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Don Matheson, IMC USA Chair & CEO, periodically reports on the state of the Institute, including new benefits to members, strategic affiliations with other organizations, business issues affecting the consulting profession, member accomplishments, chapter activities, and activities of the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI). Institute news can be found in the "News and Media" section of this site.

 

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Been A While

Posted By David T. Norman CMC, Monday, January 16, 2012
Good day to you. 

It's been a while since my last post; with apologies, sometimes life just comes at you fast.  Not an excuse, just a fact.  Ugh!

Two things: MLK Day and House of Lies.

1.  Martin Luther King Day:
I've been part of adjunct faculty for approximately 25 years, most often teaching Strategy or Corporate Finance.  In Strategy, as we discuss Vision and Mission, I ask my students to close their eyes as I read a very powerful Vision and, after reading it, ask if they could 'see' and 'feel' the author's vision.  While you can't close your eyes and read it at the same time, I suggest that today is a good day to read a very powerful vision -- Martin Luther King's Dream speech (http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm).  It is powerful from many perspectives -- the vision itself of a better time, the message of equality and reconciliation, the language, the alliteration, and so forth.  Organizations' Vision Statements can't be/shouldn't be this long; but can they be as powerful and moving.

2.  House of Lies:
Last evening, my wife, Louise, and I watched our first session of House of Lies, staring Don Cheadle on Showtime.  According to Showtime's website, "Charming, fast talking Marty Kaan and his crack team of MBA-toting management consultants are playing America's 1 percent for everything they've got. They put the con in consulting as they charm smug, unsuspecting corporate fat cats into closing huge deals, and spending a fortune for their services. Twisting the facts, spinning the numbers, and spouting just enough business school jargon to dazzle the clients, there's no end to what this crew won't do to and for each other, while laughing all the way to the bank."

If you haven"t seen it, don"t waste your valuable time.  It is hard ignore the foul language (seems the 'F' word is the predominate word in their 'consultant-jargon'), the nudity (gratuitously presented), and the technological/video gimmicks (freeze-frame).  If you can get past all that, then the show itself is simply a non-starter.  House of Lies; indeed.  The portrayal of management consulting is so wrong.  As a professional, lifetime (38 years so far, 23 years as CMC) management consultant I'm not sure whether to be incensed or just amused.  The show may be humorous (although neither Louise nor I thought so), but only as a parody.  And, while I didn't watch it with our Code of Ethics in hand, my guess is that Marty (Don Cheadle) and his 'crack team' violated at least four (out of the fifteen) of the Code of Ethics points you subscribe to as a member of IMC USA.

IMC USA:
As we state on our website (see http://imcusa.site-ym.com/default.asp?page=ETHICSCODE):

The standards of conduct set forth in this Code provide basic principles in the ethical practice of management consulting. The purpose of this Code is to help IMC USA members maintain their professionalism and adhere to high ethical standards as they provide services to clients and in their dealings with their colleagues and the public.

Of this Code of Ethics, and of you and your membership, I am proud.

Stay tuned (and I'll try to post more often),

My best,

David

Tags:  CMC  Code of Ethics  Dream Speech  House of Lies  IMC  Martin Luther King  MLK Day  Showtime 

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Message to the Members, November 2011

Posted By David T. Norman CMC, Sunday, November 6, 2011
To our members who were not at Confab last month, I have excerpted my comments for each of you in a YouTube Video, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bk9aBZWqOv8  It's only seven minutes long.

I announced several new alliances for you (see all at http://www.imcusa.org/general/recommended_links.asp?cc=12633), including a relationship with AON (for your professional liability insurance), Evalusys and MBA IQ (both in my previous blog).

I made announcements at Confab for IMC USA's first Firm Member (10 members of AKT LLP management consulting services) and our first Certificate of Management Consulting course and student chapter at a prestigious University, Georgia State University.

Big things are happening in your association.  Be part of the energy.

Stay tuned,

My best,

David

Tags:  AON  Certified Management Consultant  Chair  CMC  David Norman  Evalusys  Firm Member  IMC  MBAIQ 

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Confab and Two New Alliances

Posted By David T. Norman CMC, Saturday, October 29, 2011
What do the following three things have in common?
  1. Confab
  2. MBA IQ
  3. Evalusys
CONFAB:
First, we just completed the 34rd Confab.  Here's what one participant wrote to me about the experience, "...the event was invaluable.  Bring together a variety of consultants from around the nation who covered a wide spectrum of industry fields and consulting techniques enabled me to acquire an incredible amount of knowledge ... this would not have been possible if the participants were not both honest and genuine."  Confab is one additional offering to members of IMC USA.  And, a special thanks to Co-Chairs, Dick Pinsker (who was a founder of Confab, as I was corrected, 33 years ago) and Cherryll Sevy, and the other members of the Confab Committee for a job well done.

