Experience versus qualifications

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I lead transformational change in organisations, and as part of my role, I am responsible for developing the internal capability of the organisation to implement change for itself, via the upskilling of its staff.

This involves creating motivation and excitement for training and certification in change management by explaining the value of qualifications and accredited training.

As a result, I have to address the challenge: “I am an experienced manager, I lead change in my teams all of the time, so why should I get a qualification when I already know what I am doing?”

The question raises many issues:

  • A sense of fatigue – I already have enough on my plate, don’t burden me with any more expectations.
  • A sense of unfairness – you haven’t recognised how experienced I am, you are treating me like a junior!
  • A sense of disempowerment – you are telling me what to do, not letting me choose my own way.

As a result, my argument has many elements, to enthuse as many as I can to want to get up-skilled, and I thought you might find some of these arguments will inspire you to address your own learning needs.

It will give you a sense of validation

For many things that you learn on the change management training, you will have a sense of déjà vu. The  theories and models will reflect situations you have faced in the past and you will be able to align when things went well, realising that you accidentally stumbled on the best practice you are now learning in the course. For situations that went badly, you will get ideas for what else you could have done, as you learn new concepts and new techniques. Sometimes that leads to an emotional outcome on the course, when people wish they had learnt this stuff years ago, because it would have saved them from so many difficulties.

You will be able to conduct an internal bench-marking exercise

Using the contents of the course, you can identify how many of the theories and models you really did know, and therefore how experienced you really are compared to others. It is not something you will necessarily share with the class (although some do when they have a realisation that there is so much more to creating new ways of working than they ever realised – particularly from a psychological and neuroscientific perspective).

You will “find your tribe”

One of the most gratifying moments on a course is when delegates “find their tribe” i.e. they have the realisation that there is a whole management discipline dedicated to something you really enjoy doing, and that this course has opened the gateway to a new world of learning, and something that you can build your expertise in. I have been doing this a long time and have lost count of the number of people every year who write and thank me for putting them on the path to career fulfilment as they have changed their jobs and taken on roles in business change and transformation.

You will feel a sense of accomplishment

One of our biggest motivations as a human being the need to continually develop our skills. Learning new information, practising new techniques, and developing new abilities creates a shot of dopamine in the brain, the neurotransmitter that is linked to reward and pleasure. It is highly addictive, pushing up to learn more and increase the cycle of feeling focused, energised and rewarded. Although it sounds counter-intuitive, the effort required for learning can actually reduce stress, because of the enjoyment that is generated by creating more capability than before you went on the course.


I would love to hear your reasons why learning about managing change and transformation motivates you, so share your comments with me. For more articles like this, sign up for my newsletter