Monday, November 18, 2013

Would You Rather Have Skills Or Credentials?

Makers are people who have skills as opposed to credentials.

Fascinating insight from Aaron Dignan.

So I couldn't help but wonder. What’s the difference between the two?

The word credential comes from the Latin term credentialis, which means, “letters entitling the bearer to certain confidence.”

People with credentials get degrees and earn certifications and win awards and have titles use designations. It’s a permission-based experience. They’re valuable through the endorsement of their peers.

The word skill comes from the Norwegian term skil, which means, “the power of discernment and the ability to separate and understand.”

People with skills solve problems and notice patterns and connect ideas and synthesize data and perform excellence. It’s an expression-based experience. They’re valuable through the labor of their own.

Which would you rather possess? Which would you rather your team members possess?

If you picked skills over credentials, congratulations.

That’s the world we live in. 

One where degrees don't carry as much weight as they used to. One where your body of work speaks louder than your resume. One where the network attached to your name is more valuable than the acronym after it. 

About ten years ago, I contemplated getting a masters degree to legitimize my credentials as a writer. My thinking was, maybe having those two letters after my last name would make people's question marks go away.

But then I calculated the cost, time and effort of that path––and realized it was smarter, cheaper, faster and more fun to just write a lot of books instead.

Now, nobody ever asks for my credentials. Ever. 

Because the skills have been spoken for.

If you want to steer your work orientation into the same direction, I’ve put together a short audit inspired by my favorite book, The War of Art:

Are you doing the work for its own sake, or for the attention and applause?
Are you asking what’s in your heart, or what the marketplace is looking for?
Are you looking within to validate your work, or letting others define your reality?
Are you receiving sustenance from the act itself, or the impression is makes on others?

It’s territory over hierarchy.

Choose wisely.