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#198: The Need to Refresh Your Consulting Skills

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Keeping up with new practices in consulting is a spotty task. I read lots of books and articles but am not convinced I am keeping up across the board. Any ideas how to do this in a more comprehensive manner?

Congratulations on even asking the question. As we get more experienced as consultants, we tend to consider ourselves thought leaders (at least in our own minds) about our areas of consulting specialty. This is inevitably a self limiting strategy since, as business and management evolve, so do management consulting skills, behaviors and techniques. Even if you are up to date in your area, far too much information and techniques are being generated and discussed for anyone to keep up with in the absence of a plan (or a good network).

For example, recent deep thinking about how the whole approach to business transformation is outdated is required reading for consultants and are found in the 2009 Shift Index. Increasingly, companies involved in risk management are digging deeper into how management needs to address issues like climate change, issues about which consultants need to be better advised (e.g., access to thinking on risk by companies like Marsh, Mercer and Kroll

Tip: Keeping current in subject matter is only half of the issue. We also often overlook keeping our consulting skills up to date. A refresher course from a reputable source is always a good idea, as is staying deeply involved in a network of professional consultants who can refresh your knowledge about emerging consulting topics and practices. Consider Essentials of Management Consulting, a six-week online course to cover core consulting competencies of client service and tools, functions, communication, and change management techniques. Don't feel you are too busy or too knowledgeable to refresh your consulting skills.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  knowledge assets  learning  practice management  professional development  professionalism  your consulting practice 

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