Ideas on Remotely Delivered Education Programs for Enterprises of One

Bryan S. Coffman

February 2, 1997

Our network is growing; new members are being added daily. As the number of new knOwhere® Stores and client-run Management Centers increases, we will face new crucial decisions in our quest for an organic approach to managing a large, geographically distributed, diverse organization. Should we set any standards for the conduct and performance of various organizations and individuals who deliver DesignShop® processes? If so, what should these standards be, and how are they set in a cybernetic and organic fashion? Should we address ourselves to the broader market of Enterprises of One, and the peculiar transition management issues they face? Who should deliver these programs: local KnOwhere stores, the Network itself, MG Taylor, or some combination of the above? Do we assemble bureaucracies and hierarchies to handle the delivery? As our organization grows, do we fall back upon traditional approaches to managing growth and maintaining identity, or are there other options?

We have already begun delivering our philosophy to the network via a series of on-site workshops. The Seven Domains Series, sponsored by MG Taylor Corporation and begun last year is an example. This delivery vehicle is appropriate for a portion of our educational strategy but is too expensive and time intensive to use as the sole vehicle. Our members, most of whom are Enterprises of One, cannot afford to spend 4-8 concentrated weeks away from their businesses each year.

An obvious candidate for an alternative vehicle is a combination of the Internet and the telephone. Already, there are many successful models for such an approach to delivery of educational programs, and also for keeping professional practitioners in touch with each other in order to share successful approaches and help solve problems. You can visit one at Coach University. The balance of this article is given to outlining such an approach. It's a 'Spoze exercise, therefore it has not been written as a defensible proposal of policy. Instead, use it stimulate your own thinking about the topic.

Program Description
The program is comprised of a collection of offerings designed to facilitate transition management for Enterprises of One using the Taylor Methodology and Philosophy. This is intentionally broad. It means that the market for these offerings consists of micro-enterprises composed of one or a few members each, regardless of their affiliation with MG Taylor. A tax consultant, for example, could find one or two programs of value to sign up for. The assumption is that the era we are moving into offers opportunities for fundamentally different ways of planting and growing an enterprise; furthermore that MG Taylor methodology, philosophy, tools and environments offer micro-enterprises an edge in this new era.

The program is also composed of a series of offerings designed to deliver specific support to Enterprises of One who wish to become licensed MG Taylor practitioners, so they may serve as Knowledge Workers in DesignShop events at KnOwhere stores or Management Centers, and also so they may pursue their own clients using the MG Taylor methodology and principles.

The program is not simply a set of instructional or teaching activities, nor is is merely skill-based. The philosophy of the DesignShop is found in all of the offerings: collaboration, group genius, facilitation, exploration, explanation, full participation, and so on.

Some examples of offerings include:

  1. Facilitation of and collaboration among participants on how to plant and grow small businesses
  2. Facilitation of and collaboration among participants on how to manage enterprises and client relationships using the MG Taylor models
  3. Facilitation of and collaboration among participants on how to support events
  4. Facilitation of and collaboration among participants on how to serve clients and generate clients using MGT technology, models, etc.--basically how to deliver DesignShop processess and be licensed to do so.

The program offerings are designed to augment on-site offerings by MG Taylor Corporation, local KnOwhere stores and even client-run Management Centers. I foresee Enterprise of One invitational workshops offered by KnOwhere stores in addition to 7 Domains® workshops offered by MG Taylor Corporation, and perhaps specialty workshops offered by MG Taylor clients in their own Management Centers.

The program is administered by the Network Enterprise through a license and agreement with MG Taylor Corporation.

The Network Enterprise that administers the program offerings is a for-profit venture. Network members may participate in the design and implementation of the various offerings through the purchase of shares in a closely held corporation. Their pay is in dividends, sans-salary. Members entering and leaving the Enterprise create a small market for the number of shares available. A single member is restricted in the percentage of shares he or she may own.

Conduct of a Typical Offering
A cadre of facilitators at the Network Enterprise divide the offerings among themselves and work to develop the offerings. A board of directors approves the design of the offerings in accordance with the agreement with MG Taylor Corporation. Offerings are advertised on the Internet and by word of mouth among Network members. Once a group of participants are lined up for an offering, the delivery begins. Most offerings are delivered over a period of several months, employing weekly teleconference sessions and requiring several hours of prep each week by participants individually and in small teams. Teleconference sessions consist of reports, discussion, and lectures. The teleconferences are arranged through the Sprint Internet Conference Line. Offerings range from $300-$1,000 each per participant, depending on the duration and the subject. Participants get access to extensive online pdf files, databases, Java Applet templates, etc. via a timed password. Certificates are posted and delivered upon successful completion. Other offerings let participants members simply share their current situations and facilitate each other through problem solving using Network Enterprise groupware and a teleconference bridge.

Technical Systems Requirements
Every participant must have access to the Internet and a telephone. I understand all of the possibilities around Internet conferencing, but right now it will be enough for basic entry into the program to have a connection to the Internet and the use of a telephone--it keeps the barriers to entry low. The Internet is used for the sharing of high-magnitude, low-frequency communications and the telephone is used for conference calls employing low-magnitude, high-frequency communications.

Participants sign-up for offerings via the Internet or the phone and pay as they go with credit cards.

The Network Enterprise employs its own (or leases space on a) web server with database and groupware capabilities. The Network Enterprise may employ its own Webmaster to maintain its site.

What's Next?
Well, anyone out there can take the ball and run with this. Set up a simple offering and try it out. Even a modest investment should yield a nice return if the offering is good. A good facilitator should be able to run three or four offerings concurrently with perhaps 10 participants each. At $100/participant per month on average, the income would be $3,000 or $4,000. In the model I presented above, all of the Network Enterprise shareholders would divide the net of this income as monthly dividends. A group of 5-10 shareholders should be able to both design good offerings, deliver them and maintain the website.

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