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Aligning the Stars: How to Succeed When Professionals Drive Results Hardcover – April 26, 2002
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Strategy is frequently a difficult issue for a professional services firm. The firm's management may try to set strategy in one direction, but if the partners and key operators pursue individual strategies which do not align with that set by management, the official firm strategy gets overruled. Because of the high degree of autonomy enjoyed by professionals, managing partners typically have very little coercive power, and managerial success requires a much higher set of people skills than is required in more hierarchical workplaces.
One aspect of the culture of a professional services firm which is critical to future success is the development of talent. Young potential stars need to encounter appropriate challenges and receive sufficient feedback and mentoring along the way. Mediocrity needs to be stamped out, or the best performers might be tempted to leave for higher-performing firms. Senior professionals need to be cajoled into diverting time and resources away from serving clients to training colleagues.
The book offers significant insights into many of the key issues facing professional services firms, including organizational structure and culture, leading without being able to control, designing and implementing people management systems, and managing your own professional career. This is one of the most helpful books I have read on professional service firm management, and I highly recommend it.
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