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Don Matheson, IMC USA Chair & CEO, periodically reports on the state of the Institute, including new benefits to members, strategic affiliations with other organizations, business issues affecting the consulting profession, member accomplishments, chapter activities, and activities of the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI). Institute news can be found in the "News and Media" section of this site.

 

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And the answer is....

Posted By David T. Norman CMC-A, Sunday, February 17, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 17, 2013

And, the answer is....

In my previous blog, I announced that Grow!, our international conference, was going to Las Vegas.  With all the contractual bits and pieces behind us now, I can announce that we will be at the Mirage in Las Vegas on October 20 - 22, 2013.

While the past Grow! was successful, a number of our loyal members suggested that Orlando (last year's location) wasn't convenient enough, especially for the West Coast -- a more central location was preferred.  Consequently, the team looked for a venue more accessible for all and due to the 'all-in' cost, including looking at non-stop flights (see previous blog), Las Vegas was selected.  The Mirage has come forward with the most attractive proposal.  (See http://www.mirage.com).

The registration link will be live by week's end and the savings, for registering now, will be around $300.

Our team is busy signing up nationally known speakers so you can expect to see more information shortly -- but, please, accept that this conference, once again, promises to be better than the previous one -- conference for management consultants to come and be part of a great profession.

 Stay tuned,

My best,
David

Tags:  Certified Management Consultant  CMC  consulting  Ethics  Grow!  IMC USA  Management Consulting 

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Acquiring New Members

Posted By David T. Norman CMC-A, Wednesday, August 15, 2012

 A membership organzation's lifeblood is its existing members; its future and sustainability is in attracting other professionals into the organization -- members helping members.  Several weeks ago, I blogged here about our Strategic Planning session and the six initiatives and promised to further break them down.  [Note: the delay in this posting is due to a much deserved vacation with my wife.  There are some things you just don't do on a vacation and blogging is one of them.] 

 Member Acquisition:

 When consultants join IMC USA, they find a community of consultants who value excellence and ethics.  They also find a place where they can gain visibility, learn how to grow their business, collaborate with peers, learn new consulting skills, further develop professionalism and find mentors.

 Our chapters have been the 'go-to-place' for members to experience the benefits of belonging to IMC USA.  This fall our chapters will be providing opportunities to learn about the value of our community.  Some of our key initiatives include (1) expanding proven events that showcase the talents and professionalism of our members, (2) clarifying and explaining the WIIFM for prospective members, and (3) providing financial incentives for membership growth to both chapters and to members who refer candidates for membership  These, and other initiatives give every chapter member an opportunity to get involved and build your chapter network.  [Note: if you are interested in bringing one, or more, new members into you chapter, contact your chapter leadership, or Loraine Huchler for more information.]

Not all our members are affiliated with chapters, some 50% are 'at-large.'  Do you want to connect with other peer members?  IMC USA has virtual communities on our website (see http://www.imcusa.org/?page=COMMPRACT) that serve as community interest groups, bringing members together around a common set of issues, e.g., Disciplines, Industries, Management Theme, Client Type, Consulting Firm type, and Practice Management.  [Note: I would encourage all members (including the reader), both at-large and within chapters, to join at least one virtual community, start a conversation or raise an issue, and join forces with another member; build a community one brick at a time.]

 In other Member Acquisition areas, we will be leveraging social media (particularly LinkedIn) and continuing our dialogue with small/boutique consulting firms.

 IMC USA is the only national professional association for consultants and the only organization that certifies management consultants (and the only one who certifies according to ISO standards).  Join us, help us build the 'go-to-place' for consultants and clients.

 In future blogs, I will address other strategic initiatives. 

One another matter, often we hear, "I didn't know that..." or words to that effect.  So, at a risk of 'over-communicating,' a time-critical reminder....

