A very successful entrepreneur told an audience that he didn’t have a business degree. He believed he didn’t need it to be successful. A member of the audience asked him how he was able to get buy in from clients without qualifications. His response was that he delivered results and this was more important to potential and actual clients than any qualifications.


Qualifications do not necessarily result in capability. Qualifications do not to guarantee performance. Qualifications are only evidence of knowledge. It is effective application of knowledge that gets results.  And knowledge doesn’t have to be in the form of qualifications.


In many cultures qualifications are used as measures by themselves. There will be a perception of someone’s expertise if they have a first class honours degree, even though this just proves the person with the degree has an understanding of a topic and the ability to translate that knowledge to responding effectively to an examination question. There is no tangible cause and effect of degree classification and performance.


However qualifications do matter in the world of work.  Qualifications are used to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. They are a blunt instrument to differentiate and decide.  Qualifications have validity in that they are used as assessment criteria. They are a means of gaining access, or not, to a particular job role or a company, but they do not necessarily measure or predict performance or capability.


In your organisation how are you ensuring that qualifications are being viewed and used in a way that enables effective access to capable and performing people?



© Krista Powell Edwards  2021