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'The Trusted Advisor' by David Maister - A Must-Read for Senior Executives & BDs

'The Trusted Advisor' by David Maister - A Must-Read for Senior Executives & BDs
25-May-2016
As a writer, a strategist and an educator, books are my passion. 

I’d like to share some of my favourites with you. I’ve been addicted to the habit of reading since I voraciously devoured my first 'Secret Seven' novel at 9 (God Bless Enid Blyton), although I’d already decided by age 8 that my goal in life was to become an author. Somewhere in my 20s I decided to make that goal a truly worthy one and add the parallel (albeit lofty and somewhat vague) vision of “changing the world” through that skill set. 

Now in my 40s, I’ve refined that goal to the one that now burns in my belly every day:  to make a serious contribution to the proficiency, and the ethics, of the business world, most particularly in the area of new business . . . and to demonstrate how an organisation’s new-business acquisition practices can contribute significantly to the success of its customer or client organisations. 

To that end, I’m an avid reader. In this 'C-Suite' post, I'm going to treat you to one of my all-time favourites - master consultant David Maister's business classic, 'The Trusted Advisor'. 

So relevant to the field of business development and bidding (regardless of the size of the organisation) is Maister's sage advice, that I sought - and obtained - his permission to run several lengthy excerpts of his work in my own signature book, 'Think & Win Bids' .

'The Trusted Advisor' A Review by Jordan Kelly 
Authors:  David H. Maister, Charles H. Green & Robert M. Galford (2000)


If I had just three words in which to sum up my opinion of ‘The Trusted Advisor’, they would be:  Get a copy

With good reason, Maister is dubbed in senior consulting circles the “consultant’s consultant” Maister’s (and co-authors’ Green’s and Galford’s) 2000 business classic doesn’t go a page without earning, and re-earning, its reputation.

Maister’s previous books include ‘Managing the Professional Services Firm and ‘True Professionalism’ - and ‘The Trusted Advisor’ could be considered, at face value, to have been written for consultants and other, largely C-suite, advisors. But while the book certainly deserves a permanent place in the office and bookshelf of any corporate advisor, its constant pearls of wisdom are as invaluable to an entry-level business development operative as they are to the most seasoned management executive - especially if that executive is "client (or customer) facing". The fact that his advice is invaluable to senior executives, reportedly earns Maister a phenomenal daily rate for his advisory services in corporations around the world.

‘The Trusted Advisor’ is an apt title. The book delivers solidly on its promise, providing huge depth of insight in every aspect of client relationship mastery, covering the full gamut of both obvious and less obvious talents and skill sets. 

My favourite sections of the book are those relating to the critically important skill and art of listening. So critical to BDs and client-facing bid team members that (as I mentioned above) with David Maister’s express permission, I have included particularly valuable excerpts from these sections in my own book, 'Think & Win Bids:  Winning High-Value, High-Stakes Bids through Superior Questioning, Listening and Thinking Skills' .