Monday, June 20, 2011

So What Do We Do With The N00bs?

Depending on your age and hobbies, right now you're either thinking "What?", "Kill them off quickly!" or "WTF has this got to do with Network Marketing?"

In a previous job, I looked after the European games databases for Lord of The Rings Online (LoTRO). Like World of Warcraft, it's a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. Like real life, there's quite a few n00bs involved.

n00bs, or noobs, are inexperienced and inept beginners, the sort of people who, in real life, have to be told that the reason their computer screen is dark is because they haven't switched it on yet. The ones who, left to their own devices, will make horrible mistakes in a split second that can wipe out 10 weeks of team productivity. They're the ones who type £1005 instead of £10.05 when you pay for something in the supermarket and then appear to have refunded the Nigerian GDP when the poor accountant looks at the till records.

If they survive the first few months of their first job/ MMORPG experience, they become newbs, beginners who are willing to learn from their mistakes - the ones who listen to others. Eventually, some of them will go on to become the better sort of experts. These are the ones who remember what it was like to be a noob, and go out of their way to help others.

We have noobs in network marketing too. But the standard response of the majority of network marketers is to let them feed themselves to the lions. They are the numbers in "the numbers game". The ones who, when they don't do anything spectacularly successful in their first few weeks, are left to die quietly of support malnutrition. The ones who have the usual MLM mantras thrown at them, despite the fact they have no frame of reference to build on.

We are failing our n00bs, and it's about time we stopped doing it. We can't call ourselves leaders if we set our team members loose in the middle of a reservoir with a leaky rowing boat and only one paddle. Yet that's what we're doing with our "Massive Results need Massive Action" and "How Much Effort? Enough!" soundbites.

Leadership is not just about recruiting team members and leaving them to sink or swim. It's about managing them, setting achievable targets with them, nudging them towards being more productive, more organised, more effective, more efficient, until they are capable of doing that on their own. It's about making sure each member of your team does that with their own team members. It's about helping our team understand that, just because we praise the fast track members, we're still determined to help every team member achieve their goals so that they can be proud of themselves, too.

If, after we've done all that, they quit anyway, that's fine. Let's make sure they don't quit before we've done our best by them.

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