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A photo by Ales Krivec. unsplash.com/photos/HkTMcmlMOUQAs a management consultant, and a volunteer for the profession, I am often asked about management consulting as a profession. My second career has been in management consulting, and I have never regretted for a moment getting into this profession. And it is a profession. But what does it mean to be a management consultant?

Size of Industry

Consultancy UK considers management consulting to have “the aim of improving the effectiveness of their business strategy, organisational performance and operational processes”. But industry specifics are not tracked by this definition, so they consider Strategy, Human Resources and Operations consulting as making up Management Consulting.

According to Consultancy UK in its recently published analysis of the global consulting market, the global size of the management consulting industry is just over US $130 billion dollars. I might argue whether all aspects of Operations consulting fit within Management Consulting, but by any measure, the consulting industry is HUGE, has an average annual growth of 4.3%, and grew by some 5.5% last year alone.

When one adds in the other consultancy areas such as Technology and Financial Advisory’ the total global consulting industry measures over US$ 250 billion.

With those kinds of numbers, there is no question that this industry is bringing value to its clients, but how can this value be assessed?

Certainly, the bottom line for any organization is to add value. If one thinks of an organization as a system, its function is to transform resources (human, capital and other) into outputs that are required by those in the organization’s target market. Those organizations that are the most efficient at this transformation are those that add the most value, and are therefore the most competitive and the most successful.

Management consultants who can help organization to be more effective or more efficient can help increase this value-add.

Of course there are many, many ways to do this. Some can have long-lasting positive impacts on organizations, e.g., introducing a fundamentally better way of doing things. Some can produce short term gains for long term negative results, e.g. extreme or inappropriate de-layering of management.

Making the Right Choice

At a global conference I heard an executive speak about the value of management consulting. His point was a unique one. He said that he and his organization could recover from almost any mistake, such as putting in the wrong business system or an inadequate technology.  But he then elaborated that management consulting is at such a fundamental level, that the wrong advice can kill the organization. So he stressed that he takes supreme care in appointing management consultants.

The right consultant can have a huge impact. The wrong consultant can kill your company.

Well there are ways to help a client make the right choice.

Interestingly for the latest data that I can find, the top 10 firms in the world provide 52% of the services as measured by fees. The other 48% of the market is served by probably hundreds of thousands of firms.

Global Consulting Market - firms - Consulting UK 2

The globe’s largest firms have well-tested methods and systems, sound quality control practices and excellent training programs. A certain level of quality can be assured. They used to say “No-one was ever fired for hiring IBM”. Now it might be “No-one was ever fired for hiring Deloitte” (or PwC or EY or KPMG). Certainly, that is the case to-day. No-one can fault to-day’s large firms for doing a good job at what they do best.

But what about those of you who have a significant problem, or want to pursue a fabulous opportunity, but you aren’t certain your organization is ready. If you aren’t Fortune 500 size you may not be thinking of going to a large firm, but are looking for boutique expertise where you can get a custom solution from senior people working directly with you.

Finding a Management Consultant

How can I find a Management Consultant that I can trust?

How can you be assured that what you see in the proposal is in fact what you will get? If only there were some way to get an assurance that there is a quality of standards by the management consultant you are considering.

Well there is!!!

The Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation is the world’s pre-eminent designation for management consulting. It is awarded through a network of 47 national Institutes and a Global Institute covering the rest of the globe. These national Institutes are coordinated by CMC-Global, which has accountability for monitoring this global standard. As a result, it assures a level of professionalism similar in scope and reliability to Chartered Professional Accountants, Professional Engineers, and similar certifying bodies.

The national Institutes are regularly audited by CMC-Global to ensure each Institute upholds and advances the high standards of the designation. This means that a CMC earned in one country can be recognized and trusted if the professional individual works in another jurisdiction. And in this highly mobile world, a CMC moving from one country to another can transfer their credentials to the new home Institute.

If you are accountable for an organization, and looking to improve some aspect of your organization, insist on a management consultant with the CMC designation.

If you are a management consultant, get this designation. Join the thousands of CMCs around the world and become part of the global community of like-minded individuals.

To finds out more about CMC-Global and the CMC designation, visit CMC-Global’ s website.