Community is one variable of the Certification equation

This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Microsoft Tech Community - Latest Blogs - .

Can motivating yourself to achieving that certification, and being an infinite learner be as easy as ABC? 

 

No! 

 

However, Community times Care to the power of Culture does equal Certification Clearing Confidence.

  • Certification Clearing Confidence = (Community X Care) ^ Culture.

A learn-it-all, growth mindset is critical for personal growth and development in addition to building a successful team. For the past 3 years, as part of an intrapreneurial effort, I have had the unique privilege to lead a half dozen learning campaigns, or Learning Sprints, resulting in over a thousand Microsoft learn-it-all individuals achieving their certification outcomes[i], all while increasing personal confidence along the way[ii].  The learners represented a world-wide group and variety of roles including Cloud Solution Architects, Customer Engineers, Support Engineers, Business Analyst, Sale Professionals, and Managers.

 

Community and Care

 

We created communities around the various certification outcomes and solicited a small group (3-4) of intrapreneurial leaders that cared with curiosity and wanted to impact the success of others while strengthening their own craft in the given subject matter. We leveraged Microsoft Forms for sign-up, insights, NPS (Net Promoter Score), and driving data driven decisions.  We took advantage of Microsoft Teams for collaboration, meetings, analytics, and general engagement across time and space.  Microsoft Stream allowed the team to record and digitally archive all our learning sessions giving maximum flexibility, increasing engagement and knowledge retention.  Each sprint took a team approach to leading, having specific roles of Presenter, Facilitator and Moderator to ensure an engaging experience. We also used LinkedIn Kudos, Yammer and Credly to celebrate successes, generate energy and build external brand.  Another demonstration of care was the amount of participants who cleared their certification wanted to lead future cohorts, share their learning moments and staying active via chats.

 

Culture

 

We looked at the Learning Sprint as an opportunity.  The opportunity frame was the fast-changing nature of our business today demands that an employees’ continual learning culture is vital for organizational success.  The intent of the Learning Sprints was to:

 

  1. Accelerate agile learning via a structured, community driven approach built on a foundation of curiosity and a growth mindset;

  2. allow for flexibility and community input to drive the greatest value; and

  3. focus on themes and topics that provide the greatest value of the larger community.

The Learning Sprints were focused on specific, larger learning topics that requires the subject matter to be consumed over a period of time (typically 2-7 weeks).  Although a certification was not always the driver, we did use it to maintain focus and be outcome driven. When the topic is technical, the intent is to follow a learning path such as https://docs.microsoft.com and complement the subject matter with other resources (e.g. LinkedIn Learning), facilitated discussion, and general learning activities.  We also adopted an adult learning approach.   The team also recognized the importance of engagement and used gamification to keep learners motivated and progressing forward with what we called a Leaderboard.  Without writing a single line of code, the team used Excel, Logic Apps, Cosmos DB & Power BI and built a Leaderboard.  The Leaderboard connected learners and their progress badges, trophies, et cetera (thank you Mike).   

 

If having a learn-it-all team is something you are striving for Community, Care and Culture are key.  The best return on investment is YOU and your team.  A HBR article titled Make Learning a Part of Your Daily Routine stated it well, “Our capacity for learning is becoming the currency we trade on in our careers. Where we once went to work to learn to do a job, learning now is the job. Adaptive and proactive learners are highly prized assets for organizations, and when we invest in our learning, we create long-term dividends for our career development.

 

Always be learning and bet on yourself!

 

[i] Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD), Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900), Designing and Implementing Microsoft DevOps Solutions (AZ-400), to list a few.

[ii] Pearson VUE Study, 91% say their certification builds confidence.  84% report having a greater determination to succeed professionally. And 76% have greater job satisfaction and are respected by their co-workers.

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