Insight and Responsibility

My last post about Amway Global Accreditation and Bob McEwen’s speech at Yager Internet’s conference has sparked a great deal of discussion, both on the comments here, on Amway Talk, and elsewhere. Of interest was two quite contrasting camps – a significant number of folk were supportive of my comments and expressed dismay at this type of talk occuring at Amway seminars. Numerous Amway critics, many of whom previously associated with the Yager system and it’s offshoots, also commented that political and religious evangelism was one of the aspects of their Amway experience they found most off-putting. A number of current IBOs, including self-identified “conservatives” also expressed their discomfort at these types of talks and their belief they had no place in Amway-related meetings.

By contrast, two Yager-system affiliated IBOs, one current (TB2IBO) and one former (MichMan) simply couldn’t seem to see any problem at all. On Amway Talk one even indicated a belief that this type of talk was a good thing as it filtered out those who couldn’t handle being challenged with beliefs different to their own and whose “dream is not big enough” and don’t understand the business –

If you are the type of person that would get up and leave or quit because of something like this, well, then your dream isn’t big enough or you don’t understand the business (TB2IBO)

With respect, TB2IBO, this is what some critics might term “classic tapespeak”, and it is clearly insulting to me, and indeed anyone else who thinks political talks at Amway seminars are inappropriate. Do these folk actually believe that insulting people is a sensible way to grow a business? Is there a need to filter people like me out of the Amway business?

In contrast to everyone else, TB2IBO and MichMan also felt the talk was within Accreditation guidelines. Let me recap them with regards politics –

C. Political communications
1. Acceptable

a. Statements about capitalism and the free enterprise system and the importance of preserving it.
b. Statements about the economy and its impact on small businesses, in particular an independent Quixtar business.
c. The importance of voting and being informed on issues and candidates.
d. Teachings of America’s or Canada’s Founding Fathers and the lessons of history as they relate to the business climate and economic health of these countries.
e. Character and integrity as important issues in our business and in our elected or appointed government officials.

2. Unacceptable

a. Endorsement or denouncement of specific candidates, political parties, and/or issues, unless specifically related to the operation of independent Quixtar® businesses.
b. Inflammatory labels or personal attacks on the character or integrity of government officials or candidates.

Quite honestly, I can see his perspective here, and that’s part of the problem – by their very nature, political topics are subjective and open to interpretation. This means broad rules like the above can easily be worked around. To the best of my recollection, McEwen didn’t specifically name or attack any candidates or political parties – he didn’t have to, he was very clear through implication whom he was talking about. Now, I personally feel that such sophistry demonstrates  a lack of integrity – it’s nitpicking the words so as to bypass the spirit of the rules – nevertheless, it does abide by the letter of the rules.

The rules also give a further very clear “out”. You can’t endorse/denouce parties or issues “unless specifically related to the operation of independent Quixtar® businesses.” Again, something entirely subjective. Who decides whether something is related to operating a Quixtar business? MichMan was of the opinion that denouncing the idea of human-influenced Climate Change was perfectly acceptable – because (in his opinion) it had a negative influence on the price of gas and was thus directly related to the operation of an Amway Global business.

Again, highly subjective judgements.

Now, I can see there might be times when a political talk at an Amway function is entirely appropriate. What if a candidate had been influenced by anti-mlm crackpots like Jon Taylor and Robert FitzPatrick and believed that all companies using MLM were in fact illegal pyramids and should be shutdown? This is a serious consideration – it’s my opinion that this very thing has occurred with BERR and Amway in the United Kingdom. Clearly Amway business owners would need to be informed about this as it directly affects their business.

It’s my opinion though, that such times are rare, and when such a speech is called for, it should always be handled by a representative of Amway Corporation, not a clearly partisan speaker such as Bob McEwen.

What concerns me the most is the inability of defenders such as TB2IBO and MichMan to see or acknowledge the damage such talks might do to Amway’s reputation and efforts for it to be a business for anyone. This displays a remarkable lack of insight. It doesn’t really matter whether you agree with McEwen or not – it’s clear that a substantial number of people will not, and that a talk such as McEwen’s is unnecessary. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that other Amway support systems have thrived without any need to push particular political or religious viewpoints.

If it’s unnecessary and it offends people – why do it?

In my last post on this topic, I was quite harsh towards Amway with regards the whole accreditation process. This was primarily driven by the knowledge that the McEwen talk was given at the very seminar that Yager Internet was recognized by Amway as a newly accredited organization. The reality is that Amway itself probably did not know the talk was scheduled.

What decides whether Accreditation is a real part of the transformation, or a joke, is how Amway and the IBOAI  responds.