.... Time is running out.  Reservations for Grow! continue to increase and we are now to a point where our reserved room block at the Buena Vista Palace is 82% full.  Further, you only have about two more weeks to reserve your rooms at our incredible $99/night rate; after that, normal rates apply.  Take this time to book your room and register for Grow!  [Note: you have to do both, separately.]  Look over the brochure one more time (see http://www.imcusa.org/?GROW_Intro), check out the quality of the speakers/workshops, join your peers, and learn and Grow!.  Grow! is an enhanced Confab, a conference for professional consultants and, this year, includes a truly international participation.

 Stay tuned,

 My best,

David

Tags:  Certified Management Consultant  CMC  Ethics  IMC  IMC USA  Management consultant  Professionalism 

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True North

Posted By David T. Norman CMC-A, Sunday, August 7, 2011
My wife, Louise, and I were sitting in the Frankfurt airport heading towards Greece and Turkey for a much-needed vacation. Thomas Freidman's July 21st commentary, A Cultural Revolution, in the Global Edition of The New York Times about Greece's problems caught my interest since we were headed that way.

While the commentary was about Greece's current situation, what captured me was Freidman's opening stance. Quoting, "The globalization of markets and people has intensified in the past five years, with the emergence of social networking, Skype, derivatives, fast wireless connectivity, cheap smart phones and cloud computing.

"When the world is bound together this tightly ... everyone's values and behavior matter more than ever, because they impact so many more people than ever ... We've gone from connected to interconnected to ethically interconnected.

"And it is harder to shield yourself from the other guy's irresponsible behavior ... both he and you had better behave more responsibly -- or both of you will suffer the consequences, whether you did anything wrong or not."

In an earlier post I commented on McKinsey's Managing Director Gupta's situation with accusations of assisting with insider trading for a hedge fund manager. After coming back from vacation, I find this -- on August 5, the SEC dropped its civil administrative proceeding against Gupta, because the commission determined that "it is in the public interest to dismiss these proceeding.”  However, the commission may still pursue insider-trading charges against him in a civil lawsuit.

Yikes! Once again, I reflected on the quandary I'm in as relates to today's societal expectations regarding ethical behavior. It seems to me that ethical behavior is not only is the right thing to do, it is also very easy. IMC USA has a Code of Ethics that guides your behavior as a management consultant and, as a member, you subscribe to it. Align your moral compass with true North; it's easy and it is a differentiator.

So, two questions:

(1) Is Friedman right? Are we all bound tightly, ethically interconnected?

(2) And, if so, why is it, to some, so hard to behave in a manner that you are 'doing the right thing?'

Help me out here. Add your comments to these questions and tell me about YOUR moral, ethical compass? Or, tell me about how your clients appreciate your adherence to a Code of Ethics. Share.

Stay tuned,
My best,
David

Tags:  Code of Ethics  Ethics  Gupta  IMC  McKinsey 

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Just Anyone

Posted By David T. Norman CMC-A, Monday, June 20, 2011
An article in Sunday's New York Times piqued my interest.  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/19/opinion/19everson.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Lawyers%20and%20Attorneys%20Once%20Put%20Integrity&st=cse, "..it would be prudent to ask whether lawyers and accountants offer the same protection against corporate misconduct that they once did."  While the article was focused on these two professional services group, it caused me to consider, once again, where IMC USA is, especially as relates to our Code of Ethics.

Pondering the importance of being in our organization at this particular time, I woke up, literally, with this 'story.'  Perhaps it will resonate with you.  If not, that's OK, simply humor me.

"Just Anyone ... When your car is not running right or needs service, you can go to a 'shade-tree' mechanic, but why would you when your family's safety and future depends on it?  You wouldn't go to just 'anyone,' you'd go to a mechanic where the quality is known.

"As a manufacturer, your purchasing agent can buy from anyone, but wouldn't you buy from a supplier who meets ISO 9000/9001 quality standards because your product quality, customer relationships and future sales ultimately depend on it?

"Similarly, most anyone can complete a tax return, but why would you trust just 'anyone.'  With the more complex issues, you turn to and trust a certified professional, a CPA.

