By Roger Phillips, Owner of Fight Focused Concepts
I have receive many inquires on “what is going on” and have only spoken to a select few friends on exactly what led to my resignation, my setting out on my own, and my joining the alliance of trainers under Paragon Pride. As a group, Paragon Pride has made the decision to take the high road and to not get into an internet war responding to each and every attack that is being launch against us. We feel that the vast majority of “good people” will see the attacks for what they are and will differentiate between the pathological and obvious lies/distortions/exaggerations and the actual truth.
I have waited patiently for the advice of my council to address the mountain of questions that I am being asked by my friends and students. I would like to take the time and address some of the main questions and then hopefully put this behind me and get on to doing what it is that I do…….training really good people in matters of life and death. Before I get into the meat of the issue, I would like to make one comment.
I use to be exactly where I was supposed to be, but things change. Right now, I have moved on to exactly where I am supposed to be. Change is inevitable, and one must strive to either enact necessary change or to positively respond to the changes that are happening around them. Change is good when it is addressed in the appropriate manner. I could not be happier with the changes that are going on right now. This is the time to stand up and show people exactly what I am made of.
There are two major issues/decisions that came up that made it impossible for me to not resign. It does not matter if the decisions were made to “shake the tree to see what falls out, or if it was a direct attempt to personally force me to move on. Either way, “it is what it is” and I do not take business decisions personally. If somebody makes a business decision that negatively affects me, I immediately begin weighing out my options and developing a plan of action. “Sitting back and taking it” has never been an option in my world. In my opinion, positively responding to the business decisions is the only course of action.
There are two very distinct strategies in scheduling your courses. One is to schedule very few courses in order to limit the supply and therefore create a demand for the courses. This is done to maximize the amount of money that you make, for each and every day on the range. This is something that I absolutely disagree with. It is a shortsighted strategy that does not take a number of things into consideration. The other strategy is to put up a moderate number of courses, stay busy, keep your name out there, establish yourself as a force to be reckoned with, and not worry about how much money you can make in each and every day of instructing. This is a strategy that is all about creating your future, it is one that takes the focus off of the short money, and puts the focus on the long money. This has been the strategy that I have successfully used for the last five or six years. This strategy does two very distinct things, it helps establish the Instructors reputation and it affords the students the opportunity to have a good number of choices and options, to find the best training opportunity for themselves. Are there times that my strategy leads to a course that has low enrollments? Yes it does. But the benefits far outweigh the negatives, because it is not just about the short money. In my opinion, low enrollment courses are essential to the advancement of the art and the advancement of the student/Instructor relationship.
Sure, I do enjoy big paychecks……who doesn’t? But on the other hand, I also enjoy small courses where The Pride can workshop skill sets and concepts in the advancement of the art. This is where the future is forged, this is where the personal connections are cemented, and this is an essential part of any successful Instructor. Do not moan and complain about your low numbers, go into the course with the positive attitude that today is the day that the advancement of the art is going to take another kick in the pants.
Notice that only one of these strategies actually benefits the student in any way.
Notice that only one of these strategies can actually be used by an Instructor that wants to make a name for himself.
For 2014, I was told that I was only going to be allowed to teach four local courses and four traveling courses. But when you look at the way the traveling course program was set up, it became very clear that all of the traveling courses were being decimated, due to a financial punishment of any person that wanted to host a course. If you want to host a course, you have to give up one of your allocated courses. I roughly teach between twelve and eighteen courses a year and now I was being told that I can only teach four local courses, because the other four traveling courses are not even possible due to this business decisions to punish people for wanting to host traveling Instructors.
With only being allocated four realistic courses, it became crystal clear that I would have to run a lot more courses than I usually do under my business, Fight Focused Concepts. No big deal I could make that adjustment.
Little did I know that it was not just “how many courses I was teaching, it was much more about “how successful I had become.”
The second business decision, and the one that absolutely forced my hand to resign, was the official dumping of all of my “Specialist” courses. It became perfectly clear that the five to six years that was told to “stand up, stand out, do whatever you feel you should do to become a name Instructor” was now being replaced with “sit down, shut up, and get in line as a good little (insert franchise name) worker.” It would seem that the positive act of doing exactly what I was told to do was now being seen as negative act of creating a sub-culture. The positive act of making a name for myself was now seen as negative act of creating a fiefdom.
One has to ask themselves, why would somebody dump an extremely lucrative portion of their business? The answer is clear when you understand that, in reality, they never wanted for you to become a “name” Instructor because that takes away from the attempted branding of the company. So, instead of embracing my accomplishment, they decided to try to erase my accomplishments.
I have put my heart and soul into my specialty and I have created my own training philosophy. The idea of letting somebody attempt to erase that work is absolutely unacceptable to me. They can attack me from whatever angle they want, but my friends and students know who I am, what I have accomplished, and who I am going to be as I move toward the future.
I stuck around to fulfill my contract and to teach the last few courses out of respect for my students. The lack of respect, integrity, and honor that I have witnessed during this same time period further solidifies the soundness of my decision. I want to once again, have pride in what I do, pride in who I am associated with, and pride in how my customers are treated. I have learned much over the last year about the paragon of customer service in my other job, the contrasts that I see between my two respective jobs is something that I could not accept. I will be bringing the same level of customer service to both of my jobs and the only way to do that is cutting out the absolute disrespect that I have witnessed in the past.
I am proud to announce my moving forward by the official scheduling of my first local course. This is just the start! I will also be looking to travel to a few select venues in 2014 and now is the time to contact me to lock those plans down.
You can register for my course here http://www.fightfocusedconcepts.com/ffc_handgun_courses
You can request a traveling course by contacting me here firstname.lastname@example.org . Those that have already broached the subject with me are at the top of the list.
I am also putting out a public call for CQB venues. If you have a venue contact me at my E-mail address above.
The date for the Extreme Night Fighter course will need to change due to the legal wrangling that have stalled our attempts. I want at least a three-month window to get this course scheduled and will announce it as soon as I work out the logistics.
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