True Professionalism | David H. Maister

Summary of: True Professionalism: The Courage to Care About Your People, Your Clients, and Your Career
By: David H. Maister


Dive into the world of ‘True Professionalism: The Courage to Care About Your People, Your Clients, and Your Career’ by David H. Maister, as it unveils the importance of personal commitment, passion and values in the pursuit of professional excellence. From understanding the core principles of professionalism to developing personal career strategies and enhancing client satisfaction, the wisdom of this book encompasses a wealth of guidance. Discover the types of professionals – the ‘Dynamo’, the ‘Cruiser’ and the ‘Loser’ – and their distinguishing characteristics, in addition to learning how to invest your non-billable time and develop effective leadership.

Achieving True Professionalism

True professionalism encompasses personal commitment and dedication to providing the best service to clients. It is grounded in believing and valuing one’s work, maintaining high standards, and caring about clients. Essentially, it involves aiming for true excellence and money will follow. To achieve true professionalism, it requires developing a personal career strategy, tracking employee profitability, ensuring client satisfaction, aligning personal values with actions, continuously improving, and nurturing employee skills. These ethical approaches are the foundation for lasting success.

The Three Types of Professionals

The success of your professional life depends on your attitude towards growth and challenge. In this book summary, the author describes the three types of professionals: Dynamos, Cruisers, and Losers. Dynamos are always learning, growing, and have a personal plan to fulfill their goals. Cruisers are competent but complacent, relying on existing skills rather than expanding their abilities. Losers do not meet basic quality standards, and this state can be temporary or permanent. To succeed, find your passion and build your career around it. Remember, planning your career is up to you, not your firm.

Invest in Your Future

The key to a successful career lies in how you use your non-billable time. Investing 50% of it in productive tasks can increase your potential for success.

Most professionals believe that only the billable hours matter. However, what they do with their non-billable time can determine the trajectory of their career. Investing in non-billable hours can lead to professional development and success. Professionals who don’t invest in these hours are at risk of stagnating.

Engaging in productive tasks during non-billable hours can boost future success. The following activities can help facilitate this:

1. Building client relationships.
2. Breaking into new markets and networking.
3. Learning, building knowledge, and training.
4. Any other activity that determines future success.

Unfortunately, most professionals work hard without producing concrete results, and their non-billable time “just goes.” Without planning non-billable hours, urgent tasks often take over important ones. Planning can help professionals make the most out of their non-billable hours.

Designating 50% of available non-billable hours towards promoting future success can be a good start. Over time, this allocation can increase. The following priority activities can affect your future:

1. Developing innovative ways to solve client problems.
2. Finding new ways to lower professional task costs.
3. Earning referrals.
4. Developing long-term client relationships.
5. Continually gathering market intelligence.
6. Generating market awareness.
7. Developing new services.
8. Attracting high-potential new recruits.
9. Transferring skills to junior professionals.
10. Disseminating skills and knowledge to partners.

Individuals and companies must consider non-billable time as critical as billable time. Both must be used effectively and treated as “sacred.” Planning and investing non-billable hours in productive tasks can pay off enormously in the future.

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