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Art of Managing Professional Services

Insights from Leaders of the World's Top Firms (paperback)

Paperback Engels 2012 9780133353822
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“High praise for Maureen Broderick…. Her book gives firm leaders a step up in competing on the global landscape.”

–James Turley, Chairman and CEO, Ernst & Young


“Anyone involved in the management of a professional service firm will find real value here.”

–David Childs, Global Managing Partner, Clifford Chance


“Maureen Broderick brings shape and clarity to the vital, but abstract, essence of professional service firms.”

–Ralph Shrader, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Booz Allen Hamilton


“Broderick’s book is filled with best practices that will help all kinds of companies–whether they are professional service firms or not–meet the challenges of doing business in the 21st century.”

–Ray Kotcher, Senior Partner and Chief Executive Officer, Ketchum


“Every professional service partner–and aspiring partner–should read this book.”

–Paul Laudicina, Managing Officer and Chairman, A.T. Kearney


“This comprehensive overview of best practices from the world’s leading firms will resonate with leaders and managers.”

–Eric Friedman, Executive Partner, Skadden, Arps


“The takeaways are fantastic!”

–Andy Cohen, Co-CEO, Gensler


“One only needs to read this book to realize that managing a professional service firm is very much an art, if not a science, worthy of its own special study and examination.”

–Mike Goss, Managing Director and COO, Bain Capital


Building and managing a professional service firm is very different from running a product-based business. Infrastructure, governance, talent acquisition and retention, and compensation and financial management vary significantly from traditional corporate environments. Conventional management advice doesn’t offer all the answers, and mainstream business gurus rarely address the unique challenges facing professional service firm leaders.


The Art of Managing Professional Services is one of the most comprehensive, research-based guides to firm management ever written for
the industry. Based on more than 130 in-depth interviews with leaders of the world’s top firms, the book offers practical, proven, best practices on how to tackle the ten critical areas that firm leaders must monitor to build and maintain a strong organization: vision, values, and culture; people; clients; services; finance; positioning; partnership; strategy; structure; and leadership style.


Maureen Broderick draws on her 30 years of experience in professional services to explore both the art and science of running a high performance firm. She presents tangible processes and programs—including 40 featured best practices—that readers can tailor to their own organizations and cultures. Inside you will learn:


>> How to create and maintain a shared vision, values, and culture

>> Best programs to recruit, train, and retain great people

>> Strategies to develop and manage a profitable portfolio of clients

>> What it takes to innovate services and share knowledge

>> The key metrics to monitor financial health

>> Insights into effective positioning, marketing, and selling firm services

>> Proven practices for rewarding and managing the partnership

>> A guide to both long-term and annual strategic planning

>> Balancing structure and governance in a consensus-driven organization

>> Secrets for leading “incredibly smart and independent people”


