I belong to several professional associations, ranging from technical to marketing to industry groups. How do I know which ones are really working for me?
We join professional associations to increase our skills and knowledge, increase our exposure to others in our profession and, ultimately, to increase our ability to practice our chosen discipline. IMC USA describes this as Get Smart, Get Known and Get Business. If your association is helping you with all three, then it is probably a good one for you.
Another issue is the nature of the professional support you get. One example is management consulting, which consists of two distinct parts: the "What" and the "How." You should belong to associations that can help you improve in both areas.
The "What" is your technical discipline and industry perspective, and associations like SHRM, IEEE, ASTD and other technical associations are "musts" to belong to. The "How" complements technical with consulting skills and behaviors, ethics, interpersonal and organizational capabilities, and the opportunity to meet and learn from people in many different technical disciplines.
As cross-disciplinary skills and experience become more important, professionals need places to meet and work with others in different fields. Someone with technical skills without consulting skills (and vice versa) will find it increasingly hard to keep up in the management consulting profession. Tip:
If you are a practicing management consultant and already belong to a technical association, IMC USA invites you to explore membership in the premier professional association and sole certifying body for management consultants in the US. With the coming ISO registration for management consultants (which will be based on the CMC designation awarded by IMCs around the world), greater commitment to yourprofession through associations and professional certification in both technical as well as consulting disciplines become of equal importance. © 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA