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#195: Using Case Studies to Expand Your Thinking

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, December 11, 2009
I am either "in the groove" or "in a rut" with my consulting, depending on the day. I am really successful at what I do but have been doing it for many years. What are some ideas for exploring other industries or disciplines?

Two ideas come to mind, one about doing and the other about thinking your way to a "new groove." First, talk to colleagues about teaming as a way to experience new areas and types of consulting. Use your industry experience to team with colleagues who bring other disciplines to bear. The combination of, say, your finance skills with a colleague's marketing expertise will expand your perspective and skills in the same industry. A few of these experiences of leveraging your skills can lead to a more interesting consulting practice. Alternatively, work with others with expertise in the same discipline who work in other industries. You may find that your "rut" is really boredom with the same industry, not with your particular discipline.

Second, dedicate some time to working on case studies. These provide a way to quickly take a broader view of different disciplines or industries without working through individual engagements.

Tip: Even if you are not in a rut, pick up a few books with cases studies to go through. Fiona Czerniawska and Paul May's Management Consulting in Practice: A Casebook of International Best Practice provides two dozen short cases, a few in each of human resources, operations, etc. Another source is in The Strategy Process: Concepts, Context and Cases (3rd Edition) provides several strategy related cases of large companies, whose effectiveness you can probably see (the cases are drawn from the 1990's).

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  knowledge assets  learning  professional development  your consulting practice 

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