Uitgever:Pearson Education


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Foreword by Jay Lorsch   xv

Acknowledgments   xvii

About the Author   xxi

Introduction   1

Chapter 1: Professional Services   9

Characteristics, challenges, and leadership model

Common Characteristics of Successful Firms   10

It’s Not All Good News   13

The Broderick PSF Leadership Model   14

Chapter 2: Shared Vision, Values, and Culture   17

Building, communicating, and maintaining

Five Essentials of Vision, Values, and Culture   20

Embedding Values and Culture   22

The Reinforcement of Values and Culture Begins with Recruiting   23

Telling the Firm’s Story Reinforces the Culture   24

Teams Teach You How to Live and Work in the Firm   24

Constant Communication Is Critical   25

Celebrate and Reward Good Behavior   28

Making Values Stick   28

Revitalizing Vision, Values, and Culture   31

Chapter Summary   38

Chapter 3: People   39

Recruitment, training, and evaluation

Seven Essentials of Talent Management   41

Recruiting: Refreshing the Ranks   43

Interviewing and Selection: Choosing the Best Candidates   46

Mapping a Career Path   47

Training: Fostering Connectedness and Commitment   51

Mentoring: Providing Personal and Professional Support   55

Performance Evaluations: Frequent and Thorough Feedback   60

Diversity Looms Large–and Will Continue to Pose a Major Challenge   62

Chapter Summary   63

Chapter 4: Portfolio   65

Strategy, client mix, and relationship management

Five Essentials of Client Portfolio Management   67

Mastering the Client Management Life Cycle   69

Step One: Strategically Plan and Review the Client Portfolio   70

Step Two: Onboard New Clients   75

Step Three: Sustain and Grow Accounts   76

Step Four: Solicit Client Feedback   88

Step Five: Review and Measure Results   91

Chapter Summary   94

Chapter 5: Services   95

Strategy, innovation, and knowledge sharing

Four Essentials of Successful Service Portfolio Management   97

Follow the Service Strategy Cycle   98

Step One: Review the Service Portfolio   99

Step Two: Stimulate and Capture New Ideas   102

Steps Three and Four: Select the Best Ideas, and Take Them to Market   108

Step Five: Share Knowledge   111

Four Essentials of Knowledge Management   112

Chaper Summary   119

Chapter 6: Finance   121

Planning, metrics, and reporting

How Do the Top Firms Manage Finance?   123

Financial Planning and Budgeting   124

Forecasting   126

Metrics to Monitor the Business   127

Revenue   129

Profitability   130

Utilization   131

Pricing   132

Leverage   136

Performance Efficiency   137

Early Warning Signs   138

Reporting   139

Transparency and Accountability   142

Chapter Summary   146

Chapter 7: Positioning   147

Brand, marketing, and sales

Five Elements of a Successful Market Strategy   149

The Power of Brand   151

Determine the Market and Brand Positioning   151

Embed and Build the Brand   155

Keep the Message Clear and Consistent   160

Regularly Test Brand Strength   160

Marketing   161

Sales   162

Building a Marketing and Business Development Plan   164

Firm-wide Brand Initiatives   164

Business Unit Plans   166

Master Plan, Timeline and Budget, Tracking and Measurement   167

Thought Leadership: The Most Powerful Way to Grow the Business   170

The Role of the Marketing Professional   175

Areas of Focus for the Marketing Department   177

Chapter Summary   182

Chapter 8: Partnership   183

Equity, selection, and compensation

Six Characteristics of Enduring Partnerships   184

Selecting an Ownership Structure   186

Advantages and Disadvantages of Ownership Structures   187

Public Versus Private   192

To Sell or Not to Sell   195

Equity Programs to Attract and Retain the Best   197

Rewarding the Partners: Dividing the Pie 203

Distribution Models   203

Evaluating Performance   205

Partnership Performance Criteria   208

Partnership Selection: A Pivotal Decision 211

Criteria for Promotion to Partnership   212

Partner Promotion Process   213

Chapter Summary 216

Chapter 9: Strategy 219

Process, responsibility, and accountability

Why Strategic Planning Matters   221

Five Essentials for Successful Strategic Planning   223

Orchestrating the Planning Process   226

Long-Term Planning   227

Annual Planning   231

Review, Monitor, and Update   232

Accountability   234

Chapter Summary   236

Chapter 10: Structure 237

Design, governance, and style

Why Getting It Right Is So Challenging   239

Seven Essentials for a Successful Infrastructure and Governance Model   240

Organizational Structure: The Scaffolding That Supports the Firm   243

Board of Directors: Composition and Selection   244

Chairman: Selection and Role   247

CEO: Selection, Role, and Succession   248

Management Committee: Composition and Selection   253

Business Units: Structure and Seat of Power 254

Other Functions/Special Initiatives   257

Administrative Support   257

Changing the Structure   258

Governance Style   259

Chapter Summary   263

Chapter 11: Style of Leadership 265

Characteristics, grooming, and advice

Essential Characteristics of a Successful Leader: Emotional Intelligence and People Skills   267

Good Influencer/Builder of Coalitions   268

Inspirational and Passionate   268

Visionary   268

Good Listener   269

Good Communicator   271

Understands the Business   274

To Bill or Not to Bill   274

Grooming a Global Leadership Corps: Finding and Nurturing Future Leaders   278

Some Parting Advice for Leaders   284

Author’s Note   286

Index   287


Lessons from Leaders

Chapter 2: Shared Vision, Values, and Culture

Teaming at Cravath 26

Booz Allen Hamilton Core Values   29

Edelman Revisits Vision and Values   32

Korn/Ferry Changes Its Vision and Culture   34

Chapter 3: People

Recruiting at ghSMART   48

Career Development at Booz Allen Hamilton   50

Latham & Watkins Multistage Career Training   53

Training at Bain & Company   56

Plante & Moran’s Team-Based Mentoring  59

Chapter 4: Portfolio

Grant Thornton Client Experience Program   77

Black & Veatch Client Portfolio Mix   81

Account Management at Burson-Marsteller   83

Client Management at Ernst & Young   87

Edelman’s Client Feedback Program   90

Chapter 5: Services

Deloitte Australia’s Innovation Program   104

CSC’s Office of Innovation 107

Knowledge Management at Grant Thornton   116

Chapter 6: Finance

Black & Veatch Forecasting Process   128

Metric Management at Gensler   141

ghSMART’s Budget, Dashboard, and Review Process   144

Chapter 7: Positioning

Brand Management at Skadden, Arps   156

Euro RSCG Life Culture Scan   158

Growing an Industry Program at Ernst & Young   168

Thought Leadership at Booz & Company   174

Chapter 8: Partnership

Slater & Gordon Becomes the First Law Firm to Go Public   193

The Acquisition Process at Baker Robbins & Company   196

Gensler’s Principal Evaluation Process   207

Compensation Criteria at Eversheds   210

Making Partner at Egon Zehnder International   215

Chapter 9: Strategy

Planning at Peppercom   225

Hewitt’s Planning Process   229

Annual Planning at Ernst & Young   233

Chapter 10: Structure

Clifford Chance Offshoring Program   242

Election Process at Skadden, Arps   250

A.T. Kearney Revamps Structure and Governance   261

Chapter 11: Style of Leadership

Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide: Leading Growth 270

KPMG: Leading Through a Crisis 272

Clifford Chance: Leading Through Transition 275

Cultivating Leadership at O’Melveny & Myers 281

Emerging Leaders Program at Dewberry   283

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