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Author: Richard Yarnold

So you’ve got the qualifications? Now what?

Having a qualification in your specialism is a goal for many Business Analysts and Change Professionals.

They will give you the knowledge and understanding of the key concepts (hands up if you studied Porter’s Five Forces as a BA? Keep your hand up if you’ve ever used it in a role ?).
Whether you’re targeting an ISEB qualification in Business Analysis or Project Management, or getting a Black Belt in Six Sigma, it’s good to add these to your CV because it helps to demonstrate a level of professionalism and an ability to learn and develop.
Most employers have qualifications as essential requirements for their roles. But how important are they beyond playing the job application game? Qualifications will help you get through the door, but what about when you’re in a role?
The best Change Professionals I’ve worked with over the years aren’t the ones that have the most qualifications. They aren’t the ones who know all the details of the PESTLE analysis, or can knock up a perfect bidirectional traceability matrix (yes that’s an actual thing).
They aren’t the ones who have a full page of their CV dedicated to the qualifications and certificates they’ve achieved or the courses they’ve attended.


The best Change Professionals are those that demonstrate proficiency in softer skills. I’ve listed a few here but the list is not exhaustive and not in any priority order.
  • Listening
  • Being comfortable communicating with people at all levels of the organization
  • Tailoring communications to your audience
  • Being inquisitive
  • Asking the right questions
  • Being able to link information and concepts
  • Taking ownership of issues and deliverables
  • Fostering good working relationships
  • Being committed to project goals (but not in an obstructive way)
  • Challenging the way things are done (again, not in an obstructive way)
All the courses I’ve been on only really focus on the technical concepts and tools that help you do your job – The What, and give very little content, if any at all to the way you implement those tools – The How.
In my opinion, only 30% of the change management role is being proficient in tools and techniques. The other 70% is the softer stuff listed above. There’s no point in being able to pull together a whizzy Gant chart full of milestones and resource requirements when the information in it is incorrect or your stakeholders don’t buy into the vision. There’s a definite gap in the market for a course or module on these softer skills.