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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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#532: Principles of a Personally Intelligent Consultant

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Clients are pretty clear about wanting specific technical skills and "soft" skills in their consultants. Beyond those "requested" attributes, what else should I focus on for my own development and growth?

Often our clients are judged not only by intellect, training or expertise but also by how well they manage themselves and how well they deal with other people. Personal Intelligence is increasingly important in the success of our clients as well as our own success and satisfaction as consultants.

Kenton Hill, Ed. D., CMC, offers a set of personal intelligence principles as standards to develop personal intelligence, and guide him in his work to recognize, understand, value and apply emotions effectively in his consulting practice.

SELF-AWARENESS: I must be confident in knowing who I am and understanding the impact of my strengths and weaknesses before I can truly be of service to others.

SELF-REGULATION: I have a responsibility to manage my own feelings, thoughts, and actions in a positive way that maintains a genuine high standard of personal integrity.

SELF-MOTIVATION: I have an obligation to develop continuously and apply consistently my personal resources to the ever-changing, increasing demands of my profession.

SOCIAL AWARENESS: I must seek to know, understand, and be sensitive to the feelings, needs, and concerns of all of my constituents, especially those of the people I serve.

RELATIONSHIP BUILDING: I bear the greater responsibility for establishing, nurturing, and where necessary, resolving differences in my interpersonal relationships with colleagues and with the people I serve.

INTERPERSONAL INFLUENCE: I have an obligation to foster desirable responses in others by modeling as well as challenging, inspiring, enabling, and encouraging everyone to work together toward shared goals.

Tip: While sometimes a challenge to successfully apply, these principles are helpful reminders as you strive to provide high quality, professional consulting services to your clients. They were adapted from Smart Isn't Enough: Lessons From A Work Performance Coach, (Xlibris, 2007) by Kenton R. Hill Ed.D., CMC. (

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  consulting skills  guidance  learning  professional development  professionalism  values 

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#480: Regularly Rethink What You Know About Management Theory

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, January 14, 2011
Updated: Friday, January 14, 2011
As a consultant, I find it troubling to see the vigorous debate about fundamental flaws in what we all have assumed are the legitimate bases of management theory. Why isn't the consulting profession leading this discussion instead of staying on the sidelines?

I assume you are talking about Sumantra Ghoshal's 2005 paper Bad Management Theories Are Destroying Good Management Practices, which has been simmering for several years. Ghoshal laid out a cogent argument that the underpinnings of management and, derivatively, management consulting, are based on fundamental flaws in logic that lead to poor management priorities and practices. The consequences are destruction of capital, violations of ethics and perversion of employment practices. The "common wisdom" goals of maximizing shareholder wealth, only managing what can be measured, and characterizing people as self-interested profit maximizers are all unsupported by empirical and theoretical studies, yet we continue to teach them to managers and consultants.

My area of concern is ethical behavior and Ghoshal's premise leads to an unavoidable conclusion that we are seeing the behaviors that we have created by these false management theories. If we tell executives that their job is to maximize income, should we be surprised that financial manipulation to achieve that goal results in dozens of executives being charged with ethics violations and the evaporation of hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth as a consequence? To answer your question about why the consulting profession is not addressing these issues, it is generally not the place of consultants to recreate social or economic theories, although we should be more active in questioning why what we are selling to our clients is not having the effects it should on their performance.

Tip: Read Ghoshal's paper and many of the reactions of management theoreticians, economists, and social scientists over the past few years. It should shake your confidence in your understanding of management theory and the real wisdom of what you likely have been telling your clients about their business. Consider what you have you learned about management and spend some time exploring just how strongly it is supported by theory or facts.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  consultant role  ethics  guidance  intellectual property  management theory  professionalism  recommendations  roles and responsibilities 

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#454: Get Yourself a (Small Apartment) Kitchen Cabinet

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, December 9, 2010
Updated: Thursday, December 9, 2010
I consider myself a disciplined professional but my New Year's resolutions for my business last year didn't get as much traction as I had hoped. What can I do to get back on track and execute these well?

