Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Upline Wants My Success?

One of the things my upline leaders used to always talk about was how they wanted everyone to succeed. Looking back, I believe they were lying and simply wanted the faithful downline to keep spending money on tools whether they succeeded or not. Now I am not claiming that every single upline leader does this, but primarily the ones who run "systems", such as WWDB, N21, BWW, LTD and some others.

When I stopped and really thought about it, pretty much every piece of advice I received, I had to pay for. Voicemails, standing orders, functions, open meetings. I know these are supposedly optional, but in reality, they are a defacto requirement. Anyone with a "dream" is going to buy the tools because the leaders will tell you that you cannot succeed without tools. Ironically, the same leaders will blame individuals and cite personal responsibility for the failure of downline IBOs, even the ones who did everything they were told.

The leaders are edified and touted as having great business and financial acumen, thus not following their advice would seem foolish. Yet Amway defenders will try to claim that IBOs should discern the good and the bad and operate independently. It's a redundancy that many people do not see. Sure, a downline should not jump off a cliff because upline said they would pad their fall with a pile of cash, but many IBOs put in an earnest effort in Amway, only to fail because of the handicaps and reputation issues that Amway has. These IBOs are told they were lazy or quit too soon, or did not try hard enough. Yet the very few who manage to break thru are edified along with the system while ignoring the multitudes who do not make it.

The bottom line for IBOs and prospects to know, is that I believe most IBO leaders do not know you or care about you and your success. They are more interested in selling you websites, voicemail, standing orders and functions. They know that people will come and go and they are perfectly happy replacing quitters with new people, as long as the system tools keep flowing. I believe some of the US diamonds are now hurting as Amway is apparently shrinking in the US. I read recently of Amway downsizing some of their operations, seemingly confirming that US sales are down. Also to note, Upline leaders would have to share tool profits with new emeralds and diamonds, which is why I believe they do not want new success.

I believe that Amway, other MLM businesses, Kiyosaki, or real estate gurus all have very limited or rare success with their financial systems. Infomercials usually have a disclaimer that success is a "UNIQUE" experience. Amway is no different. But I believe in all of these cases, more money is generated in selling the system than by actually running the system. If not, success stories would be rampant and people would line up to sign up instead of having to be deceived into even hearing the pitch.


kwaaikat said...

Some defenders will argue (as they have done in the past) that their particular upline want their downline to succeed because they are nice supportive people, of whom they say, is unlike the pushy bunch Joecool descibes. So how do we know? It is often impossible to know with certainty what people want. The wisest thing to do, is to be conscious of incentives that drive people.

That is why a judge does not preside where he has a connection to the victim or accused, not even if he has shown exemplery integrity throughout his life. That is why people cannot audit their own affairs, why big sports games are not refereed by officials close to either teams, even if they have impeccable records in applying the rules objectively. Because human beings are human beings, as society we don't put people in positions where they are tempted with serious conflict of interests. Everyone is prone to bias, but not everyone is blatant. What good people in compromised positions are tempted to do, in the face of poor judgement, if those decisions or advice serves their incentives, is to self justify their decisions, even to the point of attempting to convince themselves and soothe their own conscience. Incentive is a powerful thing, and an incentive that conflicts with a role, is looking for big trouble.

When it comes to business mentoring, a mentor should be uninvolved completely with the business they advise on, or he should be a shareholder who's beholden to the net profit bottom line, for better or for worse. That will incentivise them, and on that count alone, to seek the best for the business they mentor. They can't be in the middle, for example, have a stake in sales volumes, but not in bottom line net profit. An upline may appear to want downline success because increased sales volume seems to benefit both. That however, is a very simplistic and naive understanding of business.

A mentor who is part of a network where he himself has a business, that benefits from increasing volumes from the very business they advise, but not incentivesed by the bottom line, is a guarantee of trouble. A mentor that is part of the network that distributes the services and materials that the advised business has as expenses, is a serious conflict of interest. Such a person, however nice, friendly or supportive (which is not a bad strategy to reach THEIR incentives), has just about the worst possible credentials for mentoring your business.

Such a mentor is incentivised to recommend increased sales (regardless of whether it's worth the time, effort and benefit), is often under pressure to encourage high expenses, and highly incentivised to advise against quitting. Now, one might say hurray, but there certainly is a time for quitting, even for serious business builders. Discarding loosing ventures is part of a successful career in business. Not doing that, can destroy a business career.

A mentor incentivised to recommend increasing sales volume for it's own sake, to recommend "investment in your business to grow it", or to recommend against quitting is a terrible idea. Sure there is a place for such advice, but there is a place for cutting expenses (one of the big reasons for business failure), and a place not to prioritise volumes above everything else (another big reason for failure), and even a place to stop betting on a loosing horse. A mentor whose fortunes will be hurt if you do any of these, is compromised, and unlikely to recommend such actions, even at times when they are the best for your business at the time.No real self respecting business will hire such a compromised mentor. No real self respecting business is on call every day at the behest of a micro managing mentor.

No mentor that agrees to the above, can persistently have your best interests at heart, not even if he genuinly wants to.

Anonymous said...

Amway preaches the FANTASY of being debt-free, but practices the REALITY of debt enslavement.

And yes, it's true -- up-line simply does not care whether you as an IBO make money or not. They really don't. Their only concern is that you keep on buying CDs and tapes and attending meetings and showing up at functions.