aimed at improving advisors' effectiveness that can be put to use instantly. It also includes a trust self-diagnostic in the appendix.

This immensely readable book will be welcomed by the inexperienced advisor and the most seasoned expert alike. The authors use anecdotes, experiences, and examples -- successes and mistakes, their own and others' -- to great effect. Though they use the professional services advisor/client paradigm throughout the book, their prescriptions have resonance for other trust-reliant situations -- selling, customer relationship management, and internal staff functions like HR and information technology.

The result is a tour de force -- brilliant, penetrating, unique. It is essential reading for anyone who must advise, negotiate, or manage complex relationships with others.

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

About The Authors

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. Green is a graduate of Columbia and  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.

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.
 

Product Details

  • Publisher: Free Press (October 5, 2000)
  • Length: 256 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780743204149

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Raves and Reviews

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.

Carl Stern CEO, Boston Consulting Group The Trusted Advisor offers an invaluable road map to all those who seek to develop truly special relationships with their clients.

James E. Copeland, Jr. CEO, Deloitte & Touche, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Trust is the key that can unlock a priceless dialogue with your clients. The Trusted Advisor tells you how to build relationships that can last a lifetime.

Michael Bray Chief Executive, Clifford Chance The authors have produced a readable, helpful guide to a central issue for all professional services firms. They provide sensible and practical advice, making the components of trust appear clear and straightforward. The book is easy to read and use and many of the checklists are very valuable. I will encourage my partners to read it and to keep it close at hand.

George COLONY Chairman and CEO, Forrester Research Our company's development has been guided by and has benefited from the Trusted Advisor concepts -- and they work!

Thomas W. Watson Chief Growth Officer, Omnicom Group, Inc. The Trusted Advisor will make any advisor more effective in winning and servicing clients' business. It is a must-read for anyone working in professional service firms.

Howard G. Paster Chairman and CEO, Hill and Knowlton, Inc. This book provides valuable insight into how one can become and, equally important, remain a trusted advisor, which is essential to success in a wide variety of professions.

John Lynch Chairman and CEO, Towers Perrin This is a major contribution to the consulting profession, a richly illustrated and humanistic look at what differentiates a truly great advisor from a good one. This book will be valuable reading for the novice and experienced professional alike.

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