"With an estimated 500,000 consultants in the U.S. today, you can hire just anyone. You can 'purchase' technical skills from most anywhere, from most anyone.  But why would you depend on just 'anyone,' especially when your organization's health and future depends on it?

"Why wouldn't you chose, instead, for a member of a professional organization, and who is aligned with professionalism, consulting competency and ethics? 

"In other words, not just anyone!"

So, that's my 'story.' I'm proud of it. What's yours? 

And, can you tell this story?  Do you attach a copy of IMC USA Code of Ethics to your proposals?  Do you call attention to it?  I do. 

Recently, I told a prospective client, "You can hire any management consultant you want to, but, you just might want to ask, beforehand, if they subscribe to an enforceable, adjudicatable code of ethics.  Not a company-specific one, but a professional-wide one." 

In fact, ask it of one of your prospects; it'll make them think and make you feel good. 

Thoughts?

Stay tuned.

My best,

David

Tags:  Code of Ethics  CPA  Ethics  IMC USA  lawyers  New York Times 

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Ethics and An Update

Posted By David T. Norman CMC-A, Thursday, June 2, 2011
Two quick things for an update.

Ethics

Mick James is a reporter for http://www.consultant-news.com.  I mentioned him in an earlier blog.  In his current entry http://www.consultant-news.com/article_display.aspx?p=adp&id=7904, James takes on consultancy ethics lapses, this time with the assistance of our own, Mark Haas, Chair of IMC USA's Ethics Committee.  It's an interesting read and is consistent with much of what I've been saying in Message from the Chair. 

Certified Management Consultant -- The Words

After at least a ten-year effort, started by Jerry Savin and others a decade ago, IMC USA just received noitce that the words, Certified Management Consultant, are now a registered mark.
Excerpting from the notice from the United States Patent and Trademark Office  (Reg. No. 3,964,134 if you are interested), "The mark consists of standard characters without claim to any particular font, style, size or color .... The certification mark, as used by authorized persons, certifies that the person has met the certification requirements of the Institute of Management Consultants USA, Inc. and the international standards of the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes as to experience, references, and ethics, by satisfactorily completing examinations relating to professional competence and current knowledge in the field of management consulting."

[Note: a quick way to insert the registered mark is to hold down the ALT key and type 0174 on the keypad!]

So, now when you use both the CMC® and the words, Certified Management Consultant®, you can rapidly add the mark at the end.  And, please do so.

Stay tuned,

My best,

David

 

Tags:  Certified Management Consultant  CMC  Consultant-News.com  Ethics  Mark Haas  Mick James  Trademark 

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Am I Preaching to the Choir?

Posted By David T. Norman CMC-A, Thursday, May 26, 2011
Over the last three days I received a number of missives regarding my past Message From the Chair, Amorality or Ethics – The Choice is Yours (May 22). 

Two in particular stand out; both are from people I trust.  One said, paraphrasing, "stop wasting time on blogging,” yet the other said, ".. keep blogging and telling the story.”  Ah, what to do?

The answer seems easy – in deference to the first trusted individual, part of leadership’s role is to be a spokesperson for the organization, and, accordingly, I’ll keep telling IMC USA’s story.  It’s a good story to tell, particularly in today’s business environment when ethics lapses in our industry make the mainstream press.

On May 25, Mick James wrote an article (http://www.consultant-news.com/article_display.aspx?p=adp&id=7876) for Consultant-News.com entitled, "Can We Trust Our Consultants?” in which he also used McKinsey & Co.’s Gupta situation to raise the question of "outside validation” in a very well worded article.  Quoting excerpts from Mick James:

"I believe this sort of exercise [DTN Note: using IMC (Britain) Code of Ethics to discuss ethics dilemmas], and particularly the reference to some sort of external structure, is vital. You don’t really need a very sophisticated moral compass to tell you what’s going on when someone stuffs a brown paper envelope full of cash in your pocket and you hand over an illicitly copied file. But you do need to be able to tell your clients and the world at large in very explicit terms that you run an organisation where not only is unethical behaviour not tolerated, but that the sort of self-questioning and education that underpins good practice is actively encouraged."