MBA IQ:
Second, one of our two newest alliances is with MBA IQ, which complements our mission and vision.  I am pleased to highlight MBA IQ (http://www.mbaiq.com and http://www.apbm.org) as a valuable alliance.  Developed by Harvard Business School graduates, the MBA IQ platform is a comprehensive suite of tools enabling individual consultants to 'master the MBA lexicon."  Just as the Myer-Briggs is a personality assessment, the MBA IQ is an assessment for business acumen.  The MBA IQ suite of courses and certifications are designed to assess, quantify and certify the business acumen for your, your team and your clients.  Management consulting is all about know-how, so these tools are offered to you as a way to strengthen your 'know-how.'

Evalusys:
Third, the second of our newest alliances is with Evalusys (http://evalusys.com/imcusa.aspx), which provides a set of online management diagnostic tools for use as an automated 'gap analysis' process.  The Evalusys tool provides a truly sustainable process for attracting and engaging new clients.  In this case, your client responds online to a broad set of carefully crafted questions, producing a discussion document which details opportunities for improvement.  You can review the document with the client and highlight your expertise in addressing business issues.  This can all be done as a billable service, improving cash flow while qualifying clients for additional consulting or coaching support.  Evalusys also provides a free 'Primer' diagnostic for use as a marketing tool and advertising options to help you gain clients. 

What do these three have in common?  Tools to help you, as a consultant, to learn, grow and build your practice.

In my next blog, I will announce a couple more happenings that will help the chapters attract and retain additional members.

Stay tuned.

David

Tags:  CMC  Confab  Evalusys  IMC USA  MBA IQ 

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Loyalty and Commitment

Posted By David T. Norman CMC, Monday, September 26, 2011

Loyalty and Commitment

"Actions speak louder than words” is a popular catchphrase for significant gestures of appreciation and very simply, we appreciate you being a member of IMC USA.

Recognizing that our members are our most valuable "clients,” I acknowledge that this tough economy forces all of us to carefully scrutinize all expenditures, even to organizations like ours, and I want to make you an offer as a loyal member of IMC USA.

If you renew your IMC USA membership by September 30, you will receive a 10 percent discount (just enter code LOYALTYDISCSEP on our websites online registration page). It’s our way of saying thanks and also because we really want you to continue as an involved member of your professional organization.

Now, more than ever, leveraging the power of IMC USA might be one of the most important moves you make this year.

Consider some of these benefits you can't get elsewhere:

  1. Being member of a community of like-minded, professional management consultants and the ensuing networking and growth opportunities;
  2. The affiliate programs (from AON for professional liability insurance [more later] to the new, yet unannounced, Evalusys [more later]) which offer to those who take advantage additional tools and savings;
  3. The national conference for professional management consultants, Confab;
  4. Courses and workshops (through The Academy and some chapters) to help you gain knowledge and competencies, especially as you chose to move to the Certified Management Consultant® accreditation; and
  5. The pride of subscribing to a profession-wide Code of Ethics, that governs your work as a consultant to management.

So take the time to renew today and update your member profile on our website. If you aren’t able to renew by September 30, you can still earn a 5 percent discount if you renew by October 31 (just use code LOYALTYDISCOCT).

Stay tuned,

My best,

David




Tags:  Certified Management Consultant  CMC  IMC  IMC USA  Loyalty 

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Expanding Your Skills and Knowledge at Confab

Posted By David T. Norman CMC, Thursday, September 15, 2011
Updated: Thursday, September 15, 2011
Some think consulting is just a temporary job.   What creates this perception?  

It’s easy to SAY you’re a consultant.  It’s harder to BE one and to make a living as a professional.  Why do only some consultants succeed at this?  

Consulting is a business.  Treat it like one and your chance of success will increase.   Write a business plan.  Include details about how you will get clients and generate revenue.  Get feedback from experienced consultants.  

IMC USA is the ideal place for this.  Confab, our annual conference is all about learning from, and networking with, other consultants.  

