Monday, November 22, 2010

No Turning Off Your True Self When You're Online

Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill
‎"When it comes to technology in general, and social networking in particular, the heart is simply revealed."

--excerpted from a piece by Mark Driscoll in the Washington Post.

While he is responding specifically to one issue of  Facebook and adultery, Driscoll's statement addresses a much broader issue relevant to us all.

‎"Impatient, angry people post flame-throwing statements in haste.

Boastful, narcissistic people post statements and photos constantly to ensure we do not ignore them.

Dissident troublemakers post trolling inflammatory comments, seeking to have the same effect as a hose on a bees' nest.

And the perverted pursue illicit connections, including adultery, as they enjoy posting and seeing sexualized photos and statements."

I can attest to the truth of those words, especially having actively engaged on the 'Net on different platforms over the past few years. My online dialogues with a wide spectrum of people have ranged from MySpace (just who is on there anymore?), Facebook  and YouTube to Twitter  and a wide variety of forums and blogs.

In that time, I've engaged in diverse (and hot-button) topics such as Amway, homeschooling, politics, religion, sports, family and money.

Are we all entitled to the occasional "off" day, in which we respond in a way that doesn't reflect our authentic self? Absolutely. But what is the pattern of how we engage with the world--both online and offline?

Years ago, I thought it was a given topic that caused people to respond in a certain way. But through engaging online with hundreds of people from many different walks of life, I've witnessed undeniable, and all too predictable, patterns emerge.

Driscoll's diagnosis puts into words what I've come to firmly believe: cyber-behavior truly is a matter of the heart.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Amway's Flawed 'Forever Pin' Practice

As I’ve chronicled around the Net over the past few years, there are many aspects of the Amway Business that I greatly appreciate and admire.

However, I have never been a fan of the Corporation’s practice that once you achieve a certain level of success in the business, you retain that title for the rest of your life. This is regardless of whether you maintain that level or drop off the face of the Earth.

Until yesterday, I had never seen anything in print about their practice. And now that Amway has explained the reasoning, in writing, my disappointment has deepened.

Over at a new blog, Amway Answers, here’s how the rationale is explained:

“In a way, we liken it to someone who has won an Oscar earned a Nobel Prize or even a Master of Business Administration degree. Similar to the presidency, these titles aren’t stripped away the year after new winners are chosen or a person graduates and no longer attends classes. It’s an achievement that stays with one for a lifetime.”

Comparing building a business to earning a degree is missing the boat. I can study the Amway Business, any business, and know it on a theoretical level, just as I studied my field for my college degree. But as we all know: There is a big difference between knowing and doing.

The other comparisons make no sense because with the Presidency, the Oscar winner, and a Nobel Prize recipient, it is understood that it’s only for a moment in time. In those worlds, there is only one slot to fill each year/term. Not so in the Amway Business.

If you are going to use that type of criteria, then Amway would need to say, “Diamond, 2005” or “Emerald, 1999-2008,” as examples.

“Allowing Amway distributors to earn – and keep – their pins is a form of non-monetary leadership recognition.”

This is a description of positional leadership--the lowest level of leadership. Positional leadership is used to describe the “Do as I say because I’m the boss, I have the title, I outrank you” way of leading. It is not true, influential leadership. It is the antithesis of how successful, long-term, pass-the-torch, Amway Businesses are built.

“It shows others what they, too, can achieve.”

Most people in and outside the world of Amway are under the mistaken impression that if someone is called a Ruby, then they currently have a Ruby business. If they have been referred to as a Diamond for the last 20 years, then they have had a Diamondship for 20 years.

So because of this Flawed Forever Pin Practice (F2P2), distributors have a distorted picture of what “achievement” means.

"People who’ve reached these levels of recognition are qualified to teach and inspire others to do the same.”

To do the same… what? Under Amway’s F2P2, one has to maintain a certain level for a mere six months to garner a life-long title.

I can understand a grace period of a year or maybe even two. But a Diamond, or any pin status, being conferred upon someone forever, without any timeline clarification, is disingenuous. If Amway were transparent on this topic, most of the bad business practices would go away.

Having so much attention placed on only achieving a pin:

*diminishes the integrity of that pin.

*makes asking “Are you a currently qualified Diamond, Emerald, Ruby?” seem disrespectful, with a don’t-ask-don’t-tell vibe to it.

* allows some currently non-qualifying pins, who are maintaining the illusion of being a current such-and-such to persist in deception. And their (positional) leadership with their organization is bad.

Bad for the people in their organization, bad for Amway, and bad for distributors who are upfront about their current level of achievement.

*has a chilling effect on those distributors who want to be honest. As an example, if I say something about my business, I am also saying something about my Upline’s business. If I give details about my current qualification, then I am (since my Upline’s pin level is based on my pin level) also revealing details about my Upline’s business.

*leads to some unstable “strategies” distributors have come up with in building their businesses simply to hit a high pin once, in order to achieve a coveted title.

*places undue and unhealthy emphasis on recognition rather than on things that should matter in a business, like profit and long-term income.

I’d rather have a stable Rubyship for decades, than a Diamondship that spans only a few years. But with the F2P2, Amway, intentionally or not, has trained us all to value the Diamond over the Ruby—regardless of their respective stability. And in doing so, Amway is damaging the DNA necessary for its long-term viability.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

John Maxwell's Five Levels of Leadership

Position-Permission-Production-People Development-Personhood


From the book Developing the Leader Within You

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Digital Communication Can Damage Relationships

In this bloggy, texting, email, instant chat, social media world, oh how we need to hear this.

I wish I didn't have to learn the hard way (more than once) just how foolish it is to "say" things that should either be said in person, or not at all.

This short video has many gems of wisdom on this subject...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Picture This: The iCook Wok from Amway

A couple of months ago, I had my eye on Amway's iCook Wok. The challenge was that I didn't feel that I had enough information to make such a hefty purchase, even with Amway's generous 180-day money-back guarantee on all their products.

A week later, an Amway employee and blogger, Gregory Gronbacher, touted the wok in one of his blog posts over at The Opportunity Zone. I suggested that since Gregory likes cooking, maybe he could do a video demonstrating the wok, since lacked sufficient information to "sell me."

Apparently I wasn't the only one with that recommendation, because here is the video--Gregory and his co-blogger Jennifer Iracki cooking up some lunch.

Thanks so much!