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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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#636: Increase Diversity in Your Practice - Even if You Are a Solo Practitioner

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, August 22, 2011
Updated: Monday, August 22, 2011
Diversity consulting seems to be a big deal these days. Is this something I should add to my Organizational Development practice even if I am not a minority?

There are four aspects of your response that warrant comment. First, it is rarely a productive strategy to get into a consulting market just because it is hot. Entering a new market should be because it fulfills an important aspect of your existing strategy. Otherwise you are chasing butterflies.

Second, you refer to your ethnicity as an issue that might preclude your effectiveness in this service. Diversity consulting is often associated primarily with ethnicity because this has been the subject of regulation and high-visibility academic research. However, the essence of diversity includes culture, age, gender, etc. as well. While your own background contributes to your perspective, not being a cultural or ethnic minority does not preclude your being an effective diversity consultant.

Third, diversity management as a strategy is a big deal because organizations are finally realizing how powerful a strategic advantage it can be. Diversity has always had tremendous power; it has just not been applied as much as it could have been.

Finally, the value of diversity is not just for your clients. It can apply to your own practice, even if you are a solo practitioner. Every experience that exposes you to new people, places, cultures, even consulting practices, gives you a broader and richer perspective on which to draw.

Tip: Make strategic diversity of your own practice an element in your next strategic planning initiative. Bring in as advisors other consultants and clients who can look at your strategy from a different angle. Then include in your professional development plan activities that expose you to an appreciation of new ways of looking at, and seeing, a more diverse world.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  customer understanding  demographics  diversity  values  your consulting practice 

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#514: Get Critical Business Skills From Gaming

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, March 3, 2011
Updated: Thursday, March 3, 2011
Generation X and Y have their own approach to work that includes a task orientation, a focus on results and an eagerness for change. These sound like skills that companies value in consultants. Will Gen X and Y workers inherently make good consultants?

Businesses highly value consultants who can "see the big picture," are adaptable, and are enthusiastic about managing change. Gen X and Y, with the same perspectives, do seem like they would make great consultants. But why?

One aspect of this approach is the pervasive impact of video games. John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas write, in The Gamer Disposition in Harvard Business Review's Breakthrough Ideas for 2008, that online multiplayer games create the exact skills most desired in today's knowledge workers. These are:
  • They are bottom-line orientation
  • They understand the power of diversity
  • They thrive on change
  • They see learning as fun
  • They marinate on the "edge"
Seely and Brown see these individuals as learning (from these complex, adaptive, interactive systems) a range of skills such as flexibility, resourcefulness, meritocracy focus, and innovativeness. If you are looking for consultants, think about Gen X and Y candidates.

Tip: To develop your skills in systems thinking, adaptability, cooperation, decision making, innovation and stress management, think about participating in role playing and other interactive games.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  demographics  innovation  learning  professional development  teaching/training  trends 

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#283: Do You Really Understand Other Generations?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Updated: Thursday, April 15, 2010
As consultants, we are supposed to be able to quickly assess various business environments, understand cultural and technological trends and, in general, be able to see how others see the world. Intellectually, this may make sense, but can a person really understand fully the perspective of another generation?

Here's a test. Watch any of the following four short videos: Wheter you are a Baby Boomer, Greatest Generation or GenXer, think about how hard it would be to convey the social or personal significance of these events, activities or icons to someone of another generation. You could tell them what it was like but would they really feel it the same way you do when you watched these videos? If you are not one of these generations, show these to someone who is and let them try explain it to you.

In either case, you will begin to appreciate how truly distinct the culture of each generation is at the most basic level. We would do well to remember this the next time we assume we "get" a different culture, age group, or technical discipline.

Tip: As another treat, watch When Life Was Black and White. Send any comments you have to Connector@imcusa.org.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  business culture  customer understanding  demographics  trends 

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