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The 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).


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An Announcement: Disney Area and Save the Date

Posted By David T. Norman FIMC CMC-AF, Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Good evening,
I am extremely excited to share the news of today with you and ask you mark a date on your calendar.

IMC USA's national conference (think, Confab) is going to Orlando this year.  In addition, our conference will be held in conjunction with ICMCI's Annual Meeting and the celebration of their 25th Anniversary.  Here are the highlights:
  • We will be in Orlando, at a Disney property and a new, large, smoke-free facility, Buena Vista Palace.  They have recently done a multimillion dollar extensive upfit.  The venue, itself, is excellent (see for yourself at  You will be across from Downtown Disney (if you want to bring family, for example; there's free shuttle service to all Disney Parks).
  • Your 'peep' have negotiated extremely attractive rates for the duration of the conference ($99/night).
  • Orlando, because it is a destination city, has a broad range of non-stop flights from airports across the country (and, indeed, internationally).
  • We were just notified that ICMCI (International Council of Management Consulting Institutes, our world-wide 'parent') awarded IMC USA their Annual Meeting, which will be held concurrent, and in some combinations, with our conference.  2012 is the 25th Anniversary of ICMCI and, since IMC USA was a founding member this award is especially an honor.
So, what this means to you, as an IMC member, is an enhanced facility/venue, an easily accessible location and at a very attractive 'all-in' price.  A number of the sessions will be held jointly with ICMCI delegates, from around the globe.

More information will be forthcoming, as plans continue to be formalized.

Mark the Following Dates:

Thursday, October 4, 2012 -- Arrival with Late Afternoon Events and Welcome Reception
Friday, October 5, 2012 -- Sessions with a Joint (IMC USA and ICMCI attendees) 25th Anniversary Celebratory Dinner
Saturday, October 6, 2012 -- Sessions and Late Afternoon Closing

Information as relates to hotel and events registrations will follow.  Watch for more announcements.

Getting this accomplished is due to the significant effort and many talents and ideas of a number of folks.  You'll hear more about them later, but now, plan to join with the other many, professional management consultants from around the world.  Learn. Grow.  Participate.  Exchange.  Celebrate.

Stay tuned,

My best,

Tags:  CMC  Conference  ICMCI  IMC  IMC USA 

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Confab and Two New Alliances

Posted By David T. Norman FIMC CMC-AF, Saturday, October 29, 2011
What do the following three things have in common?
  1. Confab
  2. MBA IQ
  3. Evalusys
First, we just completed the 34rd Confab.  Here's what one participant wrote to me about the experience, "...the event was invaluable.  Bring together a variety of consultants from around the nation who covered a wide spectrum of industry fields and consulting techniques enabled me to acquire an incredible amount of knowledge ... this would not have been possible if the participants were not both honest and genuine."  Confab is one additional offering to members of IMC USA.  And, a special thanks to Co-Chairs, Dick Pinsker (who was a founder of Confab, as I was corrected, 33 years ago) and Cherryll Sevy, and the other members of the Confab Committee for a job well done.

Second, one of our two newest alliances is with MBA IQ, which complements our mission and vision.  I am pleased to highlight MBA IQ ( and as a valuable alliance.  Developed by Harvard Business School graduates, the MBA IQ platform is a comprehensive suite of tools enabling individual consultants to 'master the MBA lexicon."  Just as the Myer-Briggs is a personality assessment, the MBA IQ is an assessment for business acumen.  The MBA IQ suite of courses and certifications are designed to assess, quantify and certify the business acumen for your, your team and your clients.  Management consulting is all about know-how, so these tools are offered to you as a way to strengthen your 'know-how.'

Third, the second of our newest alliances is with Evalusys (, which provides a set of online management diagnostic tools for use as an automated 'gap analysis' process.  The Evalusys tool provides a truly sustainable process for attracting and engaging new clients.  In this case, your client responds online to a broad set of carefully crafted questions, producing a discussion document which details opportunities for improvement.  You can review the document with the client and highlight your expertise in addressing business issues.  This can all be done as a billable service, improving cash flow while qualifying clients for additional consulting or coaching support.  Evalusys also provides a free 'Primer' diagnostic for use as a marketing tool and advertising options to help you gain clients. 

What do these three have in common?  Tools to help you, as a consultant, to learn, grow and build your practice.

In my next blog, I will announce a couple more happenings that will help the chapters attract and retain additional members.

