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What It Takes: Seven Secrets of Success from the World's Greatest Professional Firms

What It Takes: Seven Secrets of Success from the World's Greatest Professional Firms

Charles D. Ellis

ISBN: 978-1-119-20399-5

Oct 2015

304 pages

Description

Expert insights on what sets the great professional firms apart from all the rest

Having devoted a career that spans fifty years to consulting with and studying professional firms in the Americas, Asia, and Europe, author Charles Ellis learned firsthand how difficult it is for an organization to go beyond very good and attain, as well as sustain, excellence. Now, he shares his hard-won insights with you and reveals "what it takes" to be best-in-class in any industry.

Enlightening and entertaining, What It Takes explores firms that are leaders in their particular field and the superior people who create and maintain them. Along the way, it identifies the secrets of their long-term success and reveals exactly how they can put your organization in a better position to excel when properly executed.

  • Contains many stories of achieving excellence, and addresses the obstacles that top-ranking organizations face in sustaining it
  • Includes insights on leaders in their particular field—from McKinsey & Company in consulting and Cravath, Swaine & Moore in law to the Mayo Clinic in healthcare
  • Written by one of the most experienced and respected business consultants/advisors of our time

What It Takes skillfully shows you how innovation and a commitment to excellence can drive success, while also revealing how easy it is to fall behind. With it, you'll discover what separates the great firms from the good ones and learn how to attain, and maintain, organizational success throughout the years.

Foreword ix

Introduction xi

I. Achieving Excellence

Chapter 1: Mission 3

An Inspiring Long-Term Purpose

Chapter 2: Culture 25

How We Do Things around Here

Chapter 3: Recruiting 47

Getting the Right People

Chapter 4: Developing People 65

Training, Educating, and Organizing for Excellence

Chapter 5: Client Relationships 97

Developing Ties That Last

Chapter 6: Innovation 111

Changing How the Game Is Played

Chapter 7: Macro Innovation 133

Changing the Game

Chapter 8: Leadership 151

Bringing the Secrets Together

Chapter 9: . . . and Luck 173

Sometimes It Really Matters

II. Sustaining Excellence

Chapter 10: Trouble 181

Excellence Challenged

Chapter 11: Arthur Andersen 211

Excellence Lost

Afterword 245

Thanks 249

Notes 251

About the Author 285

Index 287