A few months ago I wrote a column here about plans to strengthen the voice of economists in Kenya, and today I will be sharing what I have been learning about a similar initiative involving management consultants. This arose after I came across a post on LinkedIn introducing the Management Consultants Association of Kenya (MCAK). So being a member of the consulting community I reached out to Erick Ngala, identified there as the founder chairman of the association, to learn more about it.
The chairman and I met, and he explained to me that like all such professional associations, this one is about promoting high standards among its members and uplifting their levels through continuous professional development. He of course also mentioned that ensuring good conduct and all-round professional behaviour in service provision form key components of their mission.
ISO 20700, the ISO standard on which MCAK is basing its work, brought together industry best practice to help make management consultancies more effective. Introduced a couple of years ago, it seeks to both help consultancies work more efficiently and effectively, and to support the development of the profession.
It achieves this by offering practical guidelines based on outcomes, and emphasises the importance of understanding clients’ needs. It is useful to all management consultancies regardless of size, and maintains a focus on innovation, differentiation and ethical behaviour.
It is also useful for clients, in that it helps them better understand what they can expect from a management consultant in a consultancy project. This will enable them to achieve better results from their consultancies, and for consultancies in turn to better demonstrate the value they can offer and will have offered.
MCAK will apply the five ISO 20700 principles of best practice management consulting, including by collaborating with the government in their implementation. The principles are as follows:
Code of ethics and conduct and capability of consultants: Behaviour of practicing consultants and skills enhancement: Policies, regulatory framework, protection and confidentiality – Development of a guiding competency framework for a self-regulating environment and for ensuring adherence by the members.
Any aggrieved client can report through an online portal and MCAK promises to investigate and objectively determine the allegations levelled against its member(s).
Stakeholder engagement and social responsibility: The association will work hand in hand with the private sector, the government and other stakeholders in promoting accountability in the profession.
Project governance and communication: Handling of customer projects and communication aspects surrounding pojects; Quality and risk management through continuous evaluation; Every project faces risks, and these must be mitigated and well-managed
Again as with other professional bodies, MCAK features various categories of membership: individual and institutional; young professional, student and affiliate; emeritus, retired professional, associate and fellow.
Potential members are admitted following rigorous due diligence by the membership committee, whose work includes background checks including verification of qualifications and experience to ensure members meet the requirements for their proposed category.
To reinforce its credibility, in the next two to three years MCAK aspires to become a full member of CMC Global, the International Council for Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI) that is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland.
Joining CMC Global will provide Kenyan professionals with the opportunity to undertake professional consulting courses offered by them, earning the title of Certified Management Consultant (CMC), a globally recognised certification. Kenya will then become the fifth African country to join CMC-Global, following South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria and Zimbabwe – whose application is in progress.
What drives the founding members is the creation of a community of consultants who will connect, network, share knowledge and prosper by adhering to a common competency framework as they deliver service to clients. They will achieve this by creating a trusted community of management consultants on whom clients can depend.
Finally, it used to be said that a consultant is someone who borrows your watch to tell you the time.
Now the arrival of MCAK should ensure that at least you’ll be told the correct one.