We have added a new program this year, Consultants Consulting Consultants (CCC).  It is a simple concept.  You get a confidential half hour with a senior consultant to discuss whatever you choose.  Show them your business plan.  Ask them how they made their business succeed.  Use the half-hour any way you wish.   

Like everything at Confab, this will be staffed by volunteers – consultants with at least 10 years of consulting experience, and is free to only the first 20 who sign up when they register for Confab.  Seats are filling up fast.   

Mistakes in your business can be costly, so here are a few other sessions to consider:
  • Consulting 101:  20 Lessons Learned in 20 Years of Consulting
  • Client Panel - What Clients Don’t Tell You
  • The Next Decade’s Evolution of the Management Consulting Profession  
For 34 years, Confab has been about consultants helping consultants.  Come and see for yourself, but make sure you register by Oct 1 to save $100.  Go to http://www.confabusa.org/

Stay tuned,

My best,

David

Tags:  CMC  Confab  Confab 2011  Consulting  Management Consulting 

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A Community Calls

Posted By David T. Norman CMC, Monday, September 5, 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 http://www.imcusa.org/?page=ETHICSCODE) 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.

David

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The Nakedness of Sharing

Posted By David T. Norman CMC, Sunday, August 21, 2011
Updated: Monday, August 22, 2011
Confab is a conference unto itself.  Here you will find an affordable gathering, in its fourth decade, organized by a volunteer committee.  Our speakers are also consultants with decades of experience who come to give back to their profession.

Come hear:
  1. Dr. C.J. Rhoads -- Survive to Thrive -- What's Different about Companies that Flourish in Recessions
  2. Jim Horan -- Sell Smart: Sell Successfully -- How to Build a Professional Services Business, Naturally
  3. Jerry Fletcher -- The Trust Equation
  4. Jim Pelly -- Laughter -- The Secret Weapon of Great Consultants
  5. And, many others
Why?
  • Confab is created by consultants for consultants
  • The speakers are committed to giving back to their profession also attend Confab
  • The value for the investment includes meals, cocktails and entertainment
  • Highly relevant content
  • Environment of collaboration
  • Photo directory of participants for post-conference follow-up and friendships
  • Fun and casual, not stuffy or standoffish
Come and learn what you can from IMC USA's only conference.  You will encounter a warm, engaging environment.  Confab is friendly, fun and stress-free.  Learn new skills and techniques, add value to your clients, form alliances that may last a lifetime, revitalized yourself and your practice.

Confab operatives in a totally collaborative, not competitive environment. 

At Confab there is a nakedness of sharing.  Register now at http://www.confabusa.org/

Download the flyer here: http://www.confabusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Confab-Desktop-Print-flyer2.pdf

Stay tuned,

My best,

David

Tags:  CMC  Confab  consult  learning  management consulting 

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True North

Posted By David T. Norman CMC, Sunday, August 7, 2011
My wife, Louise, and I were sitting in the Frankfurt airport heading towards Greece and Turkey for a much-needed vacation. Thomas Freidman's July 21st commentary, A Cultural Revolution, in the Global Edition of The New York Times about Greece's problems caught my interest since we were headed that way.

While the commentary was about Greece's current situation, what captured me was Freidman's opening stance. Quoting, "The globalization of markets and people has intensified in the past five years, with the emergence of social networking, Skype, derivatives, fast wireless connectivity, cheap smart phones and cloud computing.

"When the world is bound together this tightly ... everyone's values and behavior matter more than ever, because they impact so many more people than ever ... We've gone from connected to interconnected to ethically interconnected.

"And it is harder to shield yourself from the other guy's irresponsible behavior ... both he and you had better behave more responsibly -- or both of you will suffer the consequences, whether you did anything wrong or not."

In an earlier post I commented on McKinsey's Managing Director Gupta's situation with accusations of assisting with insider trading for a hedge fund manager. After coming back from vacation, I find this -- on August 5, the SEC dropped its civil administrative proceeding against Gupta, because the commission determined that "it is in the public interest to dismiss these proceeding.”  However, the commission may still pursue insider-trading charges against him in a civil lawsuit.

Yikes! Once again, I reflected on the quandary I'm in as relates to today's societal expectations regarding ethical behavior. It seems to me that ethical behavior is not only is the right thing to do, it is also very easy. IMC USA has a Code of Ethics that guides your behavior as a management consultant and, as a member, you subscribe to it. Align your moral compass with true North; it's easy and it is a differentiator.

