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Leading a professional service firm is difficult enough in good times, and it is all the more risky in difficult ones. In Leading Firms: How Great Professional Service Firms Succeed & How Your Firm Can Too David Kuhlman, a highly respected management consultant to many of the world’s top firms, gives an informed view on how those in professional services can achieve the same success as best-in-class firms.
Most businesses claim that people are their most important asset, but Kuhlman explains that professional service firms are unique because their entire value chain consists of people who must differentiate themselves from competitors who often offer the same product in similar ways with near-identical messaging. From the author’s examination of why it’s more difficult to implement change than in a traditional business, to his analysis of the challenges of rising above the competition, he offers a comprehensive guide to the special dynamics of the professional services firm. Kuhlman covers in striking detail the aspects of the daily dealing with clients and markets as well as the planning and implementation of long-term strategy that leading a firm requires.
This book is divided into three parts. The first lays out foundations of success for any firm; this includes developing an effective strategy and also delivering consistent revenue, maintaining quality and maintaining profitability. The second section puts a strong focus on the capabilities that great firms possess as opposed to firms that are just merely “good.” This includes managing talent, delivering growth, and establishing brand synergy. The last part is about the practices and values necessary to develop a high-performing culture of professionals, one that continually nourishes the growth of superior talent while successfully managing client relationships and expectations.