Location: Wisconsin, United States

I am a convert to the Catholic Church after serving in ordained ministry for more than nine years in another denomination. I hold a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in historical theology, and another in systematic theology, and am currently working (very slowly) on my doctorate. I work in Christian Education and Formation and teach at the University level. I am blessed with a wonderful wife and eight great kids! When I'm not studying, reading, or blogging, I enjoy eating and drinking! Like Bilbo Baggins, I have been specializing in food for many years, and my table has a high reputation!

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Girard's Law

Joe Girard was a salesman. Indeed, he was a dynamite salesman. He is a 12-time "Salesperson of the Year" award winner and is listed in the Guiness Book of Records. Over the years both in sales and in motivational speaking, he developed a communications concept now known as "Girard's Law". He learned that most people typically know about 250 other people fairly well -- well enough to take/give advice on purchases, dining experiences (and to show up at funerals). He then took this idea a step further. He reasoned that if he provided outstanding service to one person, before long up to 250 people would know that Girard provided outstanding service. And those 250 people (who also know 250 people) would continue to spread the word. He also realized that the reverse was also true. If he cheated a customer, or treated one poorly, pretty soon there would be a stadium-sized crowd that would not buy from Girard.

It makes a great deal of sense once you think about it. Now, with the absolute explosion of internet use and the number of persons who read and/or write blogs, forums, and the like, my guess is (and I don't have solid figures here) that the number of contacts one could have would be exponentially greater than 250. (Although this is not intended to be a post on the CEC, the events in that denomination over the past 18 months -- and the reporting of those events, both positively and negatively on blogs and forums tends to prove my point.)

Because of how Girard's Law operates, there are probably 250 persons whom I didn't know previously, who would love to have a meal with me. (The reverse is also true!!!!!!! There are probably 250 persons who would love to see my goose get cooked!!!!!!!)

Let me give an example. I am aware of a small Christian elementary/high school on the East Coast which has recently experienced a bit of a difficulty with a student and a couple of parent/ guardians. The issues involved were relatively minor, and in a perfect world, could have been cleared up by a brief meeting with the parties involved. Unfortunately, two members of the administration of this school have decided to stonewall and have utterly refused to meet with one of the parent/guardians involved.

Now, Girard's Law comes into play.

You have one concerned family (currently paying three tuition bills); you have a second concerned family cutting off financial support and refusing to send their children to the school; you have several other concerned families asking what is going on -- and now, you are reading this account on a blog some 800 miles away. I'm in the education business myself, and I know how small Christian schools operate on shoestring budgets. The loss of several students and potential students over a single misunderstanding will be a terrible financial "hit". I'm sure many of my readers know the sacrifices parents make when they choose private schools for their children -- and parents paying thousands of dollars per student per year do have the right to expect certain minimal courtesies! This is not rocket science!

But pride is a terrible thing . . . and Girard's Law has no pity.

Papa Z

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Blogger Fred said...

Thanks for sharing about Girard's law. It is quite true.

Indeed, 'tis quite true what you have posted about the Christian School on the East Coast. To be more specific, the school is in Frederick, Maryland.

It has been very sad to see how the school has hid behind walls of super spirituality, contracts, rightness, while refusing to look at the potential they could be at fault at least 1%.

In the mean time, 2 students have been tested and are a good bit below grade level, which makes the other conerns EVEN MORE VALID.

What is wrong with this school? Only God knows. I am concerned with what they are hiding and why they are so scared to talk with parents of students and other supporters of the school.

Any suggestions???

9:19 PM  
Blogger stlouismb said...

Thanks for the lesson on Girard's Law. I hope the school works it out.

So when is dinner?


12:27 AM  
Blogger David Zampino said...

Unfortunately, the situation has NOT "worked itself out" -- and the school has lost several students, much financial support, and a valued volunteer.

All for the lack of a brief meeting.

CS Lewis was right. Pride is indeed the chief of sins.

7:58 PM  

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