The Long Road to Creating a Respectable Certification

Nov 11 / Jim Benson
Every team, every business need, every goal has unique standard work and needs for flexibility.

No, every certification isn’t bad. But for years I’ve been disheartened by the “certified” professionals we’ve met who, after having sat in a conference room for a couple of days mildly paying attention to the sage before them, got their paper and they were free.  (They spent 40 minutes prostrate to the higher [hired?] mind…)

Unfortunately “free” often meant they left with scant professional advancement and a dangerous amount of perceived authority...

...and little thoughtful, actionable learning.
I grew ever more concerned as I watched Lean, Agile, Systems Thinking and other foundational aspects of my world-view  become corrupted by the certification process itself, which thrives on removing nuance and solidifying a teachable, defendable, copywritable canon. Dull, boring, and omnipresent.

But for over a decade now people have been legitimately asking us, When is Modus going to offer a certification? They needed the documentation that demonstrated “legitimacy” (and to get reimbursed). To be fair, these are honest, real needs. They wanted to be able to demonstrate to their companies, their clients, and themselves both proficiency in the subjects and a genuine desire to learn and become better professionals.

Which brings me to today. For the last six years we’ve been carefully crafting our Lean Agile Visual Management Certification and Accreditation program

The process was admittedly slow, because just like we teach in Lean, it needed to be intentional. And just like we teach in Agile, it needed to be humane.

It needed to teach flexibility. It needed to measure actual professional advancement. And, most importantly, it needed to afford students the time necessary for real learning to take place. Two days was just not going to cut it.
At Modus Institute, this was extremely important to us. We want people who pay us for actually receive value. Part of that value is ensuring that their peers (those who also achieved the certification or the accreditation) were part of a community they could engage with and believe in. 

To ensure the program was successful, we needed to focus on systems thinking over any ideology. We needed to include the bits of Lean and Agile that were free of dogma or demands and ask one key question, What do you and your team need to be successful?

We knew we needed to focus on the promotion of visual management: systems thinking, complexity, flow, and alignment to flexibly create intentional, respectful, communicative, collaborative, and sustainable ways of working. Not what you must do (prescriptive and constrained), but what you can do (professional and innovative).

Humane ways of working.

The LAVM program takes at least four months to complete. Studying the material can be done at your own pace, while the remainder of the time can be invested: talking to global peers, discussing each other's real-world problems, getting their insight  on your challenges, implementing and tracking the success of your solutions. 

There is time to learn, time to reflect, time to implement, and time to grow.

We bring to this the realization that our consulting has always benefited from hands-on learning, that no two teams have ever thrived while employing someone else’s generic solution, and that epiphanies rarely come on a schedule. We are proud of what we’ve created. 

It took 12 years of daily experience. Twelve years of study, reading, and invention. A dozen trips around the sun with teams in construction, software development, banking, insurance, health care, even teams that created chinchilla food. These aren’t solutions for a supposed singular work flow, this is how human beings come together, create, collaborate, and succeed.

It is a slow-cooked perfect stew.

I’m hoping you can come join our cohort.