Summary of Practice What You Preach

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Practice What You Preach book summary


8 Overall

10 Applicability

6 Innovation

8 Style


Heavy but invaluable reading, this book presents the results of author David H. Maister’s study of 139 offices of 29 professional service - more specifically, marketing and communications - firms in 15 countries. His objective was to identify the attitudes that correlate most strongly with financial success. He found what’s been known all along - that financial success correlates very strongly with the perceived good character and integrity of management. When employees believe that management practices what it preaches, they seem to give extra effort and get astonishing results. The idea that character counts as much as, or perhaps more than, structure and corporate policy will be hard for many to accept. It takes courage, commitment, faith and humility to become the kind of person this study recommends. But this information shows that, to contradict baseball player Leo Durocher, nice guys finish first.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Which management and employee attitudes correlate with success; and
  • How to create a corporate culture that fosters those attitudes

About the Author

David H. Maister is the author of Managing the Professional Service Firm, True Professionalism and, with Charles H. Green and Robert M. Galford, The Trusted Adviso. A native of Great Britain, he holds degrees from the University of Birmingham, the London School of Economics and Harvard Business School, where he was a professor for seven years.



The Study
A new study showed conclusively that when management teaches - and lives - a corporate culture of fairness, trust and strong values, employees succeed. The study examined some 6,500 employees in 139 offices of 29 firms pursuing five different kinds of business in 15 countries...

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