Cs and Ds Get Degrees, but Skills Pay the Bills

By Todd Liles Cs and Ds Get Degrees, but Skills Pay the Bills

I was obsessed with getting all A’s in college. My obsession could be consuming. I would pull all-nighters, go weeks with limited food and sleep, and miss out on the activities of college life in pursuit of Straight A’s. I’m here to tell you, it wasn’t worth it.

Why isn’t the pursuit worth the effort? Because . . .

  1. Not every subject deserved the same focus and energy as the subjects I would use in my everyday life. Some subjects were required, but they weren’t life impacting.
  2. Most grading systems are flawed. They test memorization, not application. Memory fades, but application is like riding a bike. Once you have the skill, you can use it at any time.

We need to let go of this intense focus on grades based upon memorization. We need to switch our focus to a grading system that scores applied skills.

The question you should ask every teacher.

I’m not saying that you should fail your test, or not try to memorize the work. What I’m saying is that you need to ask this of every class you ever take . . .

“What is the skill that I should master from this course? How will I apply this to my life?”

 This question will be a litmus test for your teacher. It will create clarity for you both. You will know by the teacher’s answer if they are teaching memorization, or if they are teaching towards a skill. If they are teaching memorization, then I recommend you find another teacher. One that understands it’s about skills. If you can’t find another teacher, then decide how much energy you will give this subject.

Your energy and time are limited. Don’t waste it.

You have an obligation to be a good steward of your time and energy. Don’t ever waste it. Let’s say you are taking two classes. One class will give you a skill, and the other a grade. Since your time and energy are limited, and since the grade will fade, then you should put more energy and time on the SKILL.

Turn Learning Into Earning

Thankfully, there are many education systems that value the applied skill over memorization. These schools produce professionals that are able to apply their skills in the real world upon graduation or education.

Our company happens to be one of those education systems. We focus each lesson we teach on an applied skill set. Then we measure those results, not in memorized test grades, but in KRAs.

Measuring Key Results Areas

Key Results Areas are the points of applied skill and aptitude that we know make a positive impact.

For Service Excellence Training, we measure the following:

  • Average Ticket
  • Closing Rate
  • Lead Setting and Conversion
  • Call-back Ratio
  • Client Satisfaction
  • Trade Skills

We measure more than the KRAs above. This focus assures that we are teaching programs that are focused on applied skills.

We have examples of KRAs that you can use in your company. You can access them by clicking here >> KRA Download

A Message for My Nephew

I’m going to end today’s blog with a video message that I recorded for my nephew. He’s a college freshman this year, and I see potential in him. He listens to me (which is rare in 18-year-olds) so I like to influence him through his style of communication: social media. We also text …A LOT. We talk as well, though less than our texts, Facebook chats, and other ways of social media.

You should show this to the person in your life that is going through an education program. Maybe it’s a family member or a team-mate that needs to hear this message.

Question: What do you think is more important: The Grade or the Skill? Share your answer on Facebook and LinkedIn.



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