Thursday, November 04, 2010

Apprenticeship and Leadership

I got a mention in my upline's newsletter today, congratulating me on reaching my first bonus level.

Thanks, Amanda!

I'm not resting on my laurels yet; I have more bonus levels to reach for personal retail, the top one being 24%. That may have to wait a bit, but it's still a goal.

My next goal is two active distributors by the end of 2010. With less than 2 months to go, I can either get panicked, or get moving. Guess which I've gone for?

So far this month, I've had 3 enquiries and I've shown the opportunity video provided by Kleeneze to all 3 people. No feedback so far. That's typical and I'm not fussed about the lack of uptake. Proverbs about "leading horses to water" are there for a reason, after all.

The problem many new entrants into network marketing have with building a team is not a lack of detail on what to do, it's a combination of information overload and lack of confidence. Dealing with that killer combo takes time and experience.

That's where being a leader comes in.

To lead properly, you need to learn how to serve first.

Traditionally, people were apprenticed for 4 to 7 years before they were deemed capable of working on their own. During that time, they were taught all the details of how to be a competent member of their work community. They weren't paid, but the master craftsman who taught them would house, feed and clothe them during their apprenticeship.

Once they had completed their apprenticeship, they were entitled to charge for a day's work; they were now called journeymen. Some journeymen travelled all over the country, learning new skills from other masters in the appropriate guild. Many were effectively full-time employees.

To be accepted as a master and thus have apprentices of their own, they had to produce a piece of work known as a masterpiece. If that was accepted by their guild, they could join and call themselves a master craftsman.

This is exactly what we go through as team leaders and team builders within network marketing.

The problem is, many newcomers expect to go from application form to mastery within weeks or months. They don't realise that they are apprentices, that they will need to spend time as an apprentice before they move on to the next stage and that their outgoings may well match the income from their new business for a year or two. They don't listen to advice, think they know better and re-invent wheels faster than you can count the cliches in this paragraph.

Worse, they apprentice themselves to people who are still apprentices or journeymen. You now have the classic downhill spiral - demoralised wannabe masters leave in a huff, claiming that their upline is rubbish and thus demoralising the upline team.

I was "lucky" with Kleeneze (in that "the harder I work, the luckier I get" way). I'm in Gavin Scott's downline. Gavin has been Distributor of the Year twice and his group has the highest turnover in Kleeneze. I've apprenticed myself to a master craftsman who has been doing this for 18 years.

I'm still an apprentice. Still learning my trade. The difference is, my trade is leadership. I will be successful, and I will be a master. This is not about attitude, positive or otherwise. It's about making changes to my whole way of life.

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