The Art of Collaboration

3d business men briefcaseMost plans for success call for collaboration among interested parties. Conversely, there are many examples of conflicts arising from the unwillingness or inability to collaborate. It seems we are programmed to look after our own self-interest regardless of the costs. The way most of us define “successful” communications is by being able to “get our message across”; which is essentially adversarial.

The range of situations is endless. Continue reading

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Hidden Treasure

MC900439588Next week in Trinidad, the Caribbean Export 5th Annual Management Consulting Business Symposium will convene. The Caribbean Institute of Certified Management Consultants (CICMC) will have members from around the region in attendance. This event represents an important milestone in the process of transforming the region’s economic development model to embrace the realities of global trade in services.

According to the agenda: “Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) continues to identify the professional services – in particular the management consulting industry – as a priority niche sector for support interventions.”

This recognition of management consulting as a “priority industry” represents a breakthrough that if utilized, can be valuable in addressing the economic woes of the region. In May 2007, the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI) made a presentation to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, titled: “Improving outcomes from Development Funding by using Indigenous Management Consultants”.

Key points were:

  1.  Using competent indigenous management consultants would improve the efficacy, effectiveness and efficiency of development funded projects, and through these and related involvements increase the capability and capacity the economy of the developing country.
  2.  ICMCI’s core competence is in establishing and running national professional bodies for management consultants, and it is the NGO Mission of ICMCI to build national Institutes of Management Consultancy in Developing countries.  This mission is in direct support of indigenous management consultants.
  3. Management consultancy is a process that occurs with the client. The consultants need underlying skill but must be competent in the use of the process and to have demonstrated to a client’s satisfaction, that the proper behavior and due process is regularly employed.  Only then can the management consultant claim to be competent.

CICMC was established in January 2007 and by November of the same year, managed to obtain Provisional Membership in ICMCI. This required a waiver of the rule specifying that only single countries could become members. It was important to establish a regional body because studies (also published in 2007) conducted by Caribbean Export and the Commonwealth Commission concluded that management consulting in the region was too fragmented too generate to worthwhile foreign exchange.

In truth, there was no vehicle to promote collaboration among regional management consultants. Further, the public, service providers and procurers had no recognized criteria for assessing management consulting competence. The follow-on is that it was also impossible to recognize the value and importance to the development of our region.

As the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between CARICOM and the European Union came in effect, 93% of every dollar spent on consulting services in the region, left the region in the pockets of non-regional consultants.

If you want to get an idea of the enormity of this statistic, consider the fact that management consulting industry earns a trillion dollars per year. Aside from the benefits that can flow from having “indigenous” management consultants increase the value of regional development projects, it is then possible to generate valuable foreign exchange through the export of these services to the rest of the world.

In 2010, CICMC became a Full Member of ICMCI and the only organization in the Caribbean authorized to certify management consultants with CMC (Certified Management Consultant) designation that is recognized in 50 ICMCI countries. I wish to congratulate CICMC and Caribbean Export for their persistent efforts toward developing this hidden treasure. MM900395784

God bless.

How are we using our freedom?

By Dennis Strong, CMC

Most Caribbean nations celebrate August 1st as a national holiday commemorating the Slave Abolition Act 1833 that came into effect on August 1, 1834. Emancipation of African slaves took place in the United States 31 years later near the culmination of a horrendous Civil War.

Now seems a good time to ask the question; how are we using that freedom today?

There are many angles to this question. I think that in this time of economic hardship, it might be useful to examine what actually changed with emancipation. Further, how do the things we think and do today reflect a conscious appreciation of our improved state?

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