A few days ago I posed the question about whether exam based lean six sigma certifications were legitimate or frauds.
As usual, many of you came through with excellent thoughts and comments.
Some of you supported the idea, others argued against exam based certifications, and others maintained a neutral position.
Here’s my two cents.
Learning is Always Good
First of all, learning is always good.
It doesn’t matter if you read a blog article, book, or watch some handsome fellow wax poetic about lean on video… learning something new is never bad.
To Each His or Her Own
Next, people learn differently. At Gemba Academy we hear of how some folks love to read the PDF summaries of each lesson. Why? Because they like to read.
Other people prefer online videos, DVDs, in person lectures, or a combination of all these.
The point is everyone is different.
What about Certifications?
Now, to the question of certifications.
I am of the opinion that certifications can be good when approached properly.
And by properly I definitely feel some hands on project work should be done in addition to passing an exam.
The idea of completing a “virtual” project or no project at all doesn’t sit well with me at all as it flies in the face of going to gemba, or the place the work is done, to practice what you learned.
Certifications Means The World to Some
Many opponents of certifications live in the West where these types of things don’t matter much since higher education is the norm for many.
But I can tell you this… I have seen individuals from developing countries break down and cry when they received their certification… it meant the world to them.
So, it’s important to remember that not everyone has the same opportunities in life. As such, we should not be so quick to judge others and their accomplishments.
Problems with Certifications
With this said, certifications don’t come without their problems.
- Resume Builder: Some folks simply approach certifications as a way to strengthen their resume. In other words, they don’t really care about what they are learning. They are only going through the motions to get a piece of paper.
- One and Done: Another problem is the one and done… whereby someone completes the certification and never uses their knowledge again. Sad, but I have seen this many times, especially with green belts.
- Elitist Attitude: Third, while not always the case, some certified folks become elitists… they feel like they are smarter and better than others. This flies in the face of respecting people, a pillar of authentic continuous improvement.
- Learning Stops: Finally, certification sometimes leads to the person feeling as though there is nothing left to learn. This is, obviously, never the case.
In the end… I come back to the story I wrote about before where my Grandpa was caught in the middle of a busy intersection… frozen with fear.
After a few seconds my Grandma, God rest her soul, finally yelled, “Well do something!”
It’s also like the question I get from my church friends on which version of the Bible they should buy. My reply is always the same – the one you will read.
So, no matter if you choose to seek certification or not… I encourage you to do something.
In the end I really believe that if you constantly seek knowledge with a humble heart while working to help others… you will not go wrong.
What do you think?
What do you think of my perspective? Do you agree?