VOLUNTEER CONSULTANT

Karol Szlichcinski

“Challenging, interesting, novel, frustrating, rewarding”

Karol is a professor at the School of Management at the University of Silesia in Poland, a Fellow of the Institute of Coaching and a member of the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants. He has over 30 years of experience as a management consultant with previous roles at Butler Cox and BT, with key expertise in strategy, market analysis, business planning, change management, specifying and implementing IT systems. Karol is working with Mary Banda in Ntcheu, Malawi, who makes clothes for members of the local community and local organisations including schools.

"I decided to volunteer with Grow Movement as I enjoy working with small businesses and in less-developed countries. Our first call was an introduction, a first opportunity to get to know each other. The quality of the line was not great, and we took some time to tune into each other's accents. We started by building up a picture of her business, asking her to identify her problems and talking them through. On the financial side, we focused on assembling a complete picture of income and expenditure, cashflow analysis, and rotation of working capital so she could retain more capital in the business to grow."

"Volunteering is a challenge; it is difficult to not know about the culture or the environment of the business involved. There is a culture of politeness and at times I found it hard to tell whether my consultancy was genuinely useful for the business. The connection through the telephone feels very tenuous, it is very hard to gather information about the business or its environment without seeing it or experiencing it! Also the business operates in an environment of major scarcity, in the months before harvest the local people have no money, and the recent floods have deprived many people of their homes and livelihoods."

"Professionally I have enjoyed developing skills at remote consulting over the telephone. It is a fascinating challenge, an opportunity to learn about a different country and culture, and use one's consulting skills to deliver some social benefit."

  • Ashridge Business School
  • MCA
  • Cass Business School
  • Institute of Leadership and Management
  • Bull Dog Trust
  • Westminster Business School
  • UK Aid
  • Turkish Airlines
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