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Teamwork builds a business

posted in: Uncategorized | 2

Teamwork is one of the leading indicators of a strong network marketing system.

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Creative Commons License photo credit: ArtemFinland

I considered that recently while reading “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” by Patrick Lencioni. The book, which is described as a “leadership fable,” is a fictional story about how a newly hired CEO leads the executive staff of a troubled technology company.

Lencioni then follows the narrative with an overview of the model it describes. As a strong proponent of using teamwork to build a network marketing business, I appreciated his work.

According to Lencioni, dysfunctional teams have an absence of trust, a fear of conflict, a lack of commitment, an avoidance of accountability and an inattention to results. Or, spoken positively, functional teams trust each other, engage in unfiltered conflict about ideas, commit to decisions and action, hold each other accountable, and focus on achieving results.

As I read the book, I was struck with how the characteristics applied to network marketing.

Trust. In network marketing, people have to rely on each other. When you sponsor someone, that person has to be able to trust you.

At times, you might want to sugarcoat something your company has done. It’s especially tempting to make network marking seem easier than it really is. As my sponsor likes to say, “There’s a reason they call it net-‘work’ marketing.”

If you want to be a good upline, be upfront with folks. No matter what’s happening, it is what it is and they’ll probably find out eventually anyway.

Conflict. This one might seem counter-intuitive. Most people think conflict is bad. But conflict can be good if it’s centered around ideas and not around personalities. Healthy discussion and debate is a