Atkins Principal Consultant, George Button, on being one of the first to become a ChMC

Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, was one of the ground-breaking firms in the development of the Chartered Management Consultant (ChMC) award, and George Button was one of the first pioneers to complete the journey to chartership.

Describing the historical context, George said:

“Atkins was one of the pilot companies that helped develop and shape the scheme from the start. One of my mentors was at the heart of it and, as we were seeing others adopt it, I thought it would be a great thing for me to do. The rest is history.”

The hard work for the award started with George putting his own career history into context. He said:

“It meant a lot of self-reflection. I mapped my own client experiences out as examples: how I would deal with certain client situations, ethics, etc., and used these as a template to map my own journey. It was very much a career evaluation over a very long period of time, something that you rarely get the chance to do. You begin to understand how you have developed, from when you were fresh to the industry to today. It shows how much you have matured.”

George described how he found this reflection process beneficial, saying: “I am definitely better for it, absolutely. It allows you to identify areas for future development while still identifying your strengths as a consultant.”

For George, this development means extending his professional network beyond Atkins, linking into the industry more using the Management Consultancies Association (MCA) as a key resource. He described his future plans, saying: “I have built a personal development plan, using the feedback from my chartership interview as a compass, and now engage more with the consultancy ecosystem, taking part in more MCA events.”

Discussing the value of chartership to the profession, and to himself personally in affirming his specialist expertise, George commented:

“If you think about things like impostor syndrome: how do you validate yourself as a consultant? For example, I specialise in strategy and business design. There are lots of approaches and methodologies for that area of business, but there is no accredited method – no validation of the correct way. Achieving charted status gives me the self-confidence to do what I do, and it gives my clients the confidence that I know what I am doing, that I can offer the quality service needed to help them shape their business going forward.”

While being Chartered has helped George grow within the profession, he believes the status of the award itself is gaining recognition, but that there is more to do. He said:

“We need clients to ask for chartered consultants to deliver their contracts, and I believe the day will come soon when they will do so, when the market matures. It is going to take another couple of years to become standardised, as more niche firms adopt this route to chartership to develop their people. Management consultancy is a mix of large firms and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and we need that mix. But whatever your organisation’s size, we all play a role in helping show the professionalism in the industry.”