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#176: What is On Your Reading List?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, November 16, 2009
Updated: Monday, November 16, 2009
Of course there is never enough time to read everything I want to. I subscribe to book summaries and newsletters and skim online journals. How else can I manage my reading?

There are three issues here: what, how much and when. First is what to read. I would suggest management consultants split their time between content related to their discipline/industry and the process of consulting. Pick one or two newsletters about the former and stick with them, but don't try to survey every source you come across. Trust newsletter editors to do their job and provide a representative sample of material. Content about the consulting skills and behaviors is best gained from books about the consulting profession and processes.

Second is how much to read. Set aside a fixed amount of time to read each week, preferably at a fixed time. This will help you feel like you are getting something done without feeling like you never get enough read. Keeping this appointment with yourself is as important to your professional development and value to clients as your direct client service.

Finally is when to read. This depends on the intersection of how complex your reading is and when you are at your best for reading. For many, reading at the end of the day is a way to separate from the business of the day and be able to read without the pressure of imminent consulting work. Alternatively, getting to the news of the day first thing in the morning, before the day starts suits some better. Or, store up your material and read it once a week or once a month.

Tip: Consider "outsourcing" your reading. Get together a group of consultants and divide up some reading of common interest. For example, one of you could cover management journals, another national business magazines and still another consulting industry news. Share what you have learned with each other as needed.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  knowledge assets  learning  professional development 

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