Promotion of the CMC in South Africa
Being a founder member of the ICMCI, South Africa can be categorised as a mature but small institute. As everyone knows, Management Consulting is not a regulated profession in most countries around the world. This is the case in South Africa too. But… something is changing; The IMCSA has received numerous complaints about the quality of management consultants in many cases and the inability to take action against incompetent and unethical management consultants.
We have pointed out that the option of mediation, arbitration and removal from membership is and always has been an option available to clients. Of course, what they do not always want to hear is that the process is fair to all parties and that the findings may go against the client or find mutual responsibility in both parties, as has happened in the past.
For this to be effective however; industry stakeholders must participate in a common structure and the most logical option is the IMCSA.
We have done many things to promote the value and importance of the IMCSA over many years and the interesting thing is that our efforts are starting to bear fruit. I will mention a few key examples:
- The World Bank contacted us for a view on the state of the nation regarding management consulting in Sub Saharan Africa. We had an hour long discussion and agreed the following;
- There is insufficient funded research into the real statistics behind the profession, although the IMCSA is often requested to do such research for free. Simple economics dictate that this is not possible and the net is to be spread wider.
- The local governments are looking to academics for their advice and the World Bank has advised them to look further and engage with a broader range of suppliers, including CMCs.
- The World Bank would look into endorsing the use of CMC for projects which they funded.
- The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) of South Africa has engaged the services of the IMCSA to conduct “capacitation” activities for their panel of consultants, including certification over a three year period. The IDC has now issued a letter indicating preference for the use of certified professionals. The IDC has also attracted the buy in of a number of other developmental financiers who deal with the SMME sectors.
- The Government Technology Advisory Centre (GTAC) has shown interest in utilising CMCs from the IMCSA to participate in the monitoring and evaluation processes plus the selection and certification of consultants as a result of our 10 year consistent engagement with them- we are finally breaking ground in this area!
- The Botswana National Productivity Centre (BNPC) has engaged the services of ProfWeb (An IMCSA registered training practice) to train its internal consultants in professional management consulting and most have since become members of the IMCSA.
- The Zimbabwean National Institute for Consulting (ZNIC) has entered into an agreement with the IMCSA to assist with its path to provisional ICMCI membership by having a joint launch and presentation in Harare. In addition, two of the council members have been certified by qualified assessors in South Africa and the next phase is the certification of 5 more CMCs and the simultaneous capacitation of 2 assessors in Zimbabwe.
- IMCSA has been working closely with the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) for a number of years to run consulting career evenings and more recently the first annual consulting conference, which was well attended by the who’s who of the consulting industry and other key stakeholders. The IMCSA president, Angelo Kehayas co designed the conference with the GIBS conference coordinator and the conference was formally evaluated as excellent and relevant by all participants. The concepts of the IMCSA and ICMCI were strongly promoted. See the presentations on Slideshare: Presentation 1 and Presentation 2.
In addition, a specialised workshop on the procurement, monitoring and evaluation of consulting services was held for a smaller group of key stakeholders. A summary of this day long workshop was presented at the International Consulting Conference in Korea. This document may be found on Slide share, click here.
- The IMCSA is currently in the process of co delivering an MBA elective in management consulting with GIBS. The proof lies in the uptake and interest shown by some 250 MBA students. Should the uptake be sufficient, this elective will run for the first time in 2015.
- The IMCSA has been working on a “master coach” migration model for CMCs for a number of years. The concept paper was presented in Jordan in 2010 and has since been developed further to the point where it is ready for launch. The CMC competencies were comprehensively mapped against most of the major coaching frameworks, including the ICF, EMCC, IAC, WABC, COMENSA and ECF. The results were eye opening, in that the CMC framework is only lacking in two areas, namely the coaching process and learning and psychological theories. This documentation and process is set for release by the end of 2014 and should result in a large uptake of membership. Interest in this process has been shown by the College of Applied Psychology, giving the mature students a firm certification path.
- The IMCSA has been working with a limited number of firms to enhance the value it supplies to them, be it in training or specialised interventions which add specific value to the firms, aligned with local legislation. We have been working with Accenture South Africa in this regard for 5 years and they have been a committed partner to the IMCSA. We have also engaged with smaller firms to conduct professional training which they cannot obtain elsewhere. This is both a challenge and an opportunity for IMCs worldwide, because this addresses a real need for the firm and the profession as a whole.
- The IMCSA has established Facebook and LinkedIn pages to promote the profession as a whole but takes every opportunity to promote the benefits of certification. We have taken an inclusive view of influencing a broader audience than just our members and this has been paying dividends over the last few years.
- Public courses; even though the uptake on public (as opposed to in-house ) courses has been slow, we continue to advertise and run a consulting training course every quarter, promoting the value of certification in each case. We believe that consistency of communication is vital. The message has to be re-inforced.
In conclusion, we believe that consistency and frequency of communication about the value of the CMC certification is beginning to pay dividends. The question we need to keep answering is “what’s in it for me”. Without answering this, we will not attract any new CMCs, beside the truly altruistic ones.
By promoting the value to key stakeholders and making ourselves available to every marketing opportunity, be it conference, keynote address, workshop, career evening etc, we are getting to the top of the mind of these stakeholders. Our total strategy is a “pull” and not a “push”, because the latter has clearly failed.
We rely heavily on volunteer effort and salute those who have kept up the good work for so many years!
The IMC Share Zone section is intended to share truly leading edge practices amongst IMC’s so all IMC’s can benefit from each other’s’ ideas and experiences to improve the work they do. Engaging members and potential members in a Professional Association is not an easy thing to do these days!
So, send us information and pictures of your leading practices: email@example.com.
Remember, the idea is to share your learning of successes (or failures) so we all can adapt to your country-specific uniqueness. Ensure your submissions explain how it was accomplished, what partners (if any) were engaged, and any tangible/measurable results you achieved.