I recently had a discussion with a well-repected member of the travel industry about the true value of certification and whether this was something that companies could benefit from. His opinion - based on feedback he received from his financial management team was that it was an unnecessary expense and a burden on already overworked management teams.
The sad thing is that this view is becoming commonplace and while I appreciate the honesty of his response, it underscores a deeper problem in business in general. If - as business owners, we all took the view that anything that takes a little more effort than making a telephone call is unnecessary or a burden on our day, we would very soon be out of business. What is it with managers that just don't get the bigger picture?
Certification cannot be measured against short-term financial gains. It is a longer-term look at the health and competitiveness of your business and while accountants and financial manager's often fail to see the benefits and return on investment opportunities, ths relates more to their inability to properly manage their portfolio rather than certification itself. Unless they calculate the cost of certification against the savings and income generated as a result of it's application, they cannot hope to show that enigmatic ROI, and certification will continue to look like an unnecessary expense.
Certification is the validation of performance. It is an independent look at how well you are doing and how you are managing risk effectively. So what's not to understand? In the over thirty years that I have been involved in certification, I have heard it all, and almost without exception, the responses are excuses for poor management decisions. If your certification process takes too much time and effort - or you can't see the benefits of certification, you are simply not doing your job. That's the bottom line.
Why managers cant see the benefit of certification is easy to understand. Many businesses - companies in particular, that embark on the certification road, use the process to find fault with performance, and that is where we find the problem itself. Managers regard the processes as a 'grudge' activity - 'something that needs to be done to ensure my annual assessment is positive' and if they can bad-mouth the process or undermine it's performance benefits, they will take every opportunity that comes around in an effort to make their daily tasks less complicated.
Get real with your business and use certification as a tool for improvement. It is not something that get's done a week before a scheduled review - it is something that needs ongoing and committed attention. Instead of bad-mouthing the system, use it to grow and improve your performnce and competitiveness, and very soon you will see that the systems and processes required of certification programmes become routine and daily activities.