09 Mar Certified and Qualified does not mean good
Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to meet and work with some incredible people, most of which, if I’m honest, are not qualified to be incredible at what they do and nor do they have a wall at home or in the office full of certificates – the reason they’re great is that they are passionate about what they do, have worked hard at what they do, have learned from other people who are great and then added to that knowledge through experience.
I’ve also worked with some people who are, let’s not beat around the bush, useless and many of these people are very well qualified and have certificates to back up their claims, but little else. As an example and to save embarrassing anybody publically, I’ll use myself as an example.
Many years ago, while at University, I got seriously into exercise and training and by sheer coincidence met a guy who turned out to be an amazing athlete and was labelled as “the world’s fittest man”; he took me under his wing, in fact, he challenged me to do things like Triathlons because all I seemed to do in the gym was lift weights.
This person was previously a Special Forces Marine who competed in endurance events as a hobby and has subsequently gone on to coach and mentor Olympic athletes and F1 drivers. Through my training I learned far more than how to run, cycle, swim and even abseil (we used to do all sorts of crazy things) and he was somebody to be respected and listened to, he also introduced me to other people of similar stature and at no point did I question his or their ability, nor did I ask to see any qualifications.
Because I was interested in exercise, during University holidays I used to look for things to do (I can never sit still) so one summer I thought it would be fun to try some new things related to exercise and, long story short, somehow became a fully qualified aerobic instructor. Needless to say, it was great fun, I made some new friends and I learned a few things but my skills could never compete, when it comes to exercise and training, with the person I mentioned before and although I helped a few friends out and taught the odd class for fun, I was never a great aerobics teacher – being qualified as a Royal Society of Arts Exercise To Music teacher was not proof of being good, just proof I went on a course and passed a couple exams.
More recently and more business related, I decided I’d better learn more about a piece of software we use called Infusionsoft – it’s great but in my opinion quite a complicated tool so I went to what’s called Infusionsoft University for a few days and, needless to say, because I’d already seen and used it a bit, passed the exams and am now Certified to build and advise people on using Infusionsoft.
The reality is I don’t use the Infusionsoft software that often and there are non-certified people who can use it far better than I ever could, or for that matter want to – but when it comes to building a marketing strategy that uses Infusionsoft or another CRM system like it, sequencing emails as well as other marketing material, even create the copy, this may sound arrogant but, I’m one of the best there is at it because I’ve done it successfully for over 20 years, long before the Infusionsoft software appeared. My passion for and expertise in entrepreneurship and marketing means that I have the privilege of only working on my own projects and with a very small select number of third party people and companies where I know I can make a substantial contribution fast – it’s the best and most profitable use of my time for me and them, despite having 1 or 2 people a week ask if I will work with them.
The other thing I’ve noticed is that it seems fashionable for people and unaccountable, unregulated businesses to offer “certification” on marketing and entrepreneurship related activities and, quite honestly, some of the people offering the “certification” are hardly experts themselves, let alone industry thought leaders and innovators. If taking a course, even one as thorough as a Post Graduate Degree, was all that was required to be good at marketing and entrepreneurship the world would be full of highly successful people, but it’s not.
If you’re wanting to learn new skills then I applaud you, it’s the right ting to do, but think about who you’re learning from and what you need to do after the training ends, otherwise you’ll be disappointed.
If I were just starting out I’d want to gain qualifications as I learn, but I’d also want to get experience from successful experienced people and organisations because that would transform my ability exponentially, a good example of somebody doing this is Charlie Hoehn who worked with multiple experts after he graduated university in Colorado in order to get real world experience http://charliehoehn.com/about/.
So the moral here is, if you’re looking for somebody to help you, find people with real talent, experience and a passion for what they do because these are the people who’ll work the hardest, are committed to doing the best job possible for you and will ultimately give you the best return on your investment, whether they are qualified, certified or not.
Another thing to look out for is honest advice. People who’re good don’t need to sell their services to you and they certainly don’t need to work for free, in fact, they may turn down job offers regularly, in which case, if you know they are the right person or company to help you be persistent and find out why they don’t want to work with you, as it often reveals some very interesting things and opportunities.
And one last thing, if you ever see me offering to teach an aerobics class stay well clear.