David Maister

An expert’s job is to be right — to solve the client’s problems through the application of technical and professional skill. The advisor behaves differently. Rather than being in the right, the advisor’s job is to be helpful, providing guidance, input, and counseling to the client’s own thought and decision-making processes. The client retains control and responsibility at all times; the advisor’s role is subordinate … [ Read more ]

Selecting a CFO: Do We Know What We Want

Here’s a simple diagnostic tool that can be used to facilitate your firm’s discussions of the characteristics it seeks in a leader. The questions that follow include a series of “paired” qualities that a good leader might possess. In each pair, either quality may be desirable. However, the point of pairing these qualities is to ask, If there had to be a choice between the … [ Read more ]

Why (Most) Training is Useless

David Maister argues that the majority of business training is a waste of money and time, because only a microscopic fraction of training is ever put into practice and the hoped-for benefits obtained. What companies don’t seem to understand is that training is a wonderful last step in bringing about changed organizational and personal behavior, but a pathetically useless first step.

Accountability: Effective Managers Go First

How far are you willing to go to facilitate change in your organization? Management expert, David Maister, says you’ve got to be willing to go first. And he means all the way, even to the point of resigning if your change efforts fail. Instead of saying “Charge!” to the troops, say “Follow me!”.