Is Your Certification Board as AGILE as an Aircraft Carrier?

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By Stephen Spruce
Founder & CEO

How long do you think it would take to turn an aircraft carrier around? I mean all the way around – a complete 180-degree turn?

I might guess hours.

John Schallert, a noted business consultant, wrote that he asked a friend that very question. Although Schallert’s question was purely academic, aircraft carriers often turn “into the wind” to efficiently and safely continue the mission of launching and retrieving aircraft.

Schallert’s friend, a retired Navy Commander, had “driven” an aircraft carrier in the service and said he “could make a one-degree change in the direction of the ship every couple of seconds.”

he could completely turn the vessel around in just three to five minutes.

According to Schallert, “that meant that in roughly three to five miles, depending on the speed of the ship, the current of the ocean, and the wind, he could completely turn the vessel around in just three to five minutes.”

Think about it. He could turn a floating city around in just under five minutes.

Although I think that’s a fascinating bit of trivia, you might wonder what it has to do with the Business of Certification and Agilutions in general and your certification board in specific. Bear with me for a minute, and I promise to make the connection.

Several years ago, I started thinking about the best certification programs I knew and wondering if they had a collection of traits in common. I wanted to know what set the best programs apart and helped them maintain their standards of integrity and excellence in education. After all, their missions required them to certify individuals to exact levels of expertise and performance as they ensured the public had access to safe, quality services within their industry.

With the help of my colleagues at Agilutions, I developed a model that gave certification boards a scorecard by which to judge their own performance. We had the scorecard printed, and it has become the basis of many conversations about the Business of Certification.

You might have seen it. It’s called the TRUSTFUL Scorecard. Here’s what it stands for:

T – Transparent

R – Reliable

U – User Friendly

S – Secure

T – Timely

F – Fair

U – Unbiased

L – Legally Defensible

We think if you’re transparent, reliable, user-friendly, secure, and timely, you’ll also have the underpinnings to be fair, unbiased, and legally defensible. The last three flow naturally from the first five.

This model is designed to help you do a self-assessment, and the scorecard on our website will give you more details about each component. There is no “right” score; it’s a way to help you understand what is working at your board and what might need improving.

We believe in the components of the TRUSTFUL model, and think they are the basis for a strong, secure certification fortress – much like an aircraft carrier. We also think that disruption can happen faster than we can imagine. And we need tools that can aid us in preparing and meeting the unknown challenges that lie ahead.

Just think about the last two years. No one could have predicted the lightning-fast changes we experienced. In March 2020, all in-person exams and testing centers were closed overnight. Our missions did not change, but the headwinds forced us to move in a different direction.

We responded much like an aircraft carrier. We made a course correction in a matter of weeks instead of months or years. I think we can be proud of that accomplishment because we were nimble and the change is lasting. We are now discussing remote proctoring, for example, as a viable delivery method because we tested it under emergency conditions, and it worked.

According to the NCAA Assessment of Live Remote Proctoring, released Feb. 5, 2021, “the NCCA has determined that it is possible for programs to meet the Standards using LRP as a delivery method, provided that implementation is thoughtfully executed. Importantly, as LRP is a relatively new delivery method for certification, continued research is needed.”

With that in mind, I’d like to add another acronym to the TRUSTFUL model. It comes from my background in software development and project management. It is the word AGILE.

Here’s what I mean:

A       Adapt: Make course corrections when business and environmental conditions require them.

G       Get Lean: Find ways to reduce overhead and red tape so that change can be more easily and efficiently absorbed.

I        Iterate: Taking on bite-sized chunks, supporting trial and error, failing fast, and understanding practice makes perfect are all ways to prepare for and support change.

L       Lead: Don’t be afraid to embark on something that has not been done before. If you have the right infrastructure and mindset, innovation can become a culture.

E       Embrace Change: Change is going to happen so instead of fearing and avoiding it, meet it head-on and view it as part of maintaining a healthy and viable organization and program.

I know you’ll be served well by adding AGILE to your existing TRUSTFUL model.

Experience teaches us that business is speeding up, and we need to be able to respond quickly to shifts in the environment. I don’t pretend to know exactly what you might be facing in the next year, but I know you’ll be served well by adding AGILE to your existing TRUSTFUL model.

Being TRUSTFUL is the underlying strength of your certification program. TRUSTFUL helps you build a strong vessel, but AGILE helps you pilot a vessel like an aircraft carrier so that it can quickly respond to change.

How Can Agilutions Help?

Our company name, Agilutions, was developed to express our commitment to Agile Solutions. We think we have some expertise and technology solutions that can help you meet the coming challenges.

We’ll talk more about AGILE in coming blogs, but if you would like to start a conversation now, visit the CredHQ website or send me an email. I’d love to hear from you.