David Maister - Professional Business, Professional Life
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Managing the Professional Service Firm

Two aspects of professional work create the special management challenges of the professional service firm.

First, professional services involve a high degree of customization in their work. Little, even management information, can be reliably made routine.

Management principles and approaches from the industrial or mass-consumer sectors, based as they are on the standardization, supervision, and marketing of repetitive tasks and products, are not only inapplicable in the professional sector but may be dangerously wrong.

Second, most professional services have a strong component of face-to-face interaction with the client. As a consequence, definitions of quality and service take on special meanings and must be managed carefully. Very special skills are required of top performers.

This compilation of 32 articles written over the previous ten years covers everything from strategy to profitability, marketing to motivating employees.

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