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#80: Management Consulting Certification as a Competitive Edge

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, June 26, 2009
After 40 years in consulting, I am seeing some significant changes in the way clients evaluate and select consultants. As large firms shed partners into boutique startups and demand for specialization increases, firm pedigree is losing power in exchange for individual certifications and registrations. Where is the CMC in all this?

For several decades the Certified Management Consultant (CMC®) designated the individual management consultant's skills, experience, client satisfaction, technical competence, consulting skills and behaviors and adherence to a high standard of professional conduct. While it was recognized to a varied degree in the market, it did represent the international standard for management consulting in over 40 countries with large consulting markets. With the increasing need for quality standards has come a closer look at both the technical qualifications of the individual consultant as well as the behaviors and skills in the process of consulting.

The impending specification for certification of management consultants in Europe is moving into its final phases, and ISO 17024 certification of consultants is close behind. Even large consulting firms are looking to find some competitive edge as they emerge from the recession in the US. Suddenly an internationally standard certification of consulting excellence and ethics that enjoys reciprocity in a global market has caught the interest of firms who want to stand out. The CMC is emerging as an increasingly important differentiator and the firm with the majority of its consultants certified is recognized as a collective mark of excellence and market value.

Tip: Consider the client looking to hire a consulting firm. Which would you find more attractive, the firm recommended by a colleague staffed by people you didn't know much about, or the firm who had publicly committed to international standards of excellence and ethics, most of whose consultants had met those certification standards tied to the management consulting competency framework? If the pace of new CMCs China plans to put into the marketplace is any indication, certification will be a key differentiator. Whether a large firm or small, the CMC® provides a competitive edge.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  brand  client relations  competition  customer understanding  ethics  marketing  professionalism  prospect  quality  reputation  trends 

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