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Book Review: The Trusted Advisor

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Just got through reading a great book on consulting: The Trusted Advisor.

Reading about consulting skills is a bit of an oxymoron -- consulting is all about putting your client's interest ahead of your own, and if you're spending a lot of time worrying about your "craft" or learning tricks or techniques, you're no longer focused on the other person. The old saying is: "The trick is, there is no trick"

Having said that, there are things that you need to know -- how to engage, how to bring up issues, how to develop deeper relationships. These "soft skills" are much more important that content knowledge, at least in my opinion. Lots of folks are smart, but few people can take those smarts and really have an impact in the world with other people.

Unfortunately, everybody wants to emphasize book smarts instead of people smarts. Clients hire based on encyclopedic knowledge of an issue. I had a client once who told me that their consultants had better be able to walk on the water! He was convinced that consulting was a game where you acquired a bunch of knowledge and then dispensed it sparingly.

Instead, what I'm finding is that at the highest levels of consulting, nobody knows the answers. Having a vast, broad knowledge of an area is just the beginning of being able to help a client. Content knowledge is just the cover charge -- it's not knowing how to dance.

"The Trusted Advisor" is a great book for those of you out there just getting started in your career. It will finally explain to you the difference between those folks who are kicking butt in their career and those who are merely meandering through.

Highly recommended.

3 Comments

David Maister's Trusted Advisor is a great book (on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Trusted-Advisor-David-H-Maister/dp/0743212347 )

Key quote "Good business development is a sincere interest in clients and their problems, and spending time to be helpful to them."

Two others you might like are Gerald Weinberg's "Secrets of Consulting" (blog at http://secretsofconsulting.blogspot.com/ ) on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Consulting-Giving-Getting-Successfully/dp/0932633013 and Ford Harding's "Rain Making" (blog at http://www.hardingco.com/blog/ ) on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Rain-Making-Attract-Clients-Matter/dp/1598695886/

I'm already half-way through "secrets of consulting" -- hope to finish it during our flight tomorrow.

If "Rain Making" is as good as the other two it'll make a perfect selection of business books I've read on vacation this year.

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This page contains a single entry by DanielBMarkham published on September 23, 2009 1:40 AM.

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  • Sean Murphy: You're welcome. read more
  • DanielBMarkham: I'm already half-way through "secrets of consulting" -- hope to read more
  • Sean Murphy: David Maister's Trusted Advisor is a great book (on Amazon read more

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