The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.
These past couples of weeks have led up to a defining moment in my young adult life. Shortly upon my return to the U.S. after my trip to Bali I walked in to a shit storm. Unlike most working professionals, the industry I have worked in for the past 6 years of my life has a way of creeping in to ones personal life. The line between professional and personal life gets very blurry because in the Multi-Level-Marketing industry, it is a relationship business, and at the end of the day, people have gotten in to business with me because they respected me, and they trusted me not just in business, but also in a personal way because they saw how I lived my life.
It’s sad how in desperate times, people who are the closest to you can hurt you the most. Not because that was their intention, but because when a person gets scared, they tend to do what is in the best interest for themselves and their family. In this past week, I watched the top guy (master distributor) in our company, someone who was a close friend and mentor of mine completely screw our mutual owner of our company and engage in the most below the belt tactics to get a group of distributors to follow him in to a different company.
The weekend leading up to this, I was in Las Vegas attending MFest with my buddy Cody. I had gotten news that a couple of groups in my organization had left to go to other companies. I had a feeling something bad was brewing and felt that I should get my ass to Salt Lake City to get to the bottom of it.
In my industry, when people start leaving, it’s because they have lost faith and feel that they cannot achieve their dream with our company. As a leader, when faced with this I have to ask myself some very hard questions, this is usually how they go:
- Was my distributor unwilling to take the necessary steps for him/herself to be successful?
- Did I fail as an “up-line” or leader because I didn’t support them accordingly?
- Did they leave because the company’s inability to offer value to this individual?
- Is our culture broken or not a culture that evokes growth and retention?
The distributors that I lost were not people who sucked, in fact they were very good friends of mine and some of the top people in my sales organization. Their departure sent me a clear message that they were done and fell in to one of the categories listed above. They explained that I didn’t fail them, but the company and the culture did, and although that made me feel a little better, I still lost them.
In the weeks leading up to my trip to Salt Lake City I was waiting to hear back from our master distributor on a possible investment in to out company. He told me that there were some promising people who were looking at investing in to our company. Sick of waiting, and having been told all kinds of things before that didn’t end up happening I decided to give him a deadline to come through on some of the promises that he was making.
The Deadline was on the Friday that I was on the way up to Vegas and the day after I suffered the loss of those two groups from my sales organization. After speaking with the Master Distributor, I felt as if he was bull-shitting me again, and buying time, something he is a master at. I took it upon myself to drive out to Utah and get to the bottom of it because I felt that I was just never going to get a straight answer over the phone. When I got there, I discovered that there were in fact NO investors and quickly realized that our master distributor and my friend and mentor Bryan was planning a strategic hostile takeover of the RevvNRG distributor base.
I was faced with the fear of my own loss, thinking to myself if this is successful and I end up on the wrong side of it, I’ll be broke and the 5 years I spent building this business will have gone to waste. I also thought about all of the relationships and promises I had made to people over the past 5 years and how my character and integrity would be questioned. I realized very quickly that I had to make a decision and do it fast as time was not on my side. It’s times like these that can confuse a person what the “right” thing to do is. I mean, here I have my friend and mentor in one ear telling me that I should follow him using every single persuasive tactic in the book to get me to get behind him. I was conflicted because I had a feeling that our mutual owner had no idea what was happening. When I asked Bryan if he had gone to Scotty (Our owner) and told him what he was planning, Bryan tried to dodge the answer in his usual style answering with out a simple yes or no, but basically explained to me that he hadn’t in fact discussed any of this with Scotty in a very eloquent way.
I have been alive long enough to know that if I act without integrity, I may get away with it for a while, but eventually the lies and deceit will catch up to me. This is why I live so rigorously honest today. Doing the right thing, especially when no one is looking is a matter of life and death for me personally. When I got sober almost 13 years ago, I was a liar, cheat, and a thief. It took me years to get honest with myself and to make all of the amends to clear the wreckage of my past. Eventually, after year’s sobriety, hard work, dedication and rigorous honesty with my fellows, and myself, I achieved what few people in life ever do; I was even with the world. I had paid back all the money, made all of the apologies and lived my life in a way where I would work carefully at all my endeavors as to not create new wreckage, and when I did make mistakes, I would correct them immediately preventing those shortcomings from festering and eating away at my soul.