Stay tuned.


Tags:  CMC  Confab  Evalusys  IMC USA  MBA IQ 

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Loyalty and Commitment

Posted By David T. Norman FIMC CMC-AF, Monday, September 26, 2011

Loyalty and Commitment

"Actions speak louder than words” is a popular catchphrase for significant gestures of appreciation and very simply, we appreciate you being a member of IMC USA.

Recognizing that our members are our most valuable "clients,” I acknowledge that this tough economy forces all of us to carefully scrutinize all expenditures, even to organizations like ours, and I want to make you an offer as a loyal member of IMC USA.

If you renew your IMC USA membership by September 30, you will receive a 10 percent discount (just enter code LOYALTYDISCSEP on our websites online registration page). It’s our way of saying thanks and also because we really want you to continue as an involved member of your professional organization.

Now, more than ever, leveraging the power of IMC USA might be one of the most important moves you make this year.

Consider some of these benefits you can't get elsewhere:

  1. Being member of a community of like-minded, professional management consultants and the ensuing networking and growth opportunities;
  2. The affiliate programs (from AON for professional liability insurance [more later] to the new, yet unannounced, Evalusys [more later]) which offer to those who take advantage additional tools and savings;
  3. The national conference for professional management consultants, Confab;
  4. Courses and workshops (through The Academy and some chapters) to help you gain knowledge and competencies, especially as you chose to move to the Certified Management Consultant® accreditation; and
  5. The pride of subscribing to a profession-wide Code of Ethics, that governs your work as a consultant to management.

So take the time to renew today and update your member profile on our website. If you aren’t able to renew by September 30, you can still earn a 5 percent discount if you renew by October 31 (just use code LOYALTYDISCOCT).

Stay tuned,

My best,


Tags:  Certified Management Consultant  CMC  IMC  IMC USA  Loyalty 

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Just Anyone

Posted By David T. Norman FIMC CMC-AF, Monday, June 20, 2011
An article in Sunday's New York Times piqued my interest., " 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. 


Stay tuned.

My best,


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

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Am I Preaching to the Choir?

Posted By David T. Norman FIMC CMC-AF, 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 ( for 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,


Tags:  Ethics  IMC USA  Mick James 

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Amorality or Ethics -- the Choice is Yours

Posted By David T. Norman FIMC CMC-AF, 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 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,


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

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What Got Me Here?

Posted By David T. Norman FIMC CMC-AF, Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In the first Message from the Chair Stepping Into the Hot Seat, I set the stage and commented on the whirlwind week I just experienced. But, what got me here in the first place, writing the fourth Message from the Chair?

In 1973, with a year and one-half old MBA, wife and two children, I was employed by a regional bank in management. Cool! Good gig. The trouble was, they found out I wasn’t a banker about a day or so before I found out I wasn’t going to be a banker. Fired, yikes. What now?

Doing a Yellow Pages search (remember Yellow Pages, don’t you?) for my next employment opportunity, I went shopping with my resume (no ‘’ then; just feet on the street) and, finally, was hired by an owner of a boutique management consulting firm. At the time, I knew him as an experienced management consultant who accepted my skill set (finance) but not either my competency or my comportment as a management consultant. Nonetheless, for the next eight years I was with the firm and helped the owner, together with others, grow it and serve some great clients in the Southeast. During my employment there he ‘hammered’ me on consulting competencies and ethics – drilled them into me as only an ex-Naval submariner could do. We traveled together, working with clients together, but mostly he tested and trained me. I was always under his watchful tutelage (err… control). He was, for me at the time, what every neophyte consultant hopes for – a true mentor.

As a result of his training and mentoring, I’ve been a management consultant for the past 38 years, have been a member of IMC USA since the early 80’s and earned my CMC in October, 1988.

What’s the link to now? As I remember, he was not only a founding father of an organization that ultimately was one that morphed into the current IMC USA but also a Certified Management Consultant (CMC). I have remained in our career mostly due to his strength of character and professionalism. Nathaniel Hill, thank you.

My volunteerism at both the Chapter level (Carolinas) and also National (three years on the Board) has been my pay-back to his pay-forward. What a role providence plays!

What’s your story? And, more importantly, what role do you play in the development of the next management consultant?  What's your pay-forward?

Next up, the Leadership Summit. Stay tuned.

My best,


Tags:  CMC  IMC USA 

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