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Practice What You Preach : What Managers Must Do to Create a High Achievement Culture
David Maister

Retail Price: $18.95
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Format: Paperback, 272pp.
ISBN: 9780743223201
Publisher: Free Press
Pub. Date: July 2003

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

Firms that are perceived by their employees to actually practice what they preach are more financially successful than their competitors, says consultant David H. Maister, based on a worldwide survey of 139 offices in 29 professional service firms in 15 countries in 15 different lines of business.

Maister asked the simple question: Are employee attitudes correlated with financial success? The answer, he found, was "an unequivocal 'Yes!'" Further, the author shows that high levels of employee commitment and dedication "cause(yes, cause) a demonstrable, measurable improvement in financial performance." Maister proves that if your firm doesn't promote enthusiasm and high morale in your employees, your firm will make less money.

So, how can you create a culture in your firm that promotes growth and superior financial returns? Maister discovered that the most successful firms surveyed excelled by doing well on things to which most, if not all, firms pay only lip service: commitment to clients, teamwork, high standards, employee development, and other familiar topics. However, what distinguishes the best from the rest is that the best live up to their own standards.

Digging deeper by conducting in-depth interviews with managers and employees of the firms he surveyed, Maister has found that the key to success is not the systems of the firm, but the character and skills of the individual manager. He explores in detail the central role of the manager (what he or she must be, must do, and must require of others). The reader will find specific action recommendations from the managers and employees of these "superstar" businesses on how to build an energized workplace, enforce standards of excellence, develop people, and have fun all as powerful profit improvement tactics.

Practice What You Preach can help any manager increase firm growth and profitability, and will provide proof to firm executives that great financial rewards come from living up to the high standards that most businesses advocate, but few achieve.


Maister, a professional service consultant, surveyed 6,500 employees at 50 worldwide companies to evaluate the relationship between company financial performance and employee satisfaction and loyalty. He found a direct and dramatic correlation. Here, he offers detailed commentary from CEOs, managers and staffers, and analysis of the survey results. Bosses in all kinds of companies will benefit from his solid advice, which should be required reading for executives and upper level managers.
Publisher's Weekly Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Table of Contents
How to Use This Book7
1The Survey: Financial performance and employee attitude questions9
2Tramster: A Case Study: Trust, respect and integrity16
3How Successful Offices Did It: Enthusiastic, committed and dedicated people28
4Northport: A Case Study: The right combination of fun and discipline36
5Correlations with Financial Performance: An uncompromising determination to achieve excellence48
6Mustang Communications: A Case Study: Build your people and the rest will come53
7The Predictive Package: Nine attitudes that predict profits63
8Archipelago: A Case Study: The best management is one-on-one70
9The Path to Performance: The factors that cause financial performance77
10Tigrette: A Case Study: Talent doesn't outweigh personality85
11Firm or Office? What's Driving Things?: The individual manager is disproportionately influential94
12Mortimer Ransford: A Case Study: The Culture Cop: non-negotiable cultural minimums99
13The Effects of Office Size: Size makes things harder110
14Bellerephon: A Case Study: You've met Alice, haven't you? Essential human qualities113
15Age Levels: Your younger staff's views predict profits best!121
16Arkwright, Sutton: A Case Study: It's about relationships, stupid! Walk the halls!128
17Additional comparisons: Geography, lines of business and leverage136
18McLeary Advertising: A Case Study: Don't go home if someone else needs help142
19Julie's Perspective: Don't be afraid to live your values156
20Lessons: The Manager: What managers must be, believe and do160
21Lessons: Creating the Success Culture: Intolerance, requirements and community168
22Lessons: Developing People: Creating an energizing workplace176
23Lessons: Other Topics: Hiring, Training, Rewards and Clients184
24It's Not One or the Other, It's Both!: People development IS business development190
25The Courage to Manage: Strategy versus expediency. Do what you say you'll do193
App. 1: The Financial Performance Index203
App. 2: The 74 Questions205
App. 3: The Factors213
App. 4: Impact of Improving on Each Question217
App. 5: How the Top 20 Percent Offices Did It222
App. 6: Correlations230
App. 7: A Note on Structural Equation Modeling238
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