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Bain Book

Aligning the Stars

Aligning the Stars

How to Succeed When Professionals Drive Results

By Jay W. Lorsch and Thomas J. Tierney

Aligning the Stars

Most businesses rely on talent to succeed, but none so much as professional service firms. Within this rapidly expanding, trillion-dollar industry, professionals—and how they're managed—are the primary source of competitive advantage.

What separates the best professional firms from their less successful competitors? And what lessons do their experiences hold for other talent-driven businesses?

In their comprehensive book, respected academic Jay W. Lorsch and accomplished practitioner Thomas J. Tierney draw from rigorous research and decades of experience to provide a practical perspective on how to win in professional services. Their work is based on an analysis of industry leaders in fields as diverse as law, accounting, investment banking, advertising, information technology, executive search and management consulting.

"A must-read for every professional."

David W. Heleniak, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley; former Senior Partner, Shearman & Sterling

Aligning the Stars argues that strategic success is achieved by building an organization of executive-level stars whose day-to-day performance reinforces and ultimately achieves the goals of the business. Outstanding firms align stars across business lines, geographies and even generations. Through compelling real-world examples, Lorsch and Tierney show how successful firms create and sustain alignment via strategy, organization, culture and leadership.

By describing how to lead the stars that shape a company's destiny, Aligning the Stars offers valuable lessons for the leaders of every talent-driven business.

About the Authors

About the Authors

Thomas J. Tierney

Thomas J. Tierney was worldwide managing director of Bain & Company from 1993 to 2000. In 1999, he cofounded The Bridgespan Group, an independent, nonprofit organization that collaborates with mission-driven leaders and organizations to help accelerate social impact. Through his work at Bridgespan, Thomas frequently speaks and writes on topics related to nonprofit leadership and philanthropy.

Jay W. Lorsch

Jay W. Lorsch is the Louis Kirstein Professor of Human Relations at the Harvard Business School. He is editor of The Future of Boards: Meeting the Governance Challenges of the Twenty-First Century and the author or coauthor of over a dozen books, including Back to the Drawing Board: Designing Boards for a Complex World.

What Others Are Saying

What Others Are Saying

For years I have wanted to find a book I could enthusiastically recommend to people in search of the key elements peculiar to building enduring, great professional firms. Finally, that book exists.

Jim Collins, Author of Good to Great and Coauthor of Built to Last

Jay Lorsch and Tom Tierney are sometimes iconoclastic, often provocative, and always, always informative.

David Gergen, former Director, Center for Public Leadership, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

With clear principles and many stimulating examples, this well-written book will provoke reflection and debate among professional firm leaders.

David H. Maister, Coauthor of First Among Equals

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