Bringing the “Why” into the Wizardly World of Credentialing

By Scott Greenberg

The great and powerful Wizard of Oz should have been a member of ICE. At the end of the movie, he presents one of the journeymen with a diploma and another with a badge of courage, boosting their confidence. The formal acknowledgement allows the characters to stand a little taller.

As a motivational speaker, I’m in the same business you are. I work to improve quality in the workplace. I’ve learned that people perform at their best when they develop their skill set and their mindset. A meaningful certification can do both. It certainly did for Adriana.

Adriana was the assistant manager of my Edible Arrangements franchise in Los Angeles for three years before I brought her with me to our annual convention. I enrolled her in the manager certification track. With her skills and experience, she could have taught the class. But when she was presented with a formal certificate at the end, she broke into tears. He mother had the certificate framed. Sometimes a piece of paper makes a difference. Like the Lion and Scarecrow, Adriana held her head higher at work.

Competence is routed in our ability, but confidence is routed in our humanity. For better or worse, we are animate, emotional beings. We don’t just do our work; we feel our work. We subjectively judge ourselves and our circumstances. And too often the conclusions we draw about what we can and can’t do are incorrect. A skill is worthless without the belief that it can be put to use.

Credentialing brings objectivity back into human performance. The outside endorsements you provide let workers and employers know unequivocally that standards have been met. With a credential, everyone can feel more confident. You’re in the confidence business. You may have concrete standards, but the value you provide is a feeling. 

A skill is worthless without the belief that it can be put to use.

It’s easy to forget this. Sometimes we get so caught up in daily tasks that we lose focus on our purpose, on the why of what we do. That’s when we get robotic. It’s when work gets monotonous and students become numbers. We better serve people when we appeal to their humanity.

We also do better work when we tap into our own humanity. Those seeking certification aren’t the only ones who feel their work. You do, too. Unlike the Tin Man, you have a heart. You face challenges that are unique to your industry (changing government policy, testing security, etc.), not to mention the universal issues that invariably come up in any job. Sometimes work gets stressful for us humans, and we need an emotional boost to support our intellectual skill. Having a deeper sense of purpose will help you endure tough times. As philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”

Every day you get to do something essential. You enable doctors, teachers, engineers and countless other critical professionals to do their work. We couldn’t exist without them, and they couldn’t exist without you. Your industry allows these industries to be possible. 

You probably don’t hear the thanks you deserve. Your work is behind the scenes. It’s rare for someone to send an Edible Arrangements fruit basket to the folks who certified the nurse that cared for them. But it’s less important to be thanked for your service than it is about giving thanks to be of service. Doing important work is a privilege. Be grateful to have that opportunity — to know that you matter. Like the external endorsements you provide, your internal gratitude will allow you to stand taller.

Fortunately, you have ICE. ICE is not just a place to share ideas. It’s also a place to celebrate your profession. It’s the Emerald City of the credentialing industry. Your participation will enhance your competence and your confidence. With that combination, there’s no yellow brick road you can’t traverse. There’s no place like ICE.


Scott Greenberg is a motivational speaker and the opening keynote speaker at the 2015 ICE Exchange in Portland. Discussing both skill set and mindset, Scott helps business leaders and their teams elevate performance and grow their companies. He has presented in all 50 U.S. states and throughout the world to clients such as Nike, Allstate Insurance and the U.S. Air Force. In 2005, Scott built his first of two Edible Arrangements franchises in Los Angeles. His company has won the Edible Arrangements “Best Customer Service” and “Manager of the Year” awards out of more than 1000 franchisees worldwide.


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