A commenter on the post, John, had the following to say –

The board has been notified of the talk and is taking the proper actions for the future which will be dealt with by the board which as you know got rid of many other LOA’s.

This is pleasing to hear. John also highlights many of the other issues that Accreditation addresses and the positive change it has achieved, particular with regards BSM, and that’s a topic I’ll be addressing soon. Some time ago a higher level pin within Yager InterNET also told me that many changes were occurring within that organisation, but as particular individual Diamonds had always had an enormous amount of control and influence, change was going to be slow and difficult to implement – but that those in charge of InterNET were committed to the transformation. Whether or not this has any bearing on this particular issue I don’t know, but nevertheless it is pleasing to hear and I’m sure they have the support of the vast majority of IBOs both within the Yager InterNET family and the greater Amway world. We’ve been held hostage to the actions of a few for too long.

The Accreditation concept is in my opinion a worthwhile one, and a very smart way to deal with a very difficult issue – how to successfully influence the operations of companies that are legally independent from Amway and Amway business owners. It will take some time, and there’ll be some hiccups. It’s said that old habits die hardest, and some of the habits Accredition addresses have been very much entrenched in some organisations.

Ultimately though, responsibility lies not with Amway, but individual IBOs and IBO organisations. While challenges like the BERR vs Amway UK case have made it clear that Amway must monitor what the field is doing, it’s impossible for them to be everywhere all the time.

IBOs and IBO organisation need to be responsible for their own activities, and to always be aware of the effect those activities have on Amway’s reputation and the businesses of their’s and other Amway IBOs, both today and in the future.

Reputation is cumulative. Everything matters.

19 thoughts on “Insight and Responsibility”

  1. When you attend the functions, there are people from MANY different backgrounds, religions, and cultures. Everyone has different beliefs and values. I don’t see personally see the “value benefit” of talking politics or religions and potentially “hurting” or upsetting a bunch of distributors over stuff that really isn’t relevant to the business. I understand the culture and value a lot of organizations and systems have, and I respect that. I just think they would be much better off to not talk about these things at functions. The last thing you want to do is lose a potentially good distributor because you said something about politics or religion that upset them or offended them.

  2. Also relavant, If you dont think they help you then dont buy them. But eventually i will get in on the money too, so why not. Plus i think like the first 20 or 30 things were given to me i didnt have to buy them. i would estimate over 200-300 dollars worth.

  3. Also relevant to the BSM discussion, I think, is the fact that the systems help a lot of IBOs/ABOs build successful Amway businesses.

  4. #1 You again misstate my position.

    #2 Still trying to figure out why you ignore first hand accounts of tool abuse (go read every blog you have ever commented on) while accepting 2nd and 3rd hand testimony when it supports your positions.

    (BTW, aren’t you the one who wants to end every conversation with this argument… “An inside source at N21, tells me that you are wrong and I am right. So discussion over.”)

    1. #1 in that case I misunderstand your position

      #2 What “abuse” are you talking about? I’m talking about myriad of claims that Diamonds and above earn by far the majority of their income from BSM profit, and that the lifestyles they portray is a result of that income, not Amway.

  5. I will give you a chance to redeem yourself and reserve comment for your bsm post.

    So far your sniping about the Accredidation Process sounds like a 79 year old Sunday School teacher complaining that indicted Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich should stop using the F-word.

    Maybe she is right. A sitting governor probably should not be talking like that.

    But granny is not seeing the big picture.

    1. We just have to agree to disagree. You think it’s perfectly OK for people to use an Amway seminar to promote their particular political agenda’s (irrelevant to the Amway business).

      I, and apparently most other IBOs on Amway Talk, don’t.

  6. All hearsay? Do you even know the definition of the word?

    Here is the definition if you can’t google it yourself:

    “any statement other than that by an actual witness”

    What I have read are a lot of first hand experiences.

    BTW, if you want more “first hand experiences” why don’t you write a post concerning Amway’s secretive arbitration process. The reason there is not more information available is because Amway forces these encounters into secret arbitration procedures instead of in the open court room.

    1. Where are all these “first hand experiences”? Virtually all of the court cases are someone claiming someone else is making all this money on tools. The only “first hand” accounts I know are from Bruce Anderson, Orrin Woodward, and Don whatsisname, all of which had (a) somewhat questionable motives and (b) belonged to the same LOS! Out of the 4000-5000 Diamonds having just three off hand remarks doesn’t exactly consitute evidence of some huge problem. IMO it’s all been hugely exaggerated.

      As for arbitration, I’ve commented numerous times I don’t particularly like the process. It’s no more “secretive” than pretty much any other arbitration setup.