So, two questions:

(1) Is Friedman right? Are we all bound tightly, ethically interconnected?

(2) And, if so, why is it, to some, so hard to behave in a manner that you are 'doing the right thing?'

Help me out here. Add your comments to these questions and tell me about YOUR moral, ethical compass? Or, tell me about how your clients appreciate your adherence to a Code of Ethics. Share.

Stay tuned,
My best,
David

Tags:  Code of Ethics  Ethics  Gupta  IMC  McKinsey 

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Communication, Planning and YouTube

Posted By David T. Norman CMC, Monday, July 18, 2011

As I continue to blog things of interest to you as a member of IMC USA, my emphasis is on (1) creating more dialogue among members of the Institute, and (2) discussing interesting 'happenings' within IMC and the profession itself. 

In that regard, I have posted several entries on ethics and the ethics lapses of management consultancies that have become public through the media.  I have also posted several entries on internal efforts of IMC USA, including Confab. (And, watch this space next week, for more information on an exciting offering at Confab.  A tease, what is "CCC"?)

Annually, members of your Board do strategic planning, looking at the current situation and the management consulting environment (you know, the "SWOTs") and developing both an operational plan and a strategic direction for the organization.  This year, our strategic planning was very ably lead by Jim Rodgers, from Atlanta.  Those of you who know Jim won't be surprised that he really challenged and pushed us. 

We took a clean-slate approach to our assessment and it yielded results that were quite thought-provoking -- so much so that I'm now taking this opportunity to share the major conclusions with you, our members, via YouTube.

It's an exciting time for IMC USA and for you as members -- you will see IMC USA further positioned as the thought leader and driver of the standards for the profession and an advocate that speaks for and is of value to consultants and colleagues, to clients and to the profession.  By being a strong advocate for the profession, we raise the visibility and relevance of all our members.

The Standard of Consulting Competency and Ethics since 1968.

See the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjXRnq6w6yE

Stay tuned.

My best,
David

Tags:  Confab  David Norman  IMC  Strategic Planning 

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Just Anyone

Posted By David T. Norman CMC, Monday, June 20, 2011
An article in Sunday's New York Times piqued my interest.  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/19/opinion/19everson.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Lawyers%20and%20Attorneys%20Once%20Put%20Integrity&st=cse, "..it would be prudent to ask whether lawyers and accountants offer the same protection against corporate misconduct that they once did."  While the article was focused on these two professional services group, it caused me to consider, once again, where IMC USA is, especially as relates to our Code of Ethics.

Pondering the importance of being in our organization at this particular time, I woke up, literally, with this 'story.'  Perhaps it will resonate with you.  If not, that's OK, simply humor me.

"Just Anyone ... When your car is not running right or needs service, you can go to a 'shade-tree' mechanic, but why would you when your family's safety and future depends on it?  You wouldn't go to just 'anyone,' you'd go to a mechanic where the quality is known.

"As a manufacturer, your purchasing agent can buy from anyone, but wouldn't you buy from a supplier who meets ISO 9000/9001 quality standards because your product quality, customer relationships and future sales ultimately depend on it?

"Similarly, most anyone can complete a tax return, but why would you trust just 'anyone.'  With the more complex issues, you turn to and trust a certified professional, a CPA.

"With an estimated 500,000 consultants in the U.S. today, you can hire just anyone. You can 'purchase' technical skills from most anywhere, from most anyone.  But why would you depend on just 'anyone,' especially when your organization's health and future depends on it?

"Why wouldn't you chose, instead, for a member of a professional organization, and who is aligned with professionalism, consulting competency and ethics? 

"In other words, not just anyone!"

So, that's my 'story.' I'm proud of it. What's yours? 

And, can you tell this story?  Do you attach a copy of IMC USA Code of Ethics to your proposals?  Do you call attention to it?  I do. 

Recently, I told a prospective client, "You can hire any management consultant you want to, but, you just might want to ask, beforehand, if they subscribe to an enforceable, adjudicatable code of ethics.  Not a company-specific one, but a professional-wide one." 

In fact, ask it of one of your prospects; it'll make them think and make you feel good. 

Thoughts?

Stay tuned.

My best,

David

Tags:  Code of Ethics  CPA  Ethics  IMC USA  lawyers  New York Times 

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