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“Together Everyone Achieves More… That’s what TEAM means, so let’s work it out together!” These were my words to my first successful venture into the network marketing and direct sales arena and although I did not have a clue about how I or my team would become a success in this business, we sat down in my overpriced apartment and decided that failure was no longer an option. This paper is focused on the small team experiences that I have been a part of after making the decision to become a member of the network marketing industry. The team, its communication and leadership behaviors, problems (encountered and overcome) and its effectiveness are discussed. This is in no way an attempt to expose or identify the business by name of affiliation; several events within this paper are generic to the industry at large. Describing the team of green network marketers would almost be akin to the blind leading the blind, in the sense that we had no clear clue on how to make this business of ours work and generate a significant income. This team of independent business owners (which became the first mastermind group) assembled for the purpose of building an organization that could generate an income that at least matched what we were making in our present occupations, thus allowing each of us an option to work a job or exclusively for ourselves. At the time, we were learning from a gentleman that we identified as our mentor in the business.
He was the number one money earner in the entire company as well as having made a name for himself in the industry as someone who was a success at having success. Initially, the team’s behavior was a reaction of being somewhat awestruck at how this gentleman rose to the top of the company within 90 days. This was significantly impressive to each of us because of the rapid success that we witnessed, but this event would also be our greatest problem to overcome. Over time, our behavior shifted from being in awe of this gentleman to being unselfish promoters of this man and supporting his self-branded team in which we were a small part of. We promoted every event, every conference call, every accomplishment, etc. that this gentleman experienced as if each experience was our own.
From these actions, our teams did grow, sales did create some significant profits, but this is exactly where the problems began. With our team’s behavior shifting from being motivated to becoming managers of our individual teams, profits began to shrink. We assumed that this was from inactivity and made the correction to jumpstart the team’s prospecting for both new consumers of our product as well as new business partners who shared the same vision and mindset that we did when we started out in the industry. Profits began to grow once again and we realized our first real problem. The gentleman who was the number one income earner and the team mentor had decided to leave the company after being a part of it for a total of eight full months. Now this happens in every business opportunity and in every company, but the issue for our team started the very moment that this gentleman decided to leave. The promotion that we did to grow our business proved to produce more people loyal to him instead of each of us.
The sad truth was that this gentleman was in the business of moving entire teams of loyal distributors from previous companies that he involved himself with into the new companies that he was paid to become a part of. In essence, the individuals in the other companies unwittingly promoted this gentleman and built his loyal base of network marketers who wanted to follow the top money earner to the next opportunity. This was the sole reason this gentleman could reach the top of the compensation plan at each company he connected with to include ours. We were forced to start our individual businesses all over again from scratch. Being the leader of this small team, I immediately made several decisions with the hope that the team would follow my vision because now the team was decimated, and we all needed to make an income fast. The solution was to start from scratch with a new opportunity at a new company and to do so by avoiding the opportunity for top income earners to get the promotional foothold deep enough inside of our businesses to allow the same events to take place again. Part of this new solution was to only promote each other and to brand ourselves first, before we promoted any company, product, and pay plan, etc. because we needed to stand out from the crowd. This solution did not come without a price however when only one of my teammates decided to follow me with my proposed plan.
The other team members decided to link back up with the gentleman who left us high and dry in our previous company. Personally, I spoke with each member of the team and explained to each team member exactly what events took place, but the lesson of greed was soon taught to me on a personal level when all but one of my teammates trusted me enough to follow my lead. Now as a team, we were no longer effective, but teams can always be rebuilt. My sole partner and I decided to set our goals as simple and direct as possible, “To build our brand from the Me, Incorporated standpoint while exposing people to our products by word of mouth.” Our roles would be to prospect for new business partners as well as new consumers and to teach each group to do the same. The rules were simple; everyone works for themselves so all efforts are directed to self-promotion and individual goals. We would also have an accountability partner to help each team member stay on track with their own goals.
Communications was a must and if any issues came up, direct them to the up line manager for clarification and guidance. As a group working this way, we became unmessable. From this point, our team flourished and at present, we have been successfully able to reach the previous team’s goal of gaining an option. In this paper, I have focused on the small team experiences that I have been a part of in the network marketing industry. The team, its communication and leadership behaviors, problems that were present and effectively overcome were discussed. More important, the value of persistence and never quitting has had a positive impact on my life as well as the lives of those who have partnered up with me in business. That in itself is the best and greatest reward.
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