  7. And you, ibofb, continue to make my point.

    First of all, your article was not written in a vaccum. It was written in a decade where the top Amway issue online is the way the tool system is handled.

    So where is your similiar outrage at the way the AMOs have exploited their downlines? Or the deception in the plan used by many LOAs (2-5 year PROVEN plan for financial freedom, 10-15 hours per week, walk away income, etc)

    You say that people are offended at the political statements made from stage. That may be so. You, and Amway, say that these opinions should not be part of a business meeting. No big disagreement there.

    But where is your outrage at the way the LOAs have taken advantage of rank and file ibos? There is more online commentary about bsm abuse than politicizing from the stage. But all you ever do is make excuses and look the other way when these topics come up.

    Why don’t you take them to task the way you do your political opponents?

    1. As I told you on the forums MichMan, if someone can show me some hard evidence of anything to be outraged by, then I’ll show some “outrage”. At present there’s nothing more hearsay. The “online commentary” is all second, third, fourth hand and more – and much of it is demonstrably false. Having said that, as it happens I do have a BSM post in the works.

  8. Maybe I’m naive, but I think that I am a pretty good judge of character and understand a person’s true motives. Regarding the issue of profit associated with business support materials (BSM/tools) I wholeheartedly believe that the primary reason IBO leaders recommend BSMs is because they believe it will help the IBOs who use the tools grow their businesses. Regardless, eight bucks for a 70 minute CD or $15 for a business book just doesn’t seem outrageous. $15 for a four-hour seminar seems reasonable. (I’ve spent $20 for Chamber of Commerce two-hour seminars.) As I’ve matured in the business and have settled in to a predictable level of activity, I feel capable of making wise choices regarding the amount of money that I invest in tools. BSMs have always been promoted from stage, but I’ve never had anyone jerk my arm up behind my back and march me into the tool room and say, “You need this and that…” If I were to do it all over again I would have asked for more guidance from my up-line about what tools I should get. I think they would have steered me away from making some of the purchases that I did.

    According to Tex, every higher pin affiliated with an LOA is a “lying cowardly kingpin” who deserves eternal torture. I just can’t relate to the viewpoint that sees the worst in people, especially without even taking the time to know the people. Tex, feel free to reprint this on your blog and refer to me as “wimp extraordinaire”. 🙂

    1. “I wholeheartedly believe that the primary reason IBO leaders recommend BSMs is because they believe it will help the IBOs who use the tools grow their businesses.” this is so true. I didnt buy any for the first year of my business because I was “self motivated” i only sponsored a handfull of people and could barely sell any product. then I started reading and listening to cds and going to functions the best business decision i ever made. Im sponsoring steady and have over $400 in sales each of last 4 months. Im making enough to cover costs and starting to make more. I have never in that first year been told i have to do something. The first time i was asked if i wanted to buy and i said no, he never asked again, but continued to help me. Now im sure hes glad i stuck with helping me.

  9. I am one of those “self-identified ‘conservatives'” to which IBOFB refers.

    The point is, whether or not I agree with what is being said from the stage regarding politics or religion, is NOT the point. 🙂

    It has to do with whether it is appropriate or inapproriate for the venue.

    It is inappropriate to use one’s influence (leadership) to push his/her political and/or religious agenda at a BUSINESS meeting.

    THAT is the point.

    One can talk about free enterprise and faith without talking about politics and religion.

    Doesn’t it make sense to create a welcoming environment for all who wish to pursue an Amway business, regardless of their political and/or religious beliefs?

    Do we wish to create an environment which alientates people and discriminates against them?

    Seems not only mean-spirited, but bad for business. 🙂

  10. ***** (MichMan) simply couldn’t seem to see any problem at all. *****

    As Ronald Reagan said, “There you go again…”

    My first reaction to your post was this- There are a lot bigger problems with the LOAs than this one talk on global warming.

    The bigger issue is the money.

    My second thought was that you seemed to be more offended by his conservative politics than anything else.

    1. MichMan, we went through this ad nauseum on Amway Talk. You’re simply reconfirming my point … that you don’t see the point! It’s got nothing to do with whether the talk was conservative or liberal and nothing to do with my political leanings either – on Amway Talk IBOs from all over the political spectrum agreed the talk was not appropriate and had no place at an Amway-affiliated event.

      In any case, it would appear that you haven’t actually watched McEwen’s talk? Only part of it was on climate change, and it wasn’t the main topic

  11. Exactly. If Amway desires to break into the Top 10 Most Admired Brands in America (North America). Independent business owners including those affiliated with training systems, need to reflect long and hard on what the benefits to their businesses would be IF Amway Global were to break into the Most Admired category. They also need to believe it’s possible, and then act accordingly.

    Great post!!! 🙂

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