This is a common problem, even among those of us who consider ourselves experienced professionals. Consider two aspects of what may well be a complex problem.

First, recall what your "plan" looks like. Did you write it down? Really? All of us have general ideas of what we expect to accompish in the next year. Fewer of us have written down specific near-term objectives and tied them to our overall business goals. Still fewer have explicitly linked those objectives with clear strategies and action plans. Find a middle ground, Plans that are too vague (or not written down) or too specific (the complex ten-page business plan for a small firm) are hard to execute.

Second, some perspective and external discipline is always valuable. Many business books recommend convening a "Kitchen Cabinet" of your accountant, lawyer, banker, financial advisor, and several others in similar consulting practice areas as you. Defining, convening and sustaining such an effort is often so difficult, however logical, that few ever do it. The objective is to get points of view different from yours, not points of view from everyone who could weigh in. The concept is good, but think in terms of a very small kitchen.

Tip: Identify two people who know you and your business. Ask them to look over your (1-2 page) plan and offer you some comments and suggestions. Ask them whether they think you have forgotten something or overlooked an opportunity. Finally, ask them if they would be willing to meet with you over lunch (your treat) in six months and at year end to go over your progress.  You may find that this provides to discipline you need to (1) get your objectives and strategies into simple terms, and (2) provide you with someone else, however informally, to look over your shoulder and help keep you on track.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  advice  guidance  learning  planning  practice management  your consulting practice 

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#447: Find a Way to Support the Consulting Profession

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Perhaps you've had a very successful and prosperous year. Are you aware of a less fortunate colleague who struggled in 2010?

Management consulting can be an extremely rewarding way to make a living. It can be a challenging one, as well. Although they might have many success stories to share, an experienced and accomplished consultant will also be able to relay a tale of when times were pretty tough and the outlook was bleak. Many were able to transcend these challenging periods through the assistance of others.

As IMC USA members, we often leverage the assistance and expertise of our fellow members in order to gain advice, knowledge and insight, and build collaborative alliances.

Helping a fellow consultant in need can take many forms: offering referrals, providing key introductions, identifying an opportunity, sharing a resource, assisting with a challenging task or even simply offering to provide a meal, a sympathetic ear, and some good advice.

Tip: Try to identify one fellow consulting colleague that has experienced a challenging year and could use your help. How might you be able to provide some needed assistance without the risk of offending or embarrassing them? All of these can strengthen your relationships as well as the profession.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  coaching  consulting colleagues  goodwill  guidance 

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#432: Even Expert Consultants Need Mentors

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Coaching has been getting high marks from successful executives for several years. I've been very successful in my consulting career and just don't see any benefit in it for me. What am I missing, if anything?

There are two issues here. First, would someone as accomplished as you benefit from a coach or mentor? As good as we think we are in a particular discipline, we can see things from only one perspective. All of us go to a spouse, colleague or friend for a second opinion on many issues. Why wouldn't we do the same on our profession? Tiger Woods, inarguably the top golfer in the world, has at least one golf coach to help him tweak or completely rebuild his swing. Just because you are good doesn't mean you can't improve.

Second, what kind of coach or mentor is best for you? Would you best benefit from a consulting mentor, perhaps a senior colleague whose professionalism and experience you admire? Would a life coach, whose expertise integrates your attitudes, skills and approach to your profession and life, provide a more sustained beneficial change? Or maybe a coach known for developing your capability in a specific discipline such as marketing, public speaking or negotiation?

Tip: Just because you are a good consultant doesn't mean you can self-diagnose where a coach would best help. Take your own best advice (leave diagnosis to the experts) and spend some time with a coach or two to see in what areas you could most benefit.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  guidance  performance improvement  professional development  your consulting practice 

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