Risk Topics

management consulting vs internal audit


I've just completed a three day intensive course on management consulting, which covered the twin streams of a) diagnosis and b) change management. It was offered by CMC-Canada, the "Canadian Association of Management Consultants", and I couldn't recommend it strongly enough. Taught by a very well-prepared thirty-year expert in the field, it introduced not only the theory but the practical step-by-step process that makes successful management consulting possible. It wasn't an inexpensive course, but: a) It's going to be a founding element in what I do with the second half of my career. b) I'll be able to apply some of the things I've learned immediately. c) What the hell, at least I can count the hours against the required training credits for both of my certifications (in internal audit and project management). That's meant the course has already paid for itself even if I do nothing with what I've been exposed to.

Where this all bears on risk management is particularly interesting. It's important to have a process of business evaluation that's tied to the process of identifying and executing actual improvements, and that that execution strategy includes very real change management strategies. What I've always found disturbing about internal audit is that it stops at reporting the symptoms. Without getting at the underlying causes of the symptoms, by refusing to participate in the corrective process, internal audit is really only doing half the job. I've found the hands-dirtying aspects of enterprise risk management work far more effective; and using the management consultant's tools will, I think, double that.

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