Yes, it has been over a year since my last blog entry. Why? Well, change – even good change – requires focus – and lots of effort. This last year has been a time of “doing” – with little time to “writing about it.”
And since this will be my last blog entry as chair, I’d like to ask your indulgence as I reflect a bit.
Get a cup of coffee, pull up a chair and ponder with me for 5 minutes.
This job as chair has certainly been the toughest job I’ve ever had. And while I earned no salary, I gained an immense profit from the experience – professionally and personally. Leadership skills, negotiation skills, taking myself less seriously, learning Roberts Rules of Order, time management skills – there have been lots of lessons. But the most meaningful part of this experience has been from the community of consultants: as I have talked to members to learn, to plan, to solve problems, to find answers, to provide guidance, and, often, to simply listen, I have learned so much – about compassion, honesty, patience, and humility - and about how many members share the same deep care for this organization. A long-time CMC recently sent an email that reassured me on days that I felt that I was alone in my commitment to make IMC a better place.
For the past 3 years I have served as a back lot cheerleader, heard a lot of stories and frustrations, and still have tried to maintain a positive attitude about the organization.
I was asked yesterday what I saw for the future of IMC USA.
- I see the organization of the future as central focus of the consulting profession to raise caliber and quality of consulting generally, no matter the discipline.
- The focus on the art of consulting (process) not the knowledge base of the discipline a consultant makes as their practice.
I was asked about the future of the CMC certification.
- First, we need to recognize that the attitude and mindset of the millennial generation towards certification is not supportive. They are more concerned about providing competent advice which they see as independent of a certification.
Second, I believe that as I work and travel throughout the United States and Canada the term “management consultant’ or ‘consultant’ is not seem as a profession, but rather what one does if they can’t find work, they left an organization because of disagreements, they retired from the military and don’t know what to do. Management consulting is not seen as a profession.
I see one of the functions of IMC USA in the future is to build an image of consulting as a profession, irrespective of how you came into the consulting profession. Yet I quickly say that there are many fine consultants who entered the profession by accident rather than by design. Life took a twist, and they rolled with the punches and made the best of it, and succeeded!
So where does this take us? As I see it we need to do several things to grow the organization and make it relevant to today’s business world:
- We need to put serious money into marketing the organization to the consultant population;
- We need to focus on the fact that the discipline is a profession.
- In so doing, emphasize the Professional Member status.
- Reduce the membership fees such that they are competitive and reflective of the value an individual gains from being a professional member.
- Re-focus the academy – make it a center of professional learning and development.
- The CMC should be seen as part of the journey of a consultant who is a Professional Member, not as the destination, as it is today.
- We need to develop IMC USA such that it is to the management consulting profession what SHRM is to the human resource profession.
Someone suggested to me yesterday that I should get away from IMC USA and go to a professional organization where I would be less frustrated and stressed. Folks, I’ve been there, and none are in as much need of fixing as IMC USA. I go where the fixin’ is needed.
I believe we can make a difference, but we need to do our little part to contribute to the whole. We have many fine talented consulting professional in our midst.
If we each contribute a little to the whole, we can see IMC USA resurrect itself, not in the same image as the past, but in a vibrant and relevant leader in the management consulting profession.
Rebuilding takes many hands, and each hand is important. Nobody can sit by and watch – we all need to be involved. Let’s look for reasons WHY and HOW we can do something, not for reasons why it can’t be done. Focus on the positive (realistically of course) and the end result will be greater than the sum of its parts, a revitalized and renewed IMC USA leading the consulting profession.
Dr. Rob (Sopo), I could not have said it better myself. We are a membership organization – and it is our members who shape our organization when they step up and participate, contribute and lead. As I transition to a new role, I encourage each member to consider how they can do perhaps just one thing and make a difference for those members who follow in their footsteps.
Finally, I want to express a special appreciation for Don Matheson, CMC® and Angela Dingle, CMC® who have served with me on the Executive Committee as we navigated some very tough financial issues and vetted, selected and transitioned to a new association management company (AMC Source). I am looking forward to serving on Don Matheson’s board as Immediate Past Chair.
With great appreciation,
Loraine Huchler, PE, CMC®, 2013-2015 Chair & CEO, IMC USA
P.S. By the way, y’all do know that I will be Chair of the Academy starting on Wednesday, May 6 – and I’ll be looking for a few good consultants….to envision the future, to plan, to make change, to market and to teach. :)