Is the CMC qualification vital to consultants and clients?

“To establish itself as a credible profession, it needs to beast month, we asked for your opinions. We now present you with excerpts of some of the responses we received. transparent.

Official independent qualifications will make clear what minimum standards need to be achieved and will provide customers/users with a safe knowledge of choice and expectations. Questions need to be asked of those who wish not to be assessed.”

K H Lim, BA (Hons) ACCA

“I am of the opinion that more effort should be made to have the independent, international qualifications recognised by the opinion leaders in the major donor organisations – World Bank, European Union (Phare and Tacis programmes), DFID, ERBD etc. I am involved in much work evaluating tenders for technical assistance consultancy and a recognised consultancy qualification would make the evaluation of proposed experts much more reliable and easier.

Candidates who are, for example, lawyers or accountants in their country are usually recognised as being professionals by members of selection committees but there is little knowledge of what makes a professional consultant.”

Alan Eames, PhD, MIMC, CMC, Adviser EU Phare, Bratislava

“In my view, a qualification is about making a statement: ‘This is the profession I belong to and I have invested in myself to get here.’

Once obtained, through some effort, it is more likely that qualification holders will continue to invest in themselves through CPD including participating in professional networks. This seems a good thing.

I also believe that qualifications contribute to raising industry and professional standards over time. For example, the Institute of Personnel and Development appear to be gradually establishing MIPD as a ‘must have’.

It now appears a lot harder to get this qualification.”

Anne Tunnicliffe, FIMC FCMC

“In theory such qualifications should be needed in professions with a recognised body of knowledge and where some guarantee of competence is looked for by clients.

It’s different in practice. As a long-standing MIMC and FIMC, I can say neither qualification has made one iota of difference to my career prospects or customers. At present such qualifications principally benefit those practitioners in closed-shop professions. More liberal and potentially lethal trades such as electricians, airline pilots and teachers, and their customers, manage well without.”

Geoff Bush, director, International Marketing & Economic Services (UK)

“I have never been asked about my CSE, ‘O’ levels, ‘A’ levels, degree, my IPD qualifications or membership of the IMC – ever, by any client or any employer.

Good consultants make money and get referrals, bad ones don’t and wither away. Think of all the things clients get us to do to make them happy – useful stuff, time wasting stuff, stuff we have experience in, stuff we didn’t want to do but they insisted. Which of those would a qualification cover I wonder?

Code of practice – yes. Register of client satisfaction – yes. Accredited practice scheme – yes (and I must get around to that when I’m not so in demand). Complaint scheme to weed out the idiots and cheats – yes. Qualifications – No.

Most professional bodies seem to try and boost their members’ ego by introducing the notion that professionalism and qualification are the same thing. They are not. Qualification systems are usually just complicated, redundant, administrative processes – if you’ll pardon the acronym.

The best management consultancy is a mix of confidence trickery and evangelical spiritualism; hopefully with the best interests of the client in mind …”

Mike Poole, Midwinter Consulting

“No. On the other hand, why not? If I can get my fellow consultants to slow down and follow a set of rules, hmmm … Maybe when they join the professional association and chase paper qualifications they will regard the recognition of their fellow consultants as being more important than the satisfaction of clients. After all, the punters do not know just how difficult the job can be, other consultants understand the problems and can sympathise.

This should leave the market open for a select group of fast-acting consultants, able to produce non-standard, innovative ideas, solutions which are mould-breaking and pull the client’s enterprise well ahead of their competitors.

We want a plumber to provide a standard, unexciting solution to a simple problem while a consultant has to think. If there were a standard method, tested, documented and ratified by a CMC rubber-stamp then anyone could provide it. Teach it at GCSE, why not? ‘English, Maths, History and Strategic Management’ – sounds good to me.”

Kenneth Watson, CMG

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