Business in Utah is booming. Unemployment is 3.7 percent and our population, presently at three million, is growing at a rate of 50,000 a year — a whole lot of them relocating here for the favorable business climate and family-oriented lifestyle. There is also our new nickname, Silicon Slopes, and with more than 4,300 technology companies, it’s easy to see why.
Last week I attended the Utah Valley University Business & Economic Forum at Utah Valley University. This is our area’s premiere educational event for business owners, non-profits and professionals. With more than 400 attendees it was a chance to rub elbows with some really sharp business people. The Morning Key Note speaker was Al Switzler from VitalSmarts. He talked about the best-selling book “Change Any Thing”. This book is the crowning achievement from a team of researchers that studied how people and companies change for the better.
Switzer spoke about how we can affect change in our lives and the six things that we need to have align in order to change:
Personal Motivation — No one else can make us change. We have to have our own motivation to do so.
Personal Ability — We have to have the ability to make the change.
Social Motivation — What are others around us doing? If their efforts model and encourage our own, we are more likely to be motivated to make a change.
Social Ability — What sort of help, information and support are those around us providing that help or hinder our change? A coach makes change far more likely.
Structural Motivation — Are there short-term rewards and punishments linked to the change we are trying to make?
Structural Ability — Adding visual clues can help us focus on goals and effect the desired change.
I couldn’t help but think that TestOut Continuing Education’s courseware fulfills each of these motivations and abilities for students who are attempting to change by earning an IT certification. Regardless of why we want to earn a certification, we still need to motivate ourselves. Even the risk of a job loss might not be enough — we still need to decide it’s something we really want and get to doing what it takes.
Our courseware gives anyone the ability to earn a certification if they really want to. We may have to give up some free-time and put in extra effort, but every one of us has the ability to do it. Our courseware is designed to help students stay motivated, and presented in a manner that is simple to follow and easy to understand.
When it comes to social motivation we just need to look around, thousands of other people are using our courseware to work on IT certifications — many within our own organizations and circle of friends. TestOut also offers all kinds of social ability to help our students. We have tutorials, lab simulations, testimonials and blogs that offer information and support for the certification journey.
Our industry-leading lab simulations provide structural motivation. They help students to hone their new-found IT skills and provides them with an accurate view of their skills at every stage. We give the students structural ability via plenty of visual clues. Students are able to focus on their certification goal by constantly tracking their progress and view feedback at each step of a course.
Change is never easy. It takes desire and a lot of work delivered consistently over a period of time. I’m glad to be part of a team that offers support and encouragement to certification students.
About the Author — John Harris is vice president of sales for TestOut Corporation. He is the main principal over sales in North America and oversees the business growth and development in all international markets. Prior to joining TestOut, he worked for Novell for nearly 29 years.