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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 

#541: How Well Does the Design of Your Meetings Produce Ideas?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, April 11, 2011
Updated: Monday, April 11, 2011
Most of my client work and briefing sessions are well-scripted and produce the intended outcomes but are not very productive at generating new ideas.

The one word on which to focus to induce creativity is "design." I infer that you have set up the right process to generate the work products you intend. However, if you want to assemble the right conditions for creativity, take a cue from Steven Johnson's work (and book) on "Where Ideas Come From."

Johnson's premise is that new ideas bubble up over time and as a result of connecting together partially formed ideas. If ideas are protected, isolated, and pressured to "produce results," they are effectively stripped of their creative potential. Ideas, like living organisms, grow best under optimal conditions and often don't do well when forced. In many cases, what we are told are blinding flashes of inspiration are, in reality, ideas that have been percolating for years.

Tip: You would find more idea generation, evolution and maturation from connecting people with ideas often and encouraging them to bring their thoughts, without pressure to produce, to address common challenges. Don't try to force creativity into the same sessions in which your goal is to plan work, document progress and report results.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  collaboration  communication  consulting process  creativity  innovation  knowledge assets  learning  market research  product development 

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#535: Make Audience Time Your Public Speaking Research Time

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, April 1, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 1, 2011
I am an experienced consultant wanting to do more public speaking. I see hundreds of books on the topic but most seem to address the same simplistic style and format issues. Where would I find "advanced" public speaking sources?

If you already do some speaking and recognize a good speaker when you see one, then you have all the resources you need right in front of you when you are in the audience. For the past several years, I take two set of notes when I listen to the speaker. On one sheet of paper I jot down points the speaker makes or ideas stimulated by the topic. My other sheet of paper is a list of good, and bad, features of the speaker, environment and presentation.

I have collected a lot of ideas. Some seemed great at the time but are not my style. Others were headed for the wastebasket but, on a second review, I held on to them for use in particular circumstances. The trick is to compile tips and tricks in some sense of structure. I now use a sheet of paper with categories on it: speaker movement, opening (first minute), introduction, visual aids, audience engagement, audience reaction, handouts, audience preparation, presumed audience knowledge (beyond readaheads), follow up (e.g., asking for business cards from audience), pacing of talk and modulation of voice, use of humor, etc.

After a few years, I am developing a few "styles" that both suit me and work as a package. One caution is to not throw a bunch of good ideas together and expect them to work as a package - some speaker styles just won't work with others. Finally, this has to be something you get to gradually, and should be based on good speakers. Feel free to note particularly ineffective speaker techniques.

Tip: Foremost, these techniques should be built on top of your own personality, style and speaking topics. Use your research as an audience member to refine your own core speaking approach, not build one from scratch.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  communication  innovation  learning  speaking 

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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. (www.KenHillKRH.com).

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  consulting skills  guidance  learning  professional development  professionalism  values 

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#526: Make Sure Your "New" Skills are Relevant to Client Needs

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, March 21, 2011
Updated: Monday, March 21, 2011
I worry that my skills are not keeping up with the pace of business and management. My consulting business is good, but when I see the list of emerging management techniques, there are a lot that I don't know anything about. How do I get back up to speed?

We can be lulled into a false sense of security by a steady stream of clients asking for our services. However, client appreciation of what we provide is not the true test of value. It is whether we are providing what our clients need.

When was the last time you took a real inventory of your skills and services? I know, I know, you are too busy chopping down the next tree to stop and sharpen the axe. But how do you really know whether or not your services are in line with where business and management are going?

One way is to take advantage of research and surveys of what executives think are the most useful (or at least the most popular) management tools. You might look lists such as those published by Bain Consulting, who conducts an annual survey of which techniques are growing or declining in importance. Are your services at the "in" or the "out" end of the list?

Tip: You will find Bain's 2009 survey of Global Management Tools and Trends quite insightful. Are your emerging skills the same as those most in demand by your clients?

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  consulting skills  knowledge assets  learning  professional development  trends  your consulting practice 

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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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