Session Recap: Management Consulting of the Future, Certification and ISO 20700

By: CMC-Canada

CMC-Canada recently held an interactive webinar to explore the new ISO 20700 checklist training program and the future of management consulting. Every management consultant needs to have a competence in core skills, and a personal commitment to advance their practice, knowledge, and skills across specialty and core areas of practice.

And ISO 20700 is the baseline standard for the contracting, delivering, and closing of management consulting projects. Here’s a brief recap of the discussion at this insightful session:

3 Key Trends for management consulting leaders must consider about the future of consulting

1. There’s increasing pressure on executives to improve performance. 
During the pandemic, organizations had to prove they could pivot / adapt quickly – and there are expectations on them to continue that pace of change. Also, the decision-making / approvals process for moving ahead with new consulting work has moved higher in organizations, where CEOs and executives now want more direct involvement in major change initiatives.

2. Access to talent through digital talent platforms is increasing at a dramatic rate.
If an organization needs talent, they can now access a specialist almost anywhere in the world. Often these specialists / freelancers set themselves up as consultants, even though they don’t have the diagnostic approach that management consultants do.

3. When management consultants initiate an engagement with a client, the problem identified by the client is often not the underlying challenge that the company and consultant must solve. 
CMCs provide companies with an objective perspective, based on their expertise and experience, and get below that symptomatic level to help solve the root cause issue. With increased pressure to perform / access talent – organizations are often now trying to solve the problems themselves, including by hiring freelancer talent. But it’s often the wrong problem they are solving for.

How do the latest trends impact management consulting leaders?
A key starting point for management consultants is to realize there’s a difference between the industry of consulting and the profession. The industry includes everyone who prints a business card and says they are consultant, selling their time / services to clients.

From the client perspective, it’s crucial that CMCs help them understand what differentiates them from a freelancer / specialist / non-CMC. And ISO 20700 is the baseline of what good consulting practices look like. The very nature of client relationships is changing – the baseline for their satisfaction with consultants is the same - but there is a decrease in their understanding of the ROI they are typically gaining from a project. 

CMCs have a significant challenge of helping the business owner / CEO understand what the root cause issue is as part of any engagement, and work to solve the problem. Clients are increasingly expecting management consultants to have side by side relationships with them to implement the solution for change and solve the issue in a sustainable way.

More on the future of consulting
Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasing the number of tools available to both clients and management consultants. CMCs need to understand this new technology in order to support how client organizations are going to manage the increasing pace of change / the disruption. 

ISO 20700 Checklist Training – How does this Standard Help Client Organizations 
ISO 20700 helps management consultants and their clients improve transparency and understanding of consulting assignments in order to achieve better results. The ISO 20700 checklist follows the same three major components of the standard: contracting, delivering and closing the project.

This international standard is about quality, but also clarity and transparency – clients need to be sure consultants are focused on the right work – it sets the stage for communication about the whole consulting engagement and process.

Using the 20700 checklist allows consultants to walk through the entire project and engagement to ensure you and the client are on the same page. This demonstrates that the professional management consultant brings more to the table than those in the industry.

The checklist can be used for either small or large engagements – it’s a great aid for clients at every level to see the stages of the consulting deliverables – and allows consultants to provide a helpful roadmap to the proposed solution (addressing the root cause, and not the symptoms). And it helps take the risk out of engagement delivery!

More on the value of the ISO 20700 Checklist
The checklist has a comprehensive list of the topics that every management consultant must cover when starting a new project; it provides management consultants, including CMCs, with a helpful reminder that no two projects are alike.

We are tempted to go into the areas of expertise we favour, but the checklist helps ground us in good management consulting process practices.

The checklist provides clients with great insight into the extensive scope that a professional management consultant brings to the table – and what they should be asking of the management consultant they are engaging. That includes the key stakeholders of the initiative, how information in our Code of Professional Conduct will impact our work, etc. which helps build trust with the client.

CMC-Canada Advocacy and ISO 20700
CMC-Canada is advocating for the designation wherever we can, including at all levels of government. 

We are working hard to position CMCs as the trusted and respected advisors they are, who have demonstrated their knowledge and skills, and a commitment to the highest ethical standard in the consulting industry. The ISO 20700 standard provide and extra tool in the CMC’s toolbox. For the management consultant who is not yet certified, but wants to demonstrate they are part of the profession of consulting, the standard is an excellent launching point.

Tools like the ISO 20700 checklist provide CMCs with a competitive advantage to ensure their work is well communicated through a proven process, so clients are well aware of what the engagement will consist of - and that they will have trust in the process overall.

ISO 20700 Checklist Training is Available Now! Learn more about the training programs available to CMCs, associate members, and non-members today.

Many thanks to our session panellists for leading a great discussion at this webinar!

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