Five powerful principles of true leadership! There has never been a more prominent time for true leaders to emerge. Now more than ever before, true leadership, what we will refer to as “Enlightened Leadership”, is necessary in the network marketing industry. After years of working with a variety of the largest and most successful companies in the world, I have found that true leadership is often like the abominable snow man…its footprints are everywhere but it is nowhere to be found! Let me begin by saying that my purpose in this article is not to necessarily make you feel good — in fact I am fully aware that some of the things I suggest may even ruffle the feathers of many of my personal clients.
My purpose is to make you think; and hopefully challenge you to grow.
If you are up to the challenge, then I commend you, for you already know the integral principle of growth that is imperative for your success as a leader. NULL Principle #1: Enlightened Leaders surround themselves with diversity of thought. They value input and they act upon it. I was speaking to a business partner of mine recently on the way to the airport and I made the observation that most leaders in the network marketing industry are more concerned with building an empire than they are building a business. While corporate America has many downsides one thing is universally true: A Howard Schultz (Starbucks CEO — I highly recommend reading “Pour Your Heart into It”) surrounds himself with a diversity of thinkers… often called a board of directors. These directors provide input into the decision making process. Savvy leaders go one step beyond having a board:
1. The Enlightened Leader regularly solicits input and opinions from their organization (read downline). 2. The Enlightened Leader encourages different opinions and ideas versus stroking their ego with individuals who always tell them they are wonderful and right (this is the toughest one).
All too often I have witnessed the network marketing monarch who believes that all decisions must be made at the top (namely by themselves), that no one can teach my people except our highest company pin levels (usually myself and the people I hand pick), and we don’t need outside help (because we know it all). This is the culprit of a small ego attempting to feel large and is absolutely deadly to the growth of your organization. Oh yes, this approach will bring you success to a point, and maybe it has worked to a degree in the past, but this approach died centuries ago in America with Democracy and nothing is more certain than the fact that it is a dying approach to building your business in this millennium. By the way, participation and commitment goes beyond even Democracy. Having a say in matters, and being truly valued, is much more than having a vote. While I do agree that it’s the Enlightened Leaders role to provide duplicable systems and processes — it is not their role to control thought (Hitler did this successfully…for a time). This approach is self-serving and limits each team member’s ability to be unique and grow.
People want and need to be led…truly led. The Enlightened leader builds a following out of commitment versus compliance.
It is almost certain that at this juncture, regardless of your product — you do not own your market. Now, let that sink in for a moment. If you have read this far and are not ruffled yet…I promised to make you think…get ready. Principle #2: Market leadership and success is NOT about your product! WOW! Now this is a controversial one isn’t it?
Here’s the bottom-line: chances are great that you do not own your market.
Time after time I hear the stories, “We have hired the best scientists in the world to research and develop our product — there is nothing like this on the market — we have spared no expense — we are the only company so committed to quality that we gave our developers an open checkbook.” Sound familiar? I could go on and on but the cold hard facts are that everyone is saying this. If you have had you finger on the pulse of the marketplace to any degree you know this is true. Now you might say, “OK James, but it really is true about my products! They really are the best.” And maybe it is true for your product, but the point that you and I must realize is that if we are hearing this story in a variety of places—so is our public and our prospects. Because I have the luxury of working with a variety of companies in the industry (as well as corporate America), I can tell you of countless times I have heard the exact same story (change a word here or there) in different companies. This is true for your “competitor” in network marketing as well as non-network marketing. I recently spoke for a health and nutrition supplement company that was non-network marketing and I could have sworn I was hearing the same story as I had heard countless times in the networking industry. Is it any wonder that your prospects are often skeptical? Do you have a quality product — you better have! Do you believe in your product — it is a must! But ultimately it is not about the product.
True leaders understand that their success does not come from the product it comes from their people.
I’ve heard the owner of a large and successful corporation quoted frequently as saying, “It’s not about the people it is about the product.” This is a grave oversight and sends a message to all members that, “our product is so good that it sells itself — I don’t need you and you don’t need the people in your downline.” Now, while I strongly believe that this leader does not intend to propagate this message, this philosophy cannot help but create a culture that does not truly value each individual and allow them to fully actualize their potential. The shocking reality is that you don’t even need a great product to succeed. Do you think McDonalds has the best hamburgers available? No way! And yet I bet if you are a parent you have been there frequently. Why? McDonalds is world renowned for its “University” in which it builds identity, pride, values, duplicable systems and (you guessed it) …people. Your kids don’t buy paper-thin no meat hamburgers — they buy a “happy meal” — a fun experience in a fun environment. Do you think that Southwest Airlines is the best airlines in the industry? Once again, no way! Flying Southwest is like being in a cattle car; and if you’re hungry you’re in trouble because they don’t even serve paper-thin hamburgers—ever! Yet Southwest has a 60% market share of all the markets they serve non-stop. Why? Competitive prices and a unique experience once again provided by …the people (numerous times I’ve flown Southwest and heard hilarious jokes being told over the PA system as well as being served by flight attendants that were obviously having fun). Now you might be thinking, “What does that have to do with me and my network marketing organization?” The answer is everything.
One of my fundamental findings in life is that truth is timeless and universal.
In my learning system, The Science of Success, I discuss the seven laws that govern our universe and likewise our success. One of those laws is the Law of Cause and Effect. This law basically states that “like causes produce like effects.” In other words, the same principles that work for Ray Kroc and McDonalds, Herb Kelleher and Southwest Airlines, if applied to your business will work for you. In fact, it’s a must. You don’t need a great product in today’s market to succeed.
You need a “good product” and GREAT people.
Time and time again I have witnessed individuals do incredibly well with a “good” product. It was their personal greatness that caused them to consistently win. Likewise, I have seen individuals with a
great product fail because of their unwillingness to pursue their own greatness. Principle #3: Enlightened Leadership is about people. There are three types of assets that you have in your network marketing business: 1. Physical (read product and tools) 2. Financial 3. Human While all three are important, the true leader puts primary emphasis on asset number three.
Common sense tells us that the human asset should be primary since this asset determines what to do with the other two.
Unfortunately, this is common sense that’s not often commonly practiced. Your business is a direct reflection of you. If your business is growing and expanding it’s absolutely certain that you are growing and expanding… likewise your people.
- Mindset over Materials – and Most Everything Else by James Ray - August 1, 2006
- Enlightened Leadership by James Ray - June 1, 2006