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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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#625: When it Comes to Ethics, Life Imitates Art (and Vice Versa)

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, August 5, 2011
Updated: Friday, August 5, 2011
Even with the recent high profile news about management consultants ending up on the wrong side of ethics practices, it seems like the consulting profession is pretty ethical. What do clients think?

This is an interesting supposition that can't be verified or disputed conclusively. A client, when presented with a consultant of theirs that violates ethics laws or practices, is reluctant to go public with it because it taints their selection and management of that consultant. When they engage an exceptionally ethical consultant, this behavior also tends to be closely held.

The lack of fully revealed evidence makes it hard to conclude a general characteristic of the profession other than by anecdotal evidence. However, in my role as IMC USA Ethics Chair, I do get a lot of complaints about unethical consultant behavior. Unfortunately, only those consultants committed to the profession by their membership in IMC USA or being a Certified Management Consultant are subject to independent ethics adjudication. Other consultants must rely on investigation by their own firms (ironically a conflict of interest) in response to ethics complaints.

Tip: Oscar Wilde said that "Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life." As it relates to management consulting, he was a century ahead of his time. On January 8, 2012, the Showtime television network debuts its new series "House of Lies," based on a less than flattering book about the seamy side of the management consulting profession. It will be interesting to see the reaction of the public (and of business) to this series.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  ethics  goodwill  professional association  professionalism  publicity  reputation 

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#513: Association Volunteer Work is a Productive Investment

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, March 2, 2011
I see other members doing a lot of non- compensated volunteer work for our association. Can this type of effort pay off? How do I get involved?

Volunteering almost always pays off in both the short run as well as the long run. You will be amazed at the doors that will open and the opportunities that will arise from such a small investment of your time. Volunteering can provide a convenient way to develop a new skill or sharpen old ones. It gives you an opportunity to work with other talented folks, make new friends and enhance your professional network with additional valuable colleagues. You will also often experience a strong sense of accomplishment and will frequently receive recognition for your efforts. You will feel more a part of your organization, and fulfill your obligation to your profession, than you ever have. In short, volunteering is one of the best investments any consultant can make.

Getting started often begins by simply asking an organization where help is needed (and where your skills might be best applied). Most professional associations are always looking for enthusiastic volunteers.

Tip: Volunteering often provides you with something more important than a direct business payoff. You will learn, grow, and meet many great folks. Remember, though, to always approach your volunteering unselfishly, and always be as positive, productive, and giving as you are able. If you must have a "business case" for volunteering, consider how clients look at a service provider who doesn't think enough of his or her profession to commit time to supporting it.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  networks  professional association  professional development  professionalism 

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#315: Association Memberships

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, May 28, 2010
Updated: Friday, May 28, 2010
I belong to several professional associations, ranging from technical to marketing to industry groups. How do I know which ones are really working for me?

We join professional associations to increase our skills and knowledge, increase our exposure to others in our profession and, ultimately, to increase our ability to practice our chosen discipline. IMC USA describes this as Get Smart, Get Known and Get Business. If your association is helping you with all three, then it is probably a good one for you.

Another issue is the nature of the professional support you get. One example is management consulting, which consists of two distinct parts: the "What" and the "How." You should belong to associations that can help you improve in both areas.

The "What" is your technical discipline and industry perspective, and associations like SHRM, IEEE, ASTD and other technical associations are "musts" to belong to. The "How" complements technical with consulting skills and behaviors, ethics, interpersonal and organizational capabilities, and the opportunity to meet and learn from people in many different technical disciplines.

As cross-disciplinary skills and experience become more important, professionals need places to meet and work with others in different fields. Someone with technical skills without consulting skills (and vice versa) will find it increasingly hard to keep up in the management consulting profession.

Tip: If you are a practicing management consultant and already belong to a technical association, IMC USA invites you to explore membership in the premier professional association and sole certifying body for management consultants in the US. With the coming ISO registration for management consultants (which will be based on the CMC designation awarded by IMCs around the world), greater commitment to yourprofession through associations and professional certification in both technical as well as consulting disciplines become of equal importance.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  career  consulting colleagues  education  learning  professional association  professional development  professionalism  trends  your consulting practice 

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#205: Volunteering for Professional Committees and Boards

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, December 25, 2009
In a previous tip you mentioned getting active in association committees/boards. Frankly, I have found them time consuming and pretty much a waste of time. What am I missing?

Professional association activities can be time consuming. Unless you think this through, it might appear that donating time reduces your earning potential. So why would you give up earning hours to do it? Primarily because, if you are a professional management consultant and not just a treating consulting as just a job, you have an obligation to support your profession. Given your organizational skills, you also have something unique to contribute and can demonstrate that by playing a leadership role in your committee or board activities. By doing so, you get the benefit of added experience in organizational development or governance as well as you will receive the recognition that goes along with it. A few thoughts:
  • Unless you are at the beginning of your consulting career avoid committees that meet often or for long duration and/or where excessive travel is involved. If you are concerned about the time commitment, join those that are primarily virtual and seem to run efficiently and where less frequent/distant travel is required.
  • Join committees where you feel you have a real ability to contribute and whose work supports the advancement of the profession.
  • Contribute in areas where the people you work with can teach you something, connect you with someone, or are people whose capabilities you admire.
Tip: Treat this like you do when evaluating prospective clients. Evaluate how much you will gain in experience, skills, visibility, and contribution to the profession. Talk to those who contribute the most time to their profession. They will tell you that, other than a waste of time, it can be a real advance to their professional capabilities as well as, however indirectly, highly lucrative.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  boards  goodwill  professional association  professional development  your consulting practice 

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