Pennie and I have criteria we use to judge the success of Wizard Academy. In a recent meeting of the board of directors, they asked us to share those criteria with them.
I began by saying, “A non-profit educational organization would be foolish to judge its success by its revenues. And we would be equally foolish to judge our success by the number of people who attend classes. When we complete The House of the Lost Boys, we’ll be able to accommodate 24 students per class. But we have just 40 classes per year. Nine hundred and sixty students per year is our self-imposed maximum and we’ve been hovering at that number for a long time. The goal is the high-touch sharing of valuable insights, processes, formulas, tips and lessons with self-selected insiders who had to pass through a lot of filters to even hear about this place and then cross a lot of barriers to get here.”
“So how, exactly, do you measure success?” asked one of the board members.
“Three things, ” I answered.
“Number one is how often we hear reports from students saying they went home and implemented the things they learned and it made a gigantic difference.”
“Number two is how often they return for additional classes. Because this tells us they had a great experience the first time.”
“Number three is the number of newcomers who were told to come by someone who had already been here.”
“Results, Returns, and Referrals,” echoed 38-year-old Ryan Deiss as he nodded his head in affirmation.
“I thought I made those criteria up!” I said. “Are you telling me they’re a known thing?”
“They’re not widely known, but all the better schools use those criteria,” he said.
Manley Miller is another 38-year-old that the board has asked to fill the position of a member who has been serving for 20 years and has announced he will be retiring next year.
In Manley’s not-yet-published book, he writes,
“When you have a talent for something, you have an aptitude.
But when you become a master of it, you have proficiency.”
“When you have something to say that is worth hearing, you have wisdom.
But when people are willing to listen to you, you have authority.”
Manley says he learned that from reading the Bible. “Jesus spoke with wisdom in the Temple when he was 12 years old, but when he was 30, he spoke with authority. You’ve got to add a lot of experience to your wisdom before you can speak with authority.”
A few days later, Rex Williams, another 38-year-old board member said,
“We judge ourselves by our intentions, but we judge others by their actions. Likewise, we judge the value of our thoughts and opinions by the depth of our feelings, but others judge the value of our thoughts and opinions by our words.”
Rex went on to say,
“Millions of people are involved in social media, podcasting, video blogging, ad writing, book writing, speech writing. Everyone wants to be heard, but few learn how to be heard.”
Listening to these 38-year-olds, I had a revelation.
Let’s say you have an aptitude for communication, (because you probably do.)
You’re still going to need:
- Information, which becomes
- Knowledge, which leads to
- Experience, which leads to
- Proficiency, which gives you
- Wisdom, which gives you
- Deeper Experience, which gives you
I sometimes worry that we have an instant-gratification attitude regarding education. We believe that when we have learned from an expert how a thing is done, we now have the ability to do that thing expertly.
But there is a long and winding road to be traveled from Information to Proficiency.
And then there is a second long and winding road from Proficiency to Authority.
I believe this is a message every high school and college graduate needs to hear. Because when we fail to tell them, we condemn them to learn these things the hard way.
Indy says Aroo.
Here’s an idea: could a person make a living helping companies find the right voice to represent them in their ads? Evidently, yes. In 2005, David and Stephanie Ciccarelli wrote a business plan to create an online marketplace for voiceover talent. Today their company has expanded into 160 countries and raised more than $20 million in venture capital. Listen and learn as David Ciccarelli shares his hard-fought experience with roving reporter Rotbart on that very spot where the impossible becomes the inevitable: MondayMorningRadio.com