Not long ago I attended an education conference. As I was waiting for the morning program to begin I became engaged in conversation with a person with whom I was sharing a table. We discovered we were both drawn to the conference by the morning’s keynote speaker, Mike Schmoker.
As we continued to talk about our common interests in the message we anticipated Dr. Schmoker would deliver, the conversation turned more specific. I asked her the usual questions you ask when you meet someone at an education conference. What do you do? Where do you teach? What grade level? Etc..
When it was my turn to answer the same questions, I told my tablemate, a high school English teacher, that I was part of a consulting group that trained and coached teachers in effective and efficient instruction.
The next question was extremely interesting to me, “Are you a nonprofit?”
Without hesitation I responded, “No, we are for profit.”
The look on the teacher’s face was somewhere between dismissive to contemptuous. I quickly added, “Yes, we are for profit. That means we have to get results.”
At first my tablemate was a little taken back, then she smiled and said, “That makes sense.”
My comment about being for profit was not meant to disparage any other entities that work with schools and school districts. But, rather, our existence is contingent upon our clients being satisfied with the quality of our work. And, further, it depended upon our clients recommending our services to their colleagues in other schools or districts.
There is a line in the beginning of the original Ghostbusters movie where Dan Aykroyd is lamenting to Bill Murray about how the loss of their university positions was absolutely tragic. Bill Murray suggests they not worry about losing their jobs with the university. He suggests to Dan Akroyd that they enter the private sector.
Dan Aykroyd strongly objects to entering the private sector. He tells the Murray character, “I’ve worked in the private sector. They expect results.”
Our clients expect results. Our existence depends upon results.