Recently I scanned the websites of numerous certifying agencies and found an alarming trend: many mission statements read like this: "Our purpose is to certify members of the X industry." Here are two REAL purpose statements that I found via my Web search:
- To develop, maintain, promote and administer a high-quality certification and recertification program for (target audience).
- To certify (target audience) and to identify, for the public, quality professionals through a system of certification, adjudication, standards of practice and continuing competency programs.
Yuck (and sorry if it's yours!). Hear this: CERTIFICATION IS NOT A PURPOSE. Certification is a strategy to accomplish a purpose. If your mission/purpose statement reads like these, you've severely and unnecessarily limited the impact of your organization. You need to uncover your real purpose. Is it to protect the public? Advance the profession? Better position individuals in the marketplace? Once you've done that, you'll open yourself up to the possibilities of how your organization can accomplish your purpose. While certification is one strategy, there are numerous others to consider. More on this later.