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#285: Experience is Not the Same as Skill

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, April 16, 2010
Updated: Friday, April 16, 2010
I get concerned when I hear people say, "After I retire, I think I'll do a little consulting." They seem to think that just because they have years of experience in a technology or industry, this somehow qualifies them to just wake up one day and start advising management. Am I wrong in feeling this way?

Management consulting is an unlicensed occupation, thus has low barriers to entry. However, it is still a profession requiring specific standards, a body of knowledge, competencies, skills, behaviors, and ethics. Too many organizations find out the hard way that hiring someone who "does a little consulting" is vastly different than hiring a professional consultant.

Much of consulting's bad reputation comes from individuals who portray themselves as professionals but lack the skills, behaviors or discipline required. Experience is not the same as skill.

Having experience in an area has little to do with one's ability to advise management in that area. It is like saying, "I raised three children over the past twenty years - I think I'll do a little pediatrics." Such a statement is laughable, and you wouldn't trust your child to someone who made that claim. So why would you trust your company to someone who isn't certified?

To assure expertise and skills, we recommend using only those professionals who are certified or licensed by a national or international body. Examples include Professional Engineers (PE), medical doctors (MD), Certified Public Accountants (CPA), and Certified Management Consultants (CMC). All of these professionals prove a long term commitment to the profession and meet or exceed rigorous professional standards. This should give clients the assurance that they are "in good hands."

With ISO 17024 standards for management consultants on the horizon, it is becoming apparent to more managers that professional standards are a preferred way to select consultants. As the international standard for management consultants, recognized in 46 countries, the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation is becoming the global standard for managers to find trusted, proven and ethical professional consultants.

Tip: The next time someone says that they "do a little engineering (or medicine or consulting)," make sure they are certified or licensed. Learn more about the CMC or forward this to colleagues interested in becoming certified consultants.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  brand management  certification  consultant role  customer understanding  ethics  knowledge assets  professional development  professionalism  reputation  your consulting practice 

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