Sunday, April 3, 2011

WT Business Model

The Leung Ting organization boasts thousands of schools across so many countries. Because of this, it also gets a lot of flack from martial artists saying that their curriculum is drawn out, designed to suck money from the students and fatten the wallets of Leung Ting and Keith Kernspecht. While this may be true, i don't think you can be too quick to draw this conclusion.

Sure, it the world of martial arts, especially that of the Chinese martial arts, kung fu is seen as a sacred teaching of a very fine skill. Like that of a master swords maker, the art is passed on from teacher to only a few students - taking the time to mold the student into a finely skilled artist. i totally understand how this translate to wing chun or any martial art.

But when you make it a business and a successful one at that, the EWTO did everything right. A business cannot succeed if you take the above "sword master" model into a business model. in order for a business to succeed, the top guy, whether that's a master swordsmaker or a wing chun teacher cannot spend all his time teaching class, but instead must focus on the business.

That means the business must be able to run without his presence.

That means the business must be able to create predictable results on demand.

That means the business must have a specific process and/or protocols in place that systematizes and outlines how everything must be done.

Look at McDonalds - the CEO of McDonalds does not work at McDonalds, no matter how good he may be at flipping burgers or cares about the quality of a fine burger. When you walk into a McDonalds, you know exactly what you're getting no matter what McDonalds you go to. A Big Mac is a Big Mac. There are specific protocols and processes in place that determine exactly how things to be done - burger is on the grill for X # of minutes, at X degrees and must be flipped at X minutes, and must be topped with 2 pickles, 1 tsp of mustard, 1 tsp ketchup, etc.

So this is what the WT system had to do. And that's what it did. It created the student levels, broke down each grade into sections and created a grading criteria, a "how to teach" system so that it can bring in more students and create more instructors - it became its own machine - it became a real business.

There is no other way around it.

You cannot have it both ways, where the business is huge and yet the CEO-Sifu teaching the basics of the wing chun stance. He's got bigger things to tackle. That stuff his underlings/employees can handle. Do you think the CEO-Sifu can teach 300 or 3000 or 30000 students?

The model has to be able to accomodate the numbers. At the WT model did just that.

It is easy for us to judge the WT curriculum as "crap" and just a money making machine simply because it doesn't reflect our expectations of what we see in the movies (eg. Kill Bill part 2) - but really, it HAS to take this form in order for the business to grow to survive. And, also, it helps ease pressure off the CEO-Sifu too from teaching and running the business to just running the business.

Just something to think chew on.

Until then.


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