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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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#677: Is Consulting All You Do?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, October 18, 2011
My consulting career is going pretty well, with a full book of business and a growing staff. It does occupy a lot of time and there are times when I feel like I am giving up on other experiences. Does a successful consulting practice preclude other activities?

Consulting can be time consuming, but doesn't have to overwhelm other aspects of your professional life. In its traditional form, consulting involves building relationships, developing professional skills and technology, and applying them through time spent solving problems. As a professional who brings together experience, skills and perspective, it doesn't have to all be time intensive one-on-one consultation with a client.

There is a range of opportunities to use your expertise in other ways:
  1. Writing - Take on a column, blog, book, white paper, etc. to bring new perspective to your practice, build your visibility and create some lasting value from your expertise.
  2. Speaking - At any level, speak to trade associations, business or consulting conferences, or to community groups about topics related to your area of expertise.
  3. Research - Conduct some data collection, surveys, analysis or other approach to generating new information about your area of expertise or interest.
  4. Volunteering - Give back to your community by offering your management and consulting skills to local nonprofit organizations.
  5. Productizing - Turn your expertise into tangible products such as book or DVD "how to" guides.
  6. Starting Another Business - There is no reason why you can't extend your work into non-consulting businesses related to your area of expertise, as long as you manage conflicts of interest.
  7. Partnering With Other People - Find individuals with whom you have not worked before and who you respect to develop new partnerships with, getting out of your comfort zone and perhaps a new way of practicing your consulting.
Any of these approaches is a way to freshen your consulting business and develop some new perspectives outside of the traditional day to day advice business.

Tip: Perhaps overlooked by many consultants are hobbies. Consider ways to pursue your passion in areas totally outside of consulting. For example, if you are a process consultant, you might enjoy furniture making, where details, procedures and materials combine just as in process reengineering but to produce a tangible object. If you thrive on platform speaking, maybe you could lend your passion to teach acting or storytelling. There are lots of examples but each hobby or other pursuit allows you to use or utilize your skills and interests in something other than consulting.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  coaching  community service  mentor  pro bono  publishing  teaching  teaching/training  work-life balance  your consulting practice 

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#496: Teaching Seminars Has Multiple Benefits

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, February 7, 2011
Updated: Monday, February 7, 2011
I'd like to teach a seminar in order to gain some additional experience and to get publicity for my practice. I have some previous public speaking experience. How do I seek out opportunities to do this?

Before you begin actively seeking out opportunities, make sure you have a clear idea of the kind of seminars you might want to teach and what value you intend to get from doing so. Start by making a list, from basic to advanced, of the subjects you want to present and the benefits you hope to accrue. Also, recognize that you are going to have to put in many hours of preparation. A good rule of thumb is somewhere between 5 to 10 hours of preparation for every one teaching hour (depending on how fast you work, how skilled you are, what you already know and what knowledge you will need to obtain).

To find opportunities, try your industry association, other associations, local universities, junior colleges, etc. Identify those individuals who teach the same or similar seminars. Contact whoever is currently offering the kinds of programs (or those offering programs related to what) you want to teach. Check the industry journals in your field, various association websites/monthly calendars, and even with your clients.

Tip: To really test the market, talk to colleagues you think might want to attend your seminar. What sources do they pursue when advancing their education? Finally, remember that teaching of any kind requires you to really learn the material, so even if your goal is to get publicity, you end up honing your skills.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  learning  pro bono  speaking 

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#225: Where Volunteering Really Pays Off for Management Consultants

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, January 22, 2010
Updated: Friday, January 22, 2010
I feel obligated to give back to my community by using my skills as a management advisor. I'd at least like to make sure my time is well spent and my experience is used well.

There are some management consultants who feel no need to contribute their expertise to their communities, so it is gratifying to hear how you feel. The presumption seems to be, "why should I give my time to others when I can get paid for it?" However, doing pro bono or volunteer work does not have to be entirely without benefit. You can "give back" without "giving it away."

One of the most valuable experiences I have had in this regard is to serve as a volunteer Baldrige examiner. For more than 20 years the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Program has served as an exemplar for organizations to reach for best practices in areas ranging from leadership to knowledge management to process management. The awards program is based on applications by public, private and nonprofit organizations and evaluation by volunteer examiners. Panels of examiners from diverse backgrounds spend several days on the equivalent of a "super case study" of the company, discussing and critiquing the organization's performance.

In addition to the valuable service you provide to organizations across the country or in your community, the learning is unparalleled and the contacts are tremendous. Defending your principles of management and observation with hospital administrators, engineers, business executives, management academicians, military officers - all of whom serve as volunteer examiners - is a great insight builder. My seven years as a lead examiner rank among the greatest skill builders in my management consulting career.

Tip: Look into serving as an examiner for the Baldrige national program or a parallel program run by most states (exact same criteria but local organizations). It only takes a week or so per year and you give back and get better at the same time.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  goodwill  innovation  learning  performance improvement  pro bono  professional development  quality 

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