"Just like statements of corporate social responsibility and environmental concern, this sort of claim increasingly requires outside validation. Many consultancy firms have values statements that go far beyond anything any professional body could require of an industry as a whole. But on their own they are frankly as useful as a note from your mum saying you’re the handsomest boy in the school. …

"Subjecting yourself to external rules and constraints goes against the grain for consultants: they like to do their own thing, because they always believe they can do it better. But now that a cloud hangs over the industry, more needs to be done. Consultancy doesn’t need to be leaned up, but it needs to be seen to be clean: ironically, we can only assure others that we will respect their confidentiality if we are more transparent ourselves.”

Our tagline is Setting the Standard in Excellence and Ethics in Consulting and its impact is not to be underestimated.  I strongly believe that the greater business environment, unconsciously and perhaps unknowingly, is in great need of a front-runner in consulting excellence and ethics – the external validation (with external adjudication) that James wrote about.  Your association is uniquely positioned -- no one other than IMC USA owns this space, in fact, we are an association of professional, competent and ethical consultants; we all subscribe to the same code of ethics -- something to be proud of, I think.  In addition, we are the sole certifying body of management consultants in the U.S. and are an ISO/IEC accrediting body.

Am I preaching to the choir?  And, is Mick James doing the same?  I can’t speak for him, but I can say that, first, we have moved this Message from the Chair in front of the members-only firewall, and, second, that so far there are some 4,300 RSS feeds.  I don’t feel I am speaking only to IMC USA members; rather, there’s a larger audience perhaps listening in.   And, pass it on to others who may want to have Jame's "outside validation" of adherence to a Code of Ethics.

Stay tuned,

My best,

David

Tags:  Consultant-News.com  Ethics  IMC USA  Mick James 

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Amorality or Ethics -- the Choice is Yours

Posted By David T. Norman CMC-A, Sunday, May 22, 2011
Is the Industry at the Intersection of Amorality and Ethics?

First, the dilemma. An associate and a friend chided me about posting too often to the Message From the Chair out of concern for over-populating your inbox with announcements of the most current post. I took the concern to heart and vowed to not post as often.

Well, until there was a confluence to two events: (1) hearing our guest speaker, Jenny Sutton, at the recent Leadership Summit, and (2) Consulting Magazine's current review in Book It! of Extract Value from Consultants, the new book by Sutton and her husband, Gordon Perchthold.  [Note: I referred to the book in my previous blog.]. The review of the book took a Q&A format and several of the authors' responses struck me. Excerpting just one for this Message From the Chair:

"Consulting: Do you think the consulting profession has lost its way over the past few decades, either from an ethical standpoint or a performance standpoint? It's certainly taken its share of black eyes."

"Perchthold: First of all, you called it a profession and it's not a profession, actually. It had aspirations of being a profession at one point, but it never got there. It doesn't support an industry certification of basic competence. So, it's moved from an industry with aspirations of being a profession to being a glorified packaged marketing machine."

[DTN Note: The authors are primarily addressing the larger firms who left IMC USA a couple decades ago to promote their own 'brands.' Further, the authors' contention is that the larger firms are more concerned with their big-name brand, their 'leveraging' staff (e.g., pyramid scheme) and pushing their own services than 'solving client problems.']

Further, there's the http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/gupta-defied-mckinsey-before-sec-action/2011/05/17/AFUGck8G_story.html in The Washington Post, May 17, 2011, about Rajat Gupta and the SEC administrative order against him -- which alleges that Gupta, while Managing Director of McKinsey & Co., provided inside information to hedge fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam, "the central figure in the biggest crackdown on insider trading in U.S. history." Yikes; the Managing Director of one of the most venerable consulting firms facing what appears to be a major breach of ethics.

