Last month, I wrote a post entitled “Lame Excuses For A Buyer To Lack A Certification, Part III.”  The excuse that I ragged on in that post was “fear of taking a test.”

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As I wrote in that post, procurement professionals are tested daily by challenging circumstances.  So, when I hear someone say that they haven’t earned a procurement certification because they are scared to take an exam, my blood boils!

Since then, I have continued to encounter this mother-of-all-lame-excuses.  And I got to thinking…

Hmm… Just about all white-collar employees drive.  To be able to drive legally, you have to take a driver’s test, right?

Yet, we all take the test.  Some of us don’t pass the first time (it took me two tries).  But all of us take the test ’til we get that driver’s license.

Your test may have been a lot like mine.  Being a 16 year old kid in the driver’s seat, praying you pass.  Having an intimidating, uniformed officer in a bad mood sit in your passenger seat.  Having to perform some maneuvers that you’ve seen your parents struggle to do after driving for decades:  parallel park by going backward only once; executing a three point turn in, well, three points; making a sharp turn without hitting a curb…all in accordance with the unexpected demands being barked at you by the angry officer that you notice scribbling things on his clipboard.  You are being judged, every minute, every second.  It’s like the officer is looking – hoping – for any reason to fail you and exert his authority over you.

Plus, lots can go wrong in a drivers’ exam.  You could turn down a one way street and get yelled at.  You could flatten a tire when you hit that curb and have to pay for an expensive repair.  Heck, you could get your foot stuck on the accelerator and drive through the testing center offices, killing yourself and scores of other people.  Oooh, the risk!

Stressful?  Sure.

So, why would anyone endure that?  Especially fragile 16 year old kids?

It’s because they have the FIRE to pass.  They want that driver’s license and the privileges that go along with it.  They want the freedom to go where they want to go without asking cranky parents to take them.  They want to take their friends to the mall.  They want to cruise the streets to check out the hot kids hanging out on the corner.

So, let’s step back to procurement, procurement certifications, and that oh-so-scary exam.

Is a procurement certification exam as risky as that drivers’ test?  There’s no intimidating, gun-wielding officer watching your every move.  No chance of you crashing into a building and killing yourself.  Not even a single three-point turn (hallelujah for that!).

Yet, some of you haven’t gotten certified because “there’s an exam” (cue the dum-dum-daaaaaah soundbyte).

So, if you’re one of those who hasn’t yet become certified, let me ask you…do you have the FIRE for procurement?

Seriously, do you?

Or does your state of non-certification have you in “no craps given” mode?

I think that every hiring manager in procurement should assume the latter.

And I think every procurement job should only be filled with someone who has the FIRE for procurement.  And a procurement certification proves, among other things, that you have the FIRE for procurement.

If you have neither a driver’s license nor a procurement certification because you fear tests, then maybe you do have a genetic psychological condition, and for that you have my sympathy.

But if you had the cojones to take a driver’s test but not a procurement certification exam, then you probably cared more about taking your teenage friends to the mall than you care about succeeding in procurement.   I hear the grocery store is hiring baggers.  Though a driver’s license may be a condition of employment.  Good luck.

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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