Management consulting is a high-quality profession that has played a huge role in the success of the UK’s businesses, organisations and government – and this week it finally got the award it deserves.
CMI has partnered with the Management Consultancies Association (MCA) to officially launch the Chartered Management Consultant Award (ChMC). Already, more than 370 individual consultants have achieved Chartered status with another 1,500 currently on the journey.
For our latest Better Managers Briefing, I spoke with Tamzen Isacsson, a CMI Chartered Companion and chief executive of the MCA, who has been a real driving force in making this award a reality. I asked her to explain the benefits this new Chartered award is going to bring.
Benefiting individuals, firms and clients
Management consultants work with around 10,000 clients across the UK, making this new ChMC award an important development for all parties concerned. “The assessment is very rigorous and takes time,” explains Tamzen. “And our survey results show that consultants feel more confident after the process and really believe it's a qualification that they're able to be very proud of.”
For management consultancies, it is a win-win, she adds. “We know that leading consulting firms have excellent training and development provisions, but this process enables that to be independently verified and accredited by CMI.” Accreditation means that a firm’s in-house training programme covers the expected five years’ development of a management consultant – from the foundation stage through the applied stages, and to Chartered level – and demonstrates all the Chartered-level competencies. “Being able to offer consultants this Chartered status at the end of that process is a very attractive proposition, both for individuals, but also for firms.”
The ChMC award, and the independent assessment by a CMI assessor will provide clients with quality assurance. “The award demonstrates that you have significant experience and a portfolio of evidence that has been independently assessed; that you have very high standards of ethics and behaviours and a very high level of competencies and experience. That will be hugely beneficial for clients.”
Setting the bar
For Tamzen, it was important that the full diversity of the consulting sector (from independent consultants to large global firms) had a role in creating the competency framework for the ChMC award. “Ten pioneer firms, representing all parts of the consulting sector, helped us build the framework,” she explains. “When we began, the ambitions and focus on quality were so high that we almost set the bar too high in terms of what we were expecting from consultants.
“We had to look carefully at what consultants could evidence after five years, what ought to be the expectations and, importantly, make sure that the award could apply to consultants working in very different specialisms – be it digital technology or working in the public sector, for example. So, I’m really grateful for the huge amount of time and effort invested by member firms in those early stages.”
Time to reflect
The journey towards Chartered status gives consultants an important opportunity to reflect on their work, roles and careers, says Tamzen. “I’ve heard from many senior consultants that they were very pleasantly surprised by the process of becoming Chartered,” she shares. “They found it a very positive experience, being forced to take the time to gather the evidence for their submission and they found it beneficial to their career development.”
The ChMC award has also encouraged consulting firms to reflect on their training and development programmes and, where necessary, to tweak them and improve standards. “And that’s the entire objective of this award,” says Tamzen. “It’s to raise standards within the industry, and to ensure that across all four pillars of the ChMC competency framework there is a huge amount of training and development going into consultants. It encourages firms to deliver on their training and development commitments and create brilliant consultants who can deliver for their clients.”
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