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A Community Calls

Posted By David T. Norman CMC, Monday, September 05, 2011
Recently, your VP of Membership, Loraine Huchler and I were discussing the most-oft question posed by members, "What's the Value Proposition?"  Both she and I wince a bit when we hear the question as it seems to reduce to a simple sound byte the rich, complex tapestry of reasons people join a professional association.  Communities are more than sound bytes and a simple ROI on dues.

Education, affiliation with like-minded professional management consultants, collaboration, business growth, skills development, advancing the profession, mentoring, and giving back are a few of the myriad of benefits other members find in membership.  These are some of the qualifiable benefits; quantifiable ones will follow in a successive blog.

Loraine commented to me, "New chapter membership chairs will sometimes ask me, "Tell me the most important things that they should be doing in their new role?"  She added,"There is no algorithm for the vision and leadership required to craft relationships of trust and sustain a community of IMC USA members." 

Let's remind ourselves about the vision and leadership roles of IMC USA:

VISION -- Start with our tagline: "Setting the Standard for Excellence and Ethics in Management Consulting - since 1968.  We see ourselves as the community of professional management consultants -- sole practitioners, principals in firms, and professionals in small, mid- and large firms.  All management consultants.  We are the keeper of the standards, the code of ethics (see and certification of management consultants.

LEADERSHIP -- "Of course," adds Loraine, "every chapter membership chair has a role and a set of responsibilities to manage the membership process.  But simply 'doing their job' does not make them a leader."  To paraphrase an old aphorism, "Going to a chapter meeting no more makes you a professional management consultant than going into a garage makes you a car."  Simply put, leaders lead; they extend themselves and sometime get uncomfortable as they work to engage every member of our community.  But, that's what leadership is about.

As September begins (it is, after all, Labor Day as I write this), both Loraine and I invite you to connect, or reconnect, with the rich community that is IMC USA.  Try something new:
The rewards for doing so enrich your professionalism, your skills and your competencies.  Participation in our community is the fastest way to get value from your membership.

Tell Loraine, or me, your thoughts by responding to this blog.

My best wishes for a great Labor Day.


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Comments on this post...

Alan Weiss CMC FIMC says...
Posted Monday, September 05, 2011
A value proposition is the point of an arrow. It's not an elevator pitch, but describes succinctly and clearly how the client/customer/member will be improved as a result of your work. Frankly, I'd forget about "complex tapestries," since the IMC seems always to want to make the easy into the complex, and develop a value proposition that stanches membership loss and, at long, long last, brands the CMC designation. IMC may be "keeper of the standards" (which I doubt), but it certainly is not forging innovation and business growth for the profession or members. Maybe a value proposition that justifies membership and support would be a good place to start!
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Leonard Steinberg EA CMC says...
Posted Monday, September 05, 2011
Once again, Alan Weiss has made an excellent point and observation. Loraine and I are members of the same chapter (NJ) and we have witnessed the poor attendance and growth over the past number of years. Prospective and current chapter members always ask what the CMC designation will do for them. I have been a CMC since 1987 and I'm still waiting for the answer. I would hope the current board sticks to the basics and makes the CMC designation what it was intended to be - the premier creditential it should have been all long.

Leonard Steinberg, EA, CMC
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Thomas F. Samson says...
Posted Monday, September 05, 2011
Alan and Leonard are getting at the heart of the questions that are on the mind of anyone who voluntarily joins any organization. The Gallup organization has done lots of work studying why people join not-for-profit groups and have identified the following:
> What's in it for me by getting involved with this group?
> What's expected of me by this group?
> Do I belong with the members of this group?
> Am I going to grow by being part of this group?
IMC is a national organization but it's value must be realized at the local chapter level. For it is at this level that the engagement of members will occur which brings in new members and keeps current members coming back year after year. National's challenge is developing initiatives and resources that help the leaders of local chapters develop and deliver programs that are responsive to the questions in the minds of every prospect and member. Management consultants are professionals who make their living by delivering personal services to others. How does IMC help their members and prospects build and sustain their professional practices? Answer that for the local chapter and you will have your value proposition.

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Glenn R. Dinetz CMC says...
Posted Monday, September 05, 2011
Sadly, the CMC designation is relatively unknown in the business world. And if it is known, it carries no weight whatsoever. I have been thinking of reasons I continue to pay for my CMC designation and I'm running out of them. Attendance at NJ Meetings is poor and with few exceptions, it's the same old speakers format without learning much new. I joined IMC upon setting out on my own back in 2004 or 2005. In 2007 I became a CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner) and also received an ISACA designation. In these times of recession, those two certifications have helped keep me working and growing. The NJ Chapter of ACFE's has between 50 to 70 members showing up every month at our weekly dinners. OUr speakers are top notch. We also hold four annual fraud conferences with Rutgers University and Rider College. As fara as ISACA is concerned, again, the usual number of attendees surpasses 50. The question must be asked about the IMC - what is special about being a CMC - what body of knowledge do we possess that others don't. I've railed about this in the past but it would seem to me that consultants are hired to solve problems. solving problems means managing programs and projects...but wait, isn't that the expertise of the 250K+ PMA and it's PMP's who are sought after in most every job posting for projects that I read.
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Stephen Lipka CMC says...
Posted Friday, September 09, 2011
If there's a reason that you and Judith wince a bit when you hear the question about value proposition, it's because IMC can't crisply answer it. The elevator speech does not work. "Community" at the national level is for a few - a limited number without the critical mass to maintain the organization or significantly build membership.

In New England, a consultant who wants community can get it at local chapters of National Speakers Association, Association for Stategic Planning, Exit Planning Exchange, Society for Information Management, the Project Management Institute, and other organizations, all of which additionally have strong programs built around their discipline. More important, they are widely known and respected. IMC is unknown. We can connect the dots. If IMC isn't known and respected, economic buyers won't seek out IMC consultants. Without that draw, there's no business. With no business to be had, consultants see no benefit over membership in other respected organizations. You can see what happens to national membership.

Great speakers and community will not distinguish our chapter from chapters of other organizations. Promoting skills building and development of relationships with colleagues gets us no competitive advantage. We need perceivable value from National. We need to be proud of membership in a respected known professional organization. We need National to become known here. Without that, IMC has little value to offer (far below the price of membership), and I dare say we are not the only chapter that feels this way.

If National wants to thrive, it needs to take a different direction, and it should start by doing what any good consultant would do - listen. Chapter President's Council meetings are outbound communication, and that needs to change. As I've said to Judith more than once, CPC needs to be an inbound path for chapters to tell National what they need to thrive.

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