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When Professionals Have to Lead: A New Model for High Performance Hardcover – December 19, 2007


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When Professionals Have to Lead: A New Model for High Performance + Managing The Professional Service Firm + The Trusted Advisor
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Press; 1 edition (December 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422117375
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422117378
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Thomas J. DeLong is the Philip J. Stomberg Professor of Management Practice in the Organizational Behavior area at the Harvard Business School. John J. Gabarro is Baker Foundation Professor at the Harvard Business School. Robert J. Lees is former director of professional development at Morgan Stanley and former director of human resources for Ernst & Young International.

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In this volume, Thomas DeLong, John Gabarro, and Robert Lees present what they characterize as "an integrated leadership model" that is designed to "stimulate thinking and facilitate changes that high-performing firm leaders want to enact." Although their focus is on the professional service firm (PSF), all of the information and counsel in this book can also be of substantial value to other kinds of organizations. In fact, decision-makers in those (e.g. manufacturers) must also offer professional service of the highest quality, especially now when competing in what has become, as Thomas Friedman describes it, a "flat world."

First, DeLong, Gabarro, and Lees introduce their integrated leadership model and explain its background, "how it evolved out of the problems and opportunities that have bedeviled heads of firms in recent years." I agree with them that, for most PSFs, a fresh leadership approach is "mandatory." In fact, research and DeLong, Gabarro, and Lees in combination with their own experiences have revealed exemplary firms and what can be learned from them. That information helped to guide and inform the development of the integrated leadership model.

In the remaining eight chapters, DeLong, Gabarro, and Lees respond to questions such as these:

What are the dominant characteristics of the integrated leader?
To what extent are PSFs "a breed apart"?
What unique challenges and opportunities do they offer to their leaders?
What should a firm offer: products, services, or both?
How to define and then measure a PSF's market?
How to achieve and then sustain strategic differentiation?
How to attract, motivate, and then retain the talent needed?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Gibbs TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Although the nature of professional services is changing, with firms experiencing greater internal demands from professionals and greater external demands from clients, the majority of leaders are using old frameworks and ways of thinking to fashion makeshift behaviours to meet the new challenges, according to Thomas DeLong, John Gabarro and Robert Lees in this book. The book provides a new framework for leading and managing professional services firms, called the integrated leadership model.
The new model proposed by the authors consists of four interrelated sets of leadership activities:

* Setting direction, which involves articulating the firm's objectives and how the work of professionals relates to those objectives
* Gaining commitment to the direction, which is necessary to make professionals feel involved and included
* Execution, which involves follow-through and accountability to ensure that financial goals are met and people do what they promise to do
* Setting a personal example, which requires the leader to embody the firm's stated values and goals

While I thoroughly agree with the importance of these four sets of activities, I am left wondering whether there is anything particularly new about them. I would have thought that these have always been important activities for successful leadership of a professional services firm.

The book contains chapters on why professional service firms require a different style of management from that required by product-producing businesses, using segmentation to respond to commoditisation pressures, the importance of strategic differentiation, how to motivate and develop high achievers, and the important role played by professionals who are "solid performers" rather than stars.
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Format: Hardcover
Pull up a chair for a straightforward exposition of the threats that face professional-service firms and the measures they need to take to meet today's marketplace demands. Thomas J. DeLong, John J. Gabarro and Robert J. Lees examine the challenges confronting the whole spectrum of professional-services firms. They identify "product intensity" and "practice segmentation" as two dimensions that weigh heavily in deciding how to lead these firms and set a long-term course. They offer a model to guide leaders, emphasizing planning, commitment, execution and setting an example. getAbstract finds that this book will interest any professional in the service business. Even those who may not be responsible for leading their firms can benefit from this analysis.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Anderson on March 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As a consultant to department Chairs in Medical Schools; CEOs of large medical group practices; and partner/leaders of a Big 4 consulting firm, my consistent experience has been that the barriers to aligning incentives to leverage the power of teams are almost insurmountable. Most of the leaders I have worked with have relied on a combination of relatively impotent fear tactics (i.e 'do this or else...) or cajolery (i.e. 'c'mon Jack, take one for the team...) that rarely drive persistent change or significant results.

When Professionals Have to Lead integrates credible research into the root causes of the obstacles to teamwork and presents clear, actionable strategies that enable leaders to make the business case for why enhanced team performance (and incentives) will benefit all of the reluctant players. As importantly, the authors provide solutions related to core competencies and creation of a common purpose for senior teams rare in the mush of writing on teamwork. Given the gnat like attention span of most of my clients, I rarely advise reading in excess of 3 pages. This book is the exception. I read it in a single sitting and wish I had written it.

Daniel J. Anderson
Hard Counsel

hardcounsel@comcast.net
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