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Between 2005 and 2011, IMC published Daily Tips every weekday on consulting ethics, marketing, service delivery and practice management. You may search more than 800 tips on this website using keywords in "Search all posts" or clicking on a tag in the Top Tags list to return all tips with that specific tag. Comment on individual tips (members and registered guests) or use the Contact Us form above to contact Mark Haas CMC, FIMC, Daily Tips author/editor. Daily Tips are being compiled into several volumes and will be available through IMC USA and Mark Haas.

 

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Top tags: client relations  communication  customer understanding  your consulting practice  marketing  consultant role  learning  client service  reputation  goodwill  consulting process  market research  practice management  sales  ethics  planning  client development  engagement management  innovation  proposals  professional development  professionalism  knowledge assets  prospect  trends  presentations  recommendations  consulting colleagues  intellectual property  product development 

#521: Leverage Your Strengths

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, March 14, 2011
Updated: Monday, March 14, 2011
Are you using your greatest strengths, attributes, and qualities in your work?

If you wanted to become a professional athlete, early on in your quest you would pick the sport to focus your efforts on based on your strengths and attributes. Your speed, agility, physical strength, coordination, size, etc. would all play into your decision and you (or the coach) would pick which position you would be best- suited to play. If you wanted to be successful, you would play strategically to leverage those strengths and attributes. You are (or desire to be) a professional management consultant. Are you playing to strategically leverage your strengths? Are making the most of your experiences, skills, passions, and abilities?

Tip: Take stock of your strengths and best attributes/qualities. List each of them and ask yourself if you are doing everything you can to leverage them in your practice (and life, in general).

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  career  consulting skills  practice management  your consulting practice 

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#520: Creativity Can Remake Even the Most a Troublesome Image

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, March 11, 2011
Updated: Friday, March 11, 2011
For all the efforts we make as consultants to present ourselves in as good a light as possible, sometimes we just have to step back and applaud some who turn adversity into a strength.

You may remember the job wanted ad Brian O'Dea placed in the Toronto Financial Post in February 2001 by a man who wanted to transform his experience as a drug smuggler into a portfolio of experience worthy of a respectable job.

The ad generated a flurry of job offers from companies who were looking for skills, not pedigree or marquee firm history. What does this tell you about how to market your experience?

Tip: What is there about your experience (let's presume it is not criminal, but apparently even that is not off the table), that you can repurpose as a strength?

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  communication  marketing  reputation  sales 

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#519: Know the Difference Between Anecdotes vs Evidence

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, March 10, 2011
Updated: Friday, March 11, 2011
There are times when it is hard to convince a client of what I see as facts when I present results of my due diligence, research or findings of investigation of their organization or markets. I think I am a good communicator so don't think it is my presentation skills or style. Why isn't this straightforward?

Let's assume for a moment that your presentation skills are effective. There are certain ways that we process information and make decisions that can make it hard for us to see what others consider the "right" information and make the "right" decisions.

There is an adage that says "it is impossible for logic to displace conclusions arrived at by emotion." Sometimes people arrive at a conclusion based on a feeling and no amount of evidence to the contrary will change their mind. Consider the polls that show a nontrivial percentage of US adults believe that Presidential Barack Obama is a "secret Muslim," despite no evidence to support that conclusion. Likewise, your clients may be believing something so strongly that it will be hard for you to convince them otherwise, no matter how much proof you show them.

It might help to have a better understanding of this phenomenon, both for your consulting work as well as to help you better understand how your own information processing/decision making may be compromised. A Scientific American article How Anecdotal Evidence Can Undermine Scientific Results explains the evolutionary preference of false positives (believing a correlation between two independent items where none exists) and the danger of false negatives.

Tip: Talk to your client before your engagement, or at least before you present your findings, about how information will be presented, what constitutes compelling evidence for or against a particular conclusion, and how decisions will be made about actions to take. Recognizing that the use of your findings and recommendations are the province of the client, this approach will minimize your possible frustration at how your results are interpreted.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  communication  customer understanding 

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#518: You Don't Have to Go Back To School to Get a Business Education

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, March 9, 2011
I am an OD consultant and it seems that my clients increasingly want me to explain how my services tie to finance, operations, strategy and the bottom line. I am a little embarassed that I am not more conversant in these areas but that is not my expertise. Why should I know a lot about them?

Let's assume your client is right that you should know how your services link to other parts of the organization. As the client, she is absolutely right; as a consultant to management, you should be constantly looking for a better understanding of how each part of the organization fits together. But you are where you are - what can you do about it?

I'll share with you a book that is a terrific education in business and management and can get you quickly up to speed. Whether you have an MBA or need to know some of what is taught there, this book is a great resource. The MBA author concluded that the essence of two years of business school could be summed up in ten quick courses on marketing, accounting, organizational behavior, quantitative analysis, finance, operations and a few others.

Tip: I have a lot of books on managerial finance, marketing and other deep resources, but thirty years out of school, one book, The Ten Day MBA, is one of the one's I go to for a quick refresher of the basics. I highly recommend it (apparently many agree, given that it is in the top 10 Amazon business education books). It is just enough to help you know what you know and don't know.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  learning  management theory  professional development 

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#517: Sizing Up Your Client

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, March 8, 2011
When starting a new engagement, we often rush to apply our "proven" consulting and analytical processes without considering to what extent the perspectives of our client (or the whole organization) are amenable to such processes.

Recognizing that good results means effective implementation, we tend to think in terms of how our process will be implemented. But we start at a disadvantage if we ignore the client's receptiveness to hearing what we are offering. Each client differs in their ability and attitude to be open to working with a consultant. We would be wise to acknowledge our approach that is so effective with one client may not be so with another.

Consider why these differences might occur. Is your client an analytical type or a "go with the gut" type? Are they approaching change from an offensive (going for potential improvement) or defensive (preventing loss) posture? Are they overwhelmed with day to day details or able to spend time in collaboration? Is their personal life weighing on their ability to focus on company matters? What are the critical factors that could affect how well your consulting services will be received?

Tip: Think back over your consulting engagements over the years and begin to define the types of client you had and how the engagement proceeded. Develop an assessment process to characterize each new client as the engagement starts. Identify what kinds of variations of approach are needed to make sure your service delivery methods are attuned to the attitudes, abilities and personalities of your client. You'll find that attending to who the client manager is will affect your ability to deliver services in a more effective manner.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  consulting process  customer understanding  learning  market research  planning 

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