The Certification Levels of the OLN

All courses of learning from the Open Leadership Network have the same certification levels and structure. There are 6 specific levels of expertise and achievement. These 6 levels (numbered 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5) are summarized below.

OLN Level 0: The Member Level. This is the entry point. Members get invited to Member-only events throughout the year, and receive discounts on classes, and receive many other valuable benefits. Chief among these is joining the OLN community, the community that is spreading the ideas of Invitation-Based Change™, Inviting Leadership™ and the 8 Patterns of Open Business Agility™ throughout the world.

  • You can become a member in several ways, including signing up, right now, on this web site. You can also become a Member of OLN by:

    Attending a learning event from a Certified OLN Trainer, or
  • Participating in an Open Leadership Symposium conference event (online or otherwise)

Your membership in the Open Leadership Network is a lifetime Membership, and one that does not require renewal.

OLN Level 1 : The Associate Level. This is a certificate of completion. Most of the courses offer this level of certification. This is an entry-level cert in a specific domain subject area, and is achieved only by investing the time, money and attention needed to participate in an OLN Level 1 certification class. The instruction must come from a Certified Trainer of the OLN. Some Level 1 courses may require that you pass a small exam after the class before achieving this level of certification.

OLN Level 2: The Practitioner Level. Achieving Level 2 means you have real domain knowledge and have proven you can apply it. Those who have previously achieved Level 1 certification are eligible for applying for Level 2. This level confirms your know-how and expertise, and is achieved by actually applying and practicing the Open pattern or practice you have previously learned at Level 1. Each course of instruction publishes the guidelines and minimum experience and practice levels before applying. Applying for Level 2 certification involves filling out a questionnaire, submitting an Experience Report explaining your professional practice, and paying a non-refundable application fee. Not everyone who applies for Level 2 achieves it on the first try. Level 2 certificate holders are expected to invite Level 1 members into some of their work to help them to gain enough experience to achieve Level 2.

OLN Level 3: The Expert Level. Some courses of study in Open Leadership and Open Business Agility have a Level 3 certification. This higher level of credentialing confirms your expertise as a deeply experienced practitioner in the domain area. To achieve Level 3 you must apply, get your application approved, and then undergo a rigorous mentoring and vetting process with a set of then-current Level 3 Experts. You are assigned a mentor from the Level 3 ranks with whom you can optionally engage, to get counsel and guidance as you move through the process. Reaching OLN Level 3 in a domain area of study is a significant achievement.

OLN Level 4: The Trainer Level. Achieving Level 4 means you have real experience and can also convey that know-how to others effectively as a teacher, explainer and mentor. For most Open courses of the OLN, those who have achieved Level 2 can apply to become a Certified Trainer, but only if the target program is currently receiving Level 4 applications. Achieving Level 4 in a certified Open method involves a rigorous train-the-trainer process and approval from the OLN. Level 4 certification in an Open method authorizes you to teach that specific course and award your students the Level 1 credential. Level 4 certificate holders are expected to be very active Open community members, participating as speakers and presenters in user group meetings, and conferences, and writing articles and essays, and assisting others in advancing the growth of the Open movement.