Optimism at the IMC for 1998
1997 has been a busy and successful year for the Institute: while the IMC has been pursuing its future focus and development it has continued to provide its on-going services.
It is now timely to evaluate the successes and progress from 1997 and look forward to the challenges that face the IMC and the profession in 1998.
Increasing globalisation and the merging of large practices make the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) qualification all the more valuable to practising consultants. Certified Management Consultants benefit from a portable, internationally recognised qualification which acts as a measure of quality and standards to those hiring consultants or associates. Those consultants who leave big practices and lose the brand name status take a stamp of approval with them that is an independent, professional endorsement of their consulting skills. IMC believes that this is one of its key offerings to the consultancy community.
During 1997 Paul Brown, IMC professional registrar, has worked extensively on developing the competencies-based assessment process for the CMC.
The IMC president Paul Lynch, a Full Member since 1971, is currently acting as a volunteer in piloting the process by offering himself for re-assessment under the revised procedures. This will be analysed at the next meeting of Council. Piloting of the new assessment process for members completely new to the IMC will take place in the spring. Brown comments: “The main strand of my work, which will be continued in 1998, is raising awareness of the need for a nationally recognised and validated assessment procedure for management consultancy in the UK.”
The detailed work on the assessment procedure is well underway and IMC is receiving positive feedback in terms of gaining validation from an external academic body. The procedure will be launched in the summer of 1998. Consultants come from a variety of backgrounds and this assessment process will be flexible enough to value a wide range of training and experience.
In parallel to this, Brown also stresses the importance of formal consultancy training in consultancy skills and encouraging Continuing Professional Development. “There is a need for formal training in consultancy skills not just gaining on-the-job experience,” he says. To help consultants in this he has spent much of 1997 developing the list of Approved Training Providers and their courses. In 1998 this will be further extended and emphasis on the full regional availability developed. A full list is available on request.
A more inclusive approach to all in the consultancy field is emerging as a result of the Change Programme. One key point has been a change to a “listening culture”. IMC’s stance is that it has something for everyone as an individual consultant or as an organisation. Brown comments: “I am happy to speak to any practice and discuss how IMC could respond to their needs. It could be that they would benefit from being a Recognised Training Practice or joining the group affiliate scheme. No two practices are the same; rather than saying ‘do you fit our criteria?’ we are happy to map onto what the practice is offering and help fill the gaps.”
A further success of 1997 was winning funding from the Department of Trade & Industry for a project to formulate a framework for measuring and evaluating consultancy training and experience which is well underway.
Project manager Jean Garner is working closely with large practices at the moment. The next stage in 1998 will include working with training providers, commercial accreditation providers and will focus on the needs of sole practitioners, small firms and intermediaries working with SMEs.
The IMC Registered Practice scheme continues to grow and more matches are being generated by the Client Support Service. Also, the Registered Practices now have their own Directory and newsletter, NETWORK.
IMC’s Special Interest Groups and Regions ran over 50 events in 1997.
These are run by members for members on subjects of interest to practising consultants and offer an ideal opportunity for networking and CPD. Successful events include: Consultancy at the Ministry of Defence (Public Sector SIG), Re-engineering and saving a major hotel chain (Scottish Region), Year 2000 computing alert (North West Region), Re-engineering the consultant workshop (Change Management) and IT SIG Conference at the Science Museum.
As you can see from the opposite page, 1998 promises to continue this good work.
The change of name to the “Institute of Management Consultancy” currently being proposed by Lynch will be voted on at the 1998 AGM by members.
“This will mark a change in mind – set and emphasis among Institute members and show that IMC has something to offer all those working in and around management consultancy, not just individual consultants,” comments Lynch.
This does not mean that IMC is ignoring its traditional constituency – the sole practitioner or small firm consultant. Quite the contrary; considerable time and resources are being devoted to extending membership benefits to individual members. These will come on-line during 1998.
All members will receive a communique in January to give a more detailed update on the final stage of IMC’s proposed reforms. A series of Regional Roadshows will provide a chance for those with an interest in the IMC to discuss issues with members of IMC’s Council. Non-members will be welcomed to find out more about the IMC and what it can do for them.