Monday, May 9, 2011

An Eighty Percent Failure Rate is Not Acceptable

Part 2 of a series on the Social Franchising of Peace Centers International, Inc.

When I was finishing my ministerial training in 2002, we were required to attend a week long intensive where the experts in our denomination walked us through the secrets of church management. Since we are a small denomination, candidating for open pulpits was a slim prospect for the flood of new ministers. What was presented to the class was the opportunity to start a church from scratch. This also was the growth strategy for the denomination…”church planting” as it is called in some circles. 

“For those of you starting new works, eighty percent of you will fail within five years,” the instructor told us. “That’s par with all new business start ups.” He went on to say, “this is a franchise without an operating manual.” I asked why there was no operating manual, which, “par with new franchise openings” would more than quadruple the odds of success.

He said, “Success or failure doesn’t lie in the presence or absence of an operating manual. It lies in consciousness. If you don’t have what it takes in consciousness for the ministry, you will pick the wrong location, you’ll pick the wrong Board, you will have the wrong ad message, people won’t find you no matter what you do.”

“Your job,” he continued, “Is to build consciousness. If you’re supposed to succeed, you’ll succeed. If you’re supposed to fail, you’ll fail. It is consciousness that prevails.”

On the one hand, what he was saying was true for an individual. On the other hand, what I heard him saying was that the denomination on the whole was OK with an 80% failure rate! I’m sure that simplified life in the Growth and Development Department…or frustrated the hell out of them. But writing off an 80% failure rate to individual consciousness was perhaps an attitude that paved the way for the cancellation of 67 PeaceCenters, who were enrolled but not supported to succeed or grow. It would stand to reason that we need to support growth if we expect to, well, grow.

I believe consciousness has changed since that time, at least mine has. It has changed up to a greater vision of what Peace Centers can be and do, and how they can operate as a mighty force of good in the world. There is an organizational consciousness of success that is as committed to the success of its affiliates as it is to the mission of peace itself!  Would you agree that THAT would make a difference?

Yes, I believe that consciousness is what creates growth and sustainable success, yet consciousness leaves evidence!  A consciousness of growth and sustainable success is evidenced by a standard operating procedures manual, for example, that has been tried and tested in the marketplace. I believe that consciousness allows us to choose and select best practices and collect them in one place for the benefit of all. I believe that those who desire to succeed and who are in need of practical support will, through their consciousness, connect with these proven solutions and THEN IMPLEMENT THEM. 

That day in 2002 was indeed a strange launch to a wonderful career, but it gave rise to many key decisions I made since then. I decided that I could be the first to go through the discomfort of trial and error, not begrudgingly, but consciously and deliberately, to take copious notes on what worked, what didn’t, and why. And I would gladly do the research, and “pay the tuition” in the school of the marketplace, in order to show others how to build consciousness for success of their centers in very specific ways. Why? Because when it comes to transforming lives and making a difference on the planet, an 80% failure rate is simply not acceptable.

You’ve built your consciousness and I know you will continue to do so. Yet, if despite your efforts, you are tired of endless trial and error in your calling to create more good in the world, there are several steps you can take now to demonstrate more success:

  • The easiest place to start is with a visit to our website where you can learn more about our social franchise, Peace Centers International, Inc.
  • You can join the conversation on Twitter! @PeaceCentersInt
  • You can write to us about your experiences trying to replicate your own nonprofit enterprise at
  • You can join our Million and ONE campaign - donate just $1 to help peace grow FAST! Go here for more info:
  • You can become a social franchisee of Peace Centers International, Inc.
Begin by making an appointment to visit our “mother store” in Berwyn, IL and meet directly with me!
Margo Ruark, President
Peace Centers International, Inc.
6833 Stanley Avenue
Berwyn, IL 60402
Phone: 708-749-8888 (office) 773-339-4696 (cell)

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