True Professionalism

Want to know where you stand in terms of your servicing capabilities and your firm’s performance? Just send an anonymous questionnaire to your clients and most likely the results may surprise you. The book ‘True Professionalism’ by David Maister, a leading consultant, is an eye opener for professionals like us who believe that they are doing great service to their clients or the businesses they offer their consultancy to. It takes you through the journey of a professional at every stage of their career, highlighting the values and principles that must be applied to achieve a seamless and delightful client experience. 

The book which was first published 25 years ago is still relevant today. It addresses the need of professional firms on what excites their clients, how to generate profit by building long term relationships and managing resources efficiently to truly make a difference. 

What does the book cover?

Even though this classic was first published in 1997, it still has great relevance to anyone in the service industry even now. You should read this book if you strive to offer the best service to your clients. It contains 21 compelling chapters dedicated to helping you master your servicing standards and further enable you to overcome challenges that you may face as a professional and to learn how to lead others. In this book, Maister has broken the professionals as three kinds -Dynamo, Cruiser or Loser. Dynamos typically drive their own growth by regularly reflecting and recording their learnings. Cruisers are less competent and very few may move up as dynamos but many slip down as losers. The losers are disinterested professionals.  The author correctly points out that no amount of incentives can encourage excellence, and that focusing on revenue does not guarantee happy clients. On the contrary if you focus on great client experience the firm will do well from revenue and growth point of view.

Three takeaways

  1. Never compromise on your standards and values: Be passionate in what you do. Always aim for excellence and the money will follow
  2. Different kind of practices with customised approach – What kind of provider are you?
    The Pharmacist – The client wants to buy well: established methodologies and procedures, not innovation and creativity
    The Nurse – The client wants to be nurtured and nursed. Interact throughout the process
    The Brain Surgeon – The client needs high level of customisation, creativity and innovation with a low degree of client interaction
    The Psychotherapist – The client wants you to sit down with them and help them understand their problem and options
  3. Create a firm that welcomes change- be better than the competition which enables you to care for your clients and your career
    Aggressive listening
    Use market intelligence
    Share knowledge
    Raise the level of innovation
    Pressure for personal growth
    Management behaviour
    Measuring Success

What’s in it for me?

This is quite relevant to me and the profession I am in. The applications of the principles are very practical. Each chapter has a story, ideas and learnings from the author. With respect to the career stage, I am in, the chapter “Why should I follow” struck a chord with me.

My recommendation

This book is a must-read for the professionals in the client servicing space. No matter how big or small the firm is, we can all benefit from the ideas shared. Highly recommended for newcomers to the professional field. The personal experience, knowledge and insights shared by the author can be a great source of learning for the reader.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Sarika Chavan
Sarika Chavan is a public relations professional with over 15 years of work experience . She is currently working with Weber Shandwick as Vice President - Client Experience.

Previously she was employed at Adfactors PR, Text100 (now Archetype) and Perfect Relations. With keen observation and analytical skills, Sarika has successfully led PR campaigns for key brands across multiple sectors by leveraging her strength and expertise in the communications arena.

She is a post graduate in communications from Xavier Institute of Communications. She is based in Mumbai and in her free time loves to spend time with her daughters, play with her dogs, read and travel.

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