Change How you View Certification

Paper qualification is often used to gauge a person’s capability.

A degree earned shows the world that you have had academic training on the subject for which you were awarded the degree.

Due to the emphasis on paper qualification, people strive to earn as many degrees as possible and also to get themselves certified in as many areas of expertise as they possibly can.

Studying for a degree, spending time on campus, interacting with professors also give a person the experience of co-existing with others, a process which, hopefully, also eventually contributes to a person’s social skills and build up his EQ.

It is therefore important that people attend the right schools.

What’s the point of going to a sub-standard institution and ending up with some qualification that’s not worth the paper it is printed on?

Equally important would be the certification that people acquire to enhance their competency.

The thing is, people jump on bandwagons and suddenly experts emerge from everywhere.

If big data analytics is now the flavor of the month, all of a sudden, you’ll see experts in that field emerging from God knows where, each clutching a piece of paper declaring them to be experts. Big data is more hype that its proponents care to admit. Among other flaws, spurious correlations – associations that are statistically robust but happen only by chance – increases with more data and can lead to completely wrong conclusions or prognostication. I would caution all those big data evangelists to pay heed to what The Economist calls “the classic hype cycle, in which a technology’s early proponents make overly grandiose claims, people sling arrows when those promises fall flat, but the technology eventually transforms the world, though not necessarily in ways the pundits expected. It happened with the web, and television, radio, motion pictures and the telegraph before it.”

When it rains it pours, and when it rains big data hype it quickly turns into a monsoon of mass hysteria, basically, mob psychology in action! I enjoy spotting and scoffing at big data BS promoters on places like LinkedIn, half of whom not sure of what they’re babbling about. They’re just on the big data bandwagon just as they’ve jumped headlong on the Japanese single malt bandwagon, suckers for flavor of the month.

It’s the same with change management.

Change management may appear commonsensical, but the fact of the matter is that most change is resisted because it’s corporate-centered and then repackaged to try to coerce employees to embrace the change. Now, why would employees embrace change if it means more work, more stress, more KPIs to achieve and less personal time for themselves? No wonder people fight change.

Unless you have the appropriate rigorous training and the relevant experience, you cannot possibly possess a deep understanding of psychological principles and research methodologies that are at the intersection of theory and practice in organizational settings. The strength of a real expert on change management lies in his ability to identify key psychological theories and applying them successfully to a wide variety of challenges facing contemporary organizations.

Work backwards starting with the fear of the people who will be impacted by the change and change will get embraced but you need the pertinent training and experience to do that. Attending courses and paying for a certificate doesn’t make you an expert in anything.

But as with big data – the latest buzzword – suddenly everyone is an expert in change management, never mind the fact that many of these self-styled experts are brandishing certification of one kind or another from dubious organizations who claim to know enough about the subject that they have the nerve to go around certifying people and making them change management experts overnight.

Seriously with no background even in psychology, can these so-called experts or organizations that declare them to be experts claim to know anything deep about change?

Let me reiterate: you don’t become an expert by paying a fee, sitting in a classroom, and then take a test that result in you being rewarded with a piece of paper, a piece of paper that allows you to hang up your shingle and set up shop.

Ditto trainers. I have seen jokers with multiple certification declaring them to be training experts and what do they do? In front of a class, behind PowerPoint slides, they stand there blinking and twitching and trying to look intelligent.

Pathetic, really.

It’s the same with coaching as well.

Everyone is a coach nowadays.

I’ve had people bragging about the millions they’re making from coaching.

Well, I supposed if Angelina Jolie can be a professor at London School of Economics I guess there’s hope for everyone. I am not aware of Ms Jolie having acquired a single academic qualification in her 40 narcissistic years upon this earth – let alone the qualifications to earn the title of “professor.” What next? Desmond Kuek of the problem-plagued SMRT being appointed professor and asked to teach a course on how to run a breakdown-free mass rapid transit system?

If you read the book Conversations with a Maestro, you know how I feel about coaching and coaches and all those other snake oil peddlers. (You may get more information on the book elsewhere on this very web site.)

I hate to sound negative, but most of these self-proclaimed coaches are unemployed losers who cannot go around stating on their CVs that they are jobless, so they call themselves coaches.

So the next time you declare yourself to be a certified expert on whatever, do yourself a favor and ask “Will I become a butt of jokes?”

And the next time someone claims to be an expert, be sure to check his credentials, get a real expert to test his understanding of the expertise area he claims to possess, investigate his track record thoroughly by conducting background checks and take everything presented to you with a large pinch of salt.

No real expert will resist scrutiny by anyone and provable track record determines the difference between a person’s head knowledge versus what he has actually been able to deliver.

Knowing is not the same as doing.

Rid the world of charlatans!

There are already too many.