Arkady Prigozhin, president of the NICMC (Russia)
Our professional community was organized first in 1976, in Soviet Union times. Of course, it wasn’t possible to have any professional association without special permission of the Communist Party. That’s why we’ve used one legal opportunity: we organized the section in the frame of the Soviet Sociological Association. Officially we were called as sociologists if organizations. And from the very beginning we’ve decided to have two conferences per year. When we’ve got opportunity in 1991 to establish independent organization we’ve united our colleagues in the Association of Management and Organization Development Consultants (AMODC). It was just a professional club. Members haven’t have any obligations, they haven’t paid membership fee. Nevertheless twice a year we had Conferences of consultants (or those who called as consultants themselves). The main task was to exchange by new knowledge, elaborations, experiences, achievements etc.
In 1992 we’ve established the School for Management Consultants (SMC) in Moscow. It’s working still. The program of SMC includes 540 auditorium hours (six sessions within 10 months). During intervals students should make practical works in their client organizations. We’ve got the right to graduate them with state diploma of management consultants. Majority of our graduates became participants of the AMODC. In this way we’ve integrated the center grope of professionals.
In 2001 we decided to enter to the ICMCI. Peter Sorensen visited us and suggested to reorganize AMODC into National Institute with stronger structure in accordance with requests of the ICMC. Peter was a real father of our Institute. We are very thankful to his friendly and wise support. It was three of us who were certified in 2003. And it was a beginning of our activity in new quality.
Now we have more or less full infrastructure of the mature professional community:
a) School for Management Consultants,
b) Several textbooks prepared on the Russian domestic materials (description of our own consulting practice) and translated foreign books,
c) The National Institute that is well-known in Russia and other post-soviet countries,
d) The magazine “Management Consultant” which has started in this February (3000 copies). We plan to publish six numbers more during this year. (For Russian readers our magazine site is http.www.procmc.ru). It’s just our commercial project without any financial support.
Nevertheless we have 32 certified and 12 associated members. There is a paradox: so great country and so modest membership! The reason is in the contradiction between increasing number of members and their quality, professionalism. From the very beginning we’ve set substantial qualification barrier and decided to follow several principals:
- Certification should be open and public at our Conferences,
- Only skilled professionals are welcomed,
- Every member should participate in Conferences and be active in our community.
As a result we have comparatively small Institute. We have to develop it in coming future using system of the four levels of membership: member of the community, provisional member, associated member and full member. Using this stairway of membership we plan to increase membership soon.
Structure of Conferences
Majority of national institutes has the same obstacle: domestic consultants do not understand what for they should join the institute. There is a problem to motivate them to be united in any form. In Russia we’ve put forward the idea to exchange of our capacities. If you have an idea and I have an idea and we’ll give it to each other, everybody will get two ideas. Are we competitors? Yes, to some extent. But nevertheless modern market knows such event – competitive cooperation. Many times entrepreneurs have to unite their capacities, money, marketing, information etc. for to achieve common goals. This is the reason we design our Conferences targeting this advantage of cooperation. Normally our Conferences have four parts:
I. Discussion of new tendencies in the national economy. For this point we usually invite external distinguished experts. Then we share with our personal observations on the same subject taking into account our different experiences and data.
II. Public certifications of applicants. Each of them should describe their marketing, methodological peculiarities and achievements using special cases.
III. Sharing with new consulting elaborations. Everyone who wants tests his (her) know-how’s looking for advices of colleagues.
IV. Work in sections. Participants divide into problem groups specialized in the narrow area of consultancy.
Every Conference takes three days in winter and in summer. This form of communication is very useful for professional development of participants.
Conferences are open for nonmembers of the Institute. Our well known colleagues Peter Sorensen (Denmark) and Barry Curnow (the UK) took part in such events and appreciated them.