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#205: Volunteering for Professional Committees and Boards

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, December 25, 2009
In a previous tip you mentioned getting active in association committees/boards. Frankly, I have found them time consuming and pretty much a waste of time. What am I missing?

Professional association activities can be time consuming. Unless you think this through, it might appear that donating time reduces your earning potential. So why would you give up earning hours to do it? Primarily because, if you are a professional management consultant and not just a treating consulting as just a job, you have an obligation to support your profession. Given your organizational skills, you also have something unique to contribute and can demonstrate that by playing a leadership role in your committee or board activities. By doing so, you get the benefit of added experience in organizational development or governance as well as you will receive the recognition that goes along with it. A few thoughts:
  • Unless you are at the beginning of your consulting career avoid committees that meet often or for long duration and/or where excessive travel is involved. If you are concerned about the time commitment, join those that are primarily virtual and seem to run efficiently and where less frequent/distant travel is required.
  • Join committees where you feel you have a real ability to contribute and whose work supports the advancement of the profession.
  • Contribute in areas where the people you work with can teach you something, connect you with someone, or are people whose capabilities you admire.
Tip: Treat this like you do when evaluating prospective clients. Evaluate how much you will gain in experience, skills, visibility, and contribution to the profession. Talk to those who contribute the most time to their profession. They will tell you that, other than a waste of time, it can be a real advance to their professional capabilities as well as, however indirectly, highly lucrative.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  boards  goodwill  professional association  professional development  your consulting practice 

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Comments on this post...

Michael E. Cohen CMC MBA says...
Posted Saturday, December 26, 2009
If you decide to volunteer for a committee or Board, treat it as if it were a clinet assignment. In other words, althouhg your partcipation on the committee/Board may only be 3-4 hours/month, as opposed to 40--60 hours/week ion your regular job, treat them as having equal priority. If making deadlines is important in your consulting work, it should be equally important in your committee or Board activities. If you strive for a qulaity perfromance in your clinet work, you should aim for a qulaity perfromance in your Board/committee work. If you can't do this (and remember we're talking about much much less time overall), you should consider NOT volunteering.
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Shangke Wu says...
Posted Saturday, February 6, 2010
I would love to be able to volunteering for Professional Committees and Boards, it will be valuable experience, and I felt that I have something to offer as well, would it possible to provide any suggestion on where would I start looking for it? Does IMC USA offer such position?

Best regards
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Mark Haas CMC FIMC says...
Posted Saturday, February 6, 2010
Check at
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