I watched many men fail to do the right thing ultimately leading them to drink again, wind up in jail or just live a miserable existence filled with guilt, anger, and shame. I vowed a long time ago to NEVER end up like this. My mentors were gleaming examples of the type of life you get to live by always acting with integrity.
They led by example and would always tell me that serenity won’t come from a pile of money but from the respect of your peers. Perry P would always say, “you can’t be one guy in one area, and another guy in another area, a scum bag is a scum bag even if the guy does some good things too.” Perry always made it black and white, he’d say “You either tell the truth or you don’t kid, there’s no in between.” My other mentor Mike W. used to tell me that by standing aside and doing nothing when I could bring someone or something to justice by telling the truth was just as bad as the guy lying about it to begin with.
The bottom line is that I was in a position where I had knowledge of something happening that if brought to the right people, the lies would be exposed and something potentially harmful and hurtful could be stopped. I called a couple close friends who were long time Multi Level Marketing guys and sought some council with close friends. Just as my mentors would have advised, told me go forward and expose the lies.
I broke the story to our owner Scotty and called my team to action to help me prepare a conference call the field explaining and trying to prime them for what was about to ensue.
I began to get attacked from all angles and the shit storm commenced. I began to see how much or how little influence I had on the group as a whole. Even with factual empirical evidence people still believed what they wanted too. It was as if I was telling them the sky was blue and they still didn’t believe me even though they could walk outside and see it with their own eyes.
As each day went by I kept finding out more and more bad stuff about my former mentor and master distributor Bryan. Turns out that he had quite a few back door deals, and that his current financial situation didn’t seem to add up to what he would have me believe. Allegedly, there were large sums of money MISSING, and outstanding debts from prior lawsuits that were being paid off. Money given to him as an investment that was meant for opening international markets for RevvNRG never made it to the intended recipient.
After watching this drama unfold I couldn’t help but feel relieved that I made the right decision, but I felt remorseful towards Bryan’s wife and kids who I had come to know over the years and probably had little to no knowledge of what was happening. I also began to feel really bad for all of the distributors that were caught in the middle of this and made a quick decision based out of fear because they felt they were going to lose something or not achieve their dreams without Bryan.
I spent the next week on the phone with our owner Scotty trying to come up with a solution that would save the company. A couple of days after the siege, Scotty and his wife sue were feeling the pressure and it was time to stand up and make some tough decisions.
Within days of the fallout, the sides were divided and the people left on our side quickly got to work on a solution. Within days we put our heads together and aligned ourselves with the right people coming to a solution that would not only fix the current situation, but in one fail swoop eliminate and take care of some future and past problems that we had as well.
The moral of the story was that truth, and doing the right eventually paid off as it always has. There is no such thing as a short cut, or luck, you make your own way, and if you do it dishonestly or burning bridges along the way, eventually there will be nowhere or no one left to work with or help you out in a time of need. The RevvNRG brand lives on and is about to be 10 times bigger and in 11 new countries 😉 hint hint!!
As I finish writing this it is close to midnight and is technically my birthday. I’ll be turning 29 years old today, and even though I’m far from home and have been stressed out over the past couple of weeks, I’m going to sleep well tonight knowing that I have a clear conscious, a bright future and a hell of a lot of people who love and respect me. That’s a whole lot of things to be grateful for.
I am excited to see how the next couple of weeks unfold, my prediction, EPIC!!!!!!
For more information on the what’s happening in my MLM business, stay tuned to this blog and my Facebook page as I will be posting videos and blogging about the big news coming!!!!
Good job man!
Thanks for keeping it real. I appreciate the honesty!!!!
You know I will!
Fresh. The world rises and falls on leadership. Happy Birthday! This is why we never engaged.
Well, its a whole new world now with the ARIIX merger, the future is bright and exciting again, and I can’t wait to see what I will be able to do with a whole new group of AWESOME professional business people!
Well, it’s a whole new ball game now Shannon. Lets put together the All Star team!!!