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#225: Where Volunteering Really Pays Off for Management Consultants

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, January 22, 2010
Updated: Friday, January 22, 2010
I feel obligated to give back to my community by using my skills as a management advisor. I'd at least like to make sure my time is well spent and my experience is used well.

There are some management consultants who feel no need to contribute their expertise to their communities, so it is gratifying to hear how you feel. The presumption seems to be, "why should I give my time to others when I can get paid for it?" However, doing pro bono or volunteer work does not have to be entirely without benefit. You can "give back" without "giving it away."

One of the most valuable experiences I have had in this regard is to serve as a volunteer Baldrige examiner. For more than 20 years the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Program has served as an exemplar for organizations to reach for best practices in areas ranging from leadership to knowledge management to process management. The awards program is based on applications by public, private and nonprofit organizations and evaluation by volunteer examiners. Panels of examiners from diverse backgrounds spend several days on the equivalent of a "super case study" of the company, discussing and critiquing the organization's performance.

In addition to the valuable service you provide to organizations across the country or in your community, the learning is unparalleled and the contacts are tremendous. Defending your principles of management and observation with hospital administrators, engineers, business executives, management academicians, military officers - all of whom serve as volunteer examiners - is a great insight builder. My seven years as a lead examiner rank among the greatest skill builders in my management consulting career.

Tip: Look into serving as an examiner for the Baldrige national program or a parallel program run by most states (exact same criteria but local organizations). It only takes a week or so per year and you give back and get better at the same time.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  goodwill  innovation  learning  performance improvement  pro bono  professional development  quality 

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