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By David H. Maister
Published by The Free Press, $24. Reviewed by Michael Goldstein,
The CPA Journal

The author of Managing the Professional Service Firm has followed up with this companion volume about professionalism--where it has gone vs. where it should be going. While most professional firms are seemingly and forever trying to get their people to behave like professionals, true professionalism requires individual personal commitment to self-betterment and a dedication to provide the best and most efficient service to clients. Maister continually tries to demonstrate that you can't become a leader in business without truly caring passionately about what you do and never knowingly compromising your standards and values. He connects behavior to principles and values.

What Maister says about how to do it (professionalism) right is informative and interesting but his comments on how it is currently being done wrong are damning, provocative, and eye opening. David Maister gives a number of key lessons in professionalism, containing some extremely critical comments about many of today's professional firms. This includes their shortage of values and principles, e.g., what many firms misunderstand is that their standards and values are not defined by their aspirations but what they are prepared to enforce. Also, "Firms must be intolerant on matters of values or strategy, if these are to be sustained."

Maister advises individuals to ask themselves not what they are good at but rather, what is it that they care about enough to find the inspiration, determination, and enthusiasm required to be successful. He offers many suggestions for individuals and firms on how to improve, add value, and build skills, to name only a few. He says what should be and gives some suggestions on how to get there.

Last but not least, portions of the book are directed at you and your firm on topics such as mergers, adapting to market changes, and marketing in a professional environment. *

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