So, go with me:
  • Imagine a 'Wild-West' world, if you will, where nothing matters but the current revenue and near-term bookings; a world where the firms, in the words of Perchthold and Sutton, ".. are coming to clients and almost inventing problems to solve and sell."
  • Imagine the impact of potentially failed projects (and some real) and the resulting litigation and the tarnished reputations.
  • Imagine the money being paid to defend the accusations and to publicly repair reputations.

Imagine? You don't have to do so; it's real and it's happening now.

But, it doesn't have to be.

At the intersection of amorality, "Wild-West" practices, and Ethics one is faced with a choice -- do I do what is good and right, or do I make the decision that is counter? The choice, at least to our members, is not only real but also easy.

We are the sole certifying body for management consultants and, pertinently, the certification is based on consulting competencies and ethics. Check out our competency framework if you wish to learn more about consulting competencies. And, check out our tagline -- Setting the Standard in Excellence and Ethics in Consulting. And, to add a great measure of credibility, your organization is now an ISO/IEC 17024 accrediting body. (Subject of a future Message From The Chair.)

Our members are part of a self-regulated body, who each subscribe to our Code of Ethics, and voluntarily submit to ethics adjudication. Accordingly, I am proud of each of you -- the professional management consultants who do believe in excellence, consulting competence and ethics.

Then imagine, if you will, a business world, where all professional management consultants, whether in large firms, mid-sized boutique firms, or solo practitioners, subscribe to a voluntary Code of Ethics -- the same Code of Ethics, that if adhered to, would have helped a number of the firms self-absorbed by their brand avoid some of the current legal problems and tarnished reputations.

And, if you are a buyer of consulting services, why not ask if your consultant subscribes and adheres to an industry-wide Code of Ethics? What's the harm in asking; the answer may surprise you.

Alignment with and support of a self-regulating Code of Ethics will actually enhance your professional reputation and brand. Try it; you'll like it.

Stay tuned,

My best,

David

Tags:  CMC  Ethics  IMC USA  Management Consulting  McKinsey & Co.  The Washington Post 

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How Do You Deal With Discomfort?

Posted By David T. Norman CMC-A, Sunday, May 15, 2011
Commenting on my previous blog which discussed ethics, http://www.imcusa.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=327070&post=125582&#comments, Jennifer Leake, a fellow CMC from the Southeast, raised a thought-provoking question.

First, as background, her comment was about how (and I'm paraphrasing her) consultants when they get together invariably share stories of their work with clients and, all too often, share the client's name and, perhaps, even references to the problem. Jennifer said, appropriately, that such sharing made her 'uncomfortable' and then asked, "How can one tactfully share this discomfort with a fellow consultant?"

She has, once again, caused me to think about our Code of Ethics. Take again #5.0, as quoted in the previous Message From the Chair, and excerpting, " ... I will treat appropriately all confidential client information that is not public knowledge, take reasonable steps to prevent it from access by unauthorized people ... "

My personal take on this is simply not to share private information. Since becoming a CMC in 1988, I have taken an easy stance on this -- I don't share. Take (my much dated) website, for example, I have no client names, logos or anything identifiable listed. I do have testimonials, but not only do I have their permission but also the client names have been simplified (for example, Steve B) with only a generic industry name. This practice allows me to tell prospects that I will also keep our relationship confidential. But, that's the way I deal with the public side of confidentiality. With that being said, I know some of my peers will post client names, logos, and testimonials with written permission.

But, that didn't address Jennifer's question: "How can one tactfully share this discomfort with a fellow consultant?" I have my ways (e.g., I'm pretty upfront with them), but let's ask our members to help Jennifer, and, indeed, all of us in IMC USA.

So, here's the scenario -- you are in a meeting (such as a Chapter meeting) with other fellow consultants and one begins to address a client problem he/she is working on and, in the process, is using personal names, situations, and problems in quite some detail You become uncomfortable as you listen.

Comment, please, on 'how you would tactfully share this discomfort with a fellow consultant?' Let's create a conversation folks (and let's not make it a discussion on the Code of Ethics language or intent, rather about answering this other important question). Stay tuned, My best, David

Tags:  Code of Ethics  confidentiality  Ethics 

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