I have a good network in IMC, through which I get and give a stream of engagements from my consulting colleagues. What other types of networks could I tap?
Networks come in all types and sizes, and they are valuable for more than just getting consulting work. Management consulting addresses complex issues that encompass political, economic, cultural, legal, demographic, sociological, and environmental factors. None of us has the experience or perspective to know how to address each of these factors in our work.
This is where a diverse set of networks can help. Just as diversity on a team brings a richer solution for your client, diversity in the type of networks you are connected to improve your effectiveness as a consultant. Tip:
Select and commit to participate actively in, say, three types of networks. Your first should be your professional association related to your technical discipline or industry (e.g., International Widget Makers, IMC, and ASTD). The second should be a local business group (e.g., chamber of commerce, board of trade). The third can be a social or service organization unrelated to your consulting focus (e.g., Rotary, educational, musical, and athletic). Each group brings you in contact with different types of individuals and organizations. Their way of seeing the world as well as their breadth of contacts are both beneficial to your skills and behaviors as a consultant and to broadening your sources of clientele. © 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA