Taking the consulting profession into the future: Dwight Mihalicz

For more personal stories from Dwight Mihalicz, please watch this short video (Ep5)

The FLF Conversations series of the ICMCI Future Leaders Forum returned on 18 May 2022 with a special guest: Dwight Mihalicz, past ICMCI Chair and currently president of Effective Managers, who highlighted trends and tools to the benefit of aspiring consultants and new entrants to the profession. The event was facilitated by Jana Buchanan, MBA, CAPM, a consultant in Deloitte Canada’s Operations Transformation practice and a member of the ICMCI Future Leaders Forum.

Future-readiness begins with an overview and, historically, there have been significant disruptors. In the consulting profession, the most have been on the economic side. It has happened more gradually with technology and automation. Covid has affected many people, cultures, economies and businesses and it has taught many lessons about resilience. In these times, management consultants around the world have been on the frontlines, working without any templates to help their clients to survive in dire circumstances and proving themselves worthy.

The current situation makes evident the pace of change and the ability of people to react is crucial. Some businesses were able to do even better as the whole mentality has shifted from micromanaging to outputs. New and different ways of managing people continue to emerge.

The future is also premised on access to information. Sometimes organisations try to work at the symptomatic level to solve their problems. However, the real solution lies at the root cause levels. It is difficult when one is inside to see objectively and this is where management consultants can help. 

Consulting can be viewed in terms of the industry of consulting and the profession of consulting. The industry is growing very quickly with entrants from many different areas, even straight out of university. The profession includes those who understand the methodologies and tools. In this regard, certifications and designations, such as ISO 20700 and CMC, help to ensure quality.

The consulting community needs to reach out and explain the value of the profession rather than simply the process of selling skills. It needs to explain to universities and even give baseline courses on what it means to be a consultant. This would help as people will learn how to use a consultant or how to become one.

Technology is changing the industry fundamentally. Now firms can divide projects into stages and even use different consultants. Moreover, virtual consulting is coming to the fore with expertise being sourced from anywhere in the world. 

It is becoming more difficult for clients to see the benefit of management consultants. This is why consultants need to educate the public about their work. It is proving crucial to collaborate and be clear about what needs to be delivered.

The advent of digital enablement and transformation demonstrate the value of consulting institutes and their work to improve management consulting around the world. ICMCI has the unique opportunity to support institutes across the globe which then support consultants to be able to stay on the leading edge. There is no better way of doing it than enabling a very robust cross-fertilisation of ideas across consulting.

To a certain extent, this manner of work overthrows the model of the past 35 years where one works for a number of years, develops and then becomes CMC. Now it is about creating forums and exchanging ideas so that people can feel equipped with the tools and information they need.

Leaders have an important part to play in fostering younger professionals, e.g. by being mentors, providing support, helping with templates and sharing expertise. Consulting institutes are also essential as they can provide the foundation for a common understanding and networking to build a repository of helpful contacts and tools.

Management consulting itself is evolving in trying to find ways to express the return on investment for clients and the value-add from consultants. There is not yet a uniform solution as to how to measure impact and contribution and to bill the client for it. The two most popular methods still are based on projects or hours. However, in consulting, it is generally hard to measure impact effectively because there are many factors at play such as environmental, economic, human, etc. 

Consultants now have better tools in terms of marketing. Websites have become their most important calling card. Thus, the combination of social marketing, the web and meeting people is what proves crucial for a consultant to interact with clients. 

The pandemic has lowered borders across the world. For example, ICMCI used to focus on individual institutes. Now there are global virtual events and institutes offering access to external participants. This cross-pollination is beneficial to consultants and the profession and it helps to ensure flexibility to provide support where is it needed. 

For highlights of the event, please check out this video:

About the guest speaker

Dwight Mihalicz is well known in the global consulting community as he is currently on the ICMCI Board, where he also served as Chair for three years. He recently published the book Consulting through Uncertainty: A Global Perspective.

He helps organisations drive top performance. He focuses on manger effectiveness ensuring that all managers, from the CEO to the front line, are focused on their key strategic priorities and have the accountability and authority required for success.

Dwight Mihalicz has founded and is President of Effective Managers, a management consulting firm based in Canada and providing services globally. He works with owners and CEOs identify root cause issues that hinder top performance and uses research-based methods to help them improve.

Dwight Mihalicz is a Certified Management Consultant and has an MBA from the University of Ottawa, where he also served as the Director of the Dean’s Advisory Board at the Telfer School of Management. He is an accredited ISO 20700 Instructor, and trains consultants on this management consulting services standard. Dwight Mihalicz has been recognized as a Fellow of the Business Excellence Institute. He has also been elected a Fellow of Institute of Management Consultants of Ontario, Canada, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to his profession, his clients and to the community.

About the facilitator

Jana Buchanan, MBA, CAPM, is a consultant in Deloitte Canada’s Operations Transformation practice as a member of the Public Sector Transformation team. Prior to joining Deloitte, Jana served as a key member of the legal support team for an Atlantic region labor and employment firm She has worked with clients in education, healthcare, justice, and various other labor groups over the course of her career. 

As a Certified Associate in Project Management, Jana has a broad understanding of project management and change management tools and methodologies. She is currently in pursuit of both the CMC and PMP designations.  

Based in Nova Scotia, she serves on the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) - Atlantic Institute Board, Regional Representative for CMC-Canada National Growth Committee, and Canadian representative member of the ICMCI Future Leaders Forum. She is an active member of Project Management Institute Nova Scotia Chapter and the Institute of Public Administration.

About the ICMCI Future Leaders Forum

The ICMCI Future Leaders Forum brings together young consultants from all over the world in a structured effort to boost the conversation about the future of management consulting. It offers a platform to exchange views about the profession and to coalesce knowledge to the benefit of clients and consultants while growing a strong international network and developing leadership skills in the global arena.