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Chair's Letter

Wednesday, July 27, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gail McCauley
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Welcome to Summer. Here in the Carolinas the hot, sticky summer reaches its frenzy as both temperatures and humidity remain in the high 90's, which can be wilting. You try to convince yourself that you are used to it, but I've learned that doesn't work very well.

Nonetheless, we progress. At the Leadership Summit in May we discussed building communities at IMC which is important to engagement and growth, both personal and institutional. The discussion evolved into the use of a health club analogy.

Juan Mendez initialized our thinking, Mike Sarlitto crystallized it and the participants in the Leadership Summit accepted the health club analogy as a fitting description of where IMC USA is located. "People pay for the privilege of engaging in painful, difficult and challenging physical exertion" at a health club. But why?

There are three main reasons:

1. Access -- at a good health club you have access to expertise, tools and equipment, opportunities (programs, events), safety, training and cross-training.

2. Community -- Participants and staff alike provide encouragement, experience (lessons learned), like-minded people and network.

3. Results -- You gain strength, endurance, longer life, accomplishment, lower residual issues, and happiness.

There are folks who walk into a health club thinking that by their mere presence they will be transformed, or at least through some minimal effort. All the right equipment and challenging staff will not transform an unwilling participant. Simply paying dues will not make them buff, so to speak. And, in the face of disappointment, they look to another health club for the magic transformation.

You've all seen this happen -- someone, because they pay their dues feel entitled to results, yet don't put in the time and effort to create the results they want. You know, however, that a participant has to be engaged, to be committed to learn and put in the effort, and to be an active participant to see the results you want.

Now is the time because the future looks different from the past. The past several years have not been kind to professional service providers. Each of us have stories that are too close to us. Businesses lost, careers lost, and hope abandoned. If that's not enough, there have been shifts in the consulting marketplace, particularly with buyers of consulting services.

Jenny Sutton, coauthor of Extract Value from Consultants whom I spoke about in an earlier blog shared with Leadership Summit participants some of the shifts. The short list (not inclusive) includes these shifts:

Prior to the 1980s

Part of a profession
Brain power Bodies
Respond to client needs
Solve client problems
Unique approach
Temporary relationship

Post late 1990s

Branding and advertising
Proactively sell products
Follow methodologies/plan
Borrow, reuse, share deliverables
On-going, continuous

So, not only have the economic forces been difficult, but the marketplace itself is undergoing some tectonic shifts.

And, all the while, the reputation of consulting is eroding through the publication of many books and potential damaging court cases against consultancies.

Our tagline is Setting the Standard in Excellence and Ethics in Consulting and it's impact on me, and indeed on your leadership, is not to be underestimated.

I strongly believe that the greater business environment, unconsciously and perhaps unknowingly, is in great need of a front-runner in consulting excellence and ethics. Your association is uniquely positioned -- no one other than IMC USA owns this space, in fact, we are an association of professional, competent and ethical consultants; we all ascribe to the same code of ethics -- something to be proud of, I think.

So, the parallel exists, I believe, in this analogy to IMC USA. After many years of effort, we have the right equipment, programs, and training for you. We have communities (chapters, online, virtual) where you can learn the lessons of those who have preceded you and we have places where meet with like-minded peers. Get engaged, work out and see the results you wish for; it won't happen without that engagement and effort.

This is an incredible time, perhaps a Gladwell 'tipping point' time, for us to exert leadership. Stay tuned.