You do.

If you have e-mail, you have likely been told you can qualify for certificate from a prestigious institution for a B.A., M.B.A., or other degrees just by applying with your experience. I may have been a bit too quick to dismiss these in the past. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to apply for a worthless M.B.A., from an unknown university, but the concept…now that is a different story.

Not too long ago, I was assisting one of my clients in the development of a career enhancing program for the members of their collection team. There were a number of programs we discussed, discarded a few and developed others to completion. I’d like to say we had a perfect score on those we put into place, but that would not be true.

In some cases circumstances changed. On a few occasions, we may have asked the trainers or those on the receiving end to stretch a bit too far. And of course, there were one or two ideas that sounded great in brainstorming, but should have been left in the meeting room.

The most successful idea we implemented from the meeting was suggested by the training manager for the client. “A lot of the time,” she said, “we already have experienced collectors, they just may not have been trained in our methods and procedures. Even for some of those who attend our programs and receive a certificate, don’t always display them in plain sight.  Too often people don’t know where the expertise already lies within their co-workers.”

When I deliver a seminar, if the class isn’t too large, I have the participants pair up and introduce each other.  In addition to the usual name and company, I have the people include what I refer to as ‘the important stuff’, like a hobby or one thing people likely don’t know about them. Even with an in-house program, co-workers who have sat alongside someone for years will often express amazement, saying, “I never know that,” and “If only I had known last week…”.

Our successful program included certificates for specific programs, but also recognized other areas of expertise and experience that if shared, could help achieve our objectives. What did we include? Here are just a few from our list:

  • Languages
  • Countries lived in
  • Companies worked for
  • Hobbies
  • Most difficult collection challenge
  • The most unusual collection excuse they ever heard (and how they responded)

Certificates? Could be – why not have some fun with these. “University of Hard Knocks” or “Delinquency U”. What makes up the qualifications? You and your folks decide. Of course your list may be a bit different and if you are in a small department, don’t limit yourself to accounts receivable. The sales team and others could be included too. Your list may be different, but you’ll know you are having some success when you hear a less  “If only” and more sounds of the cha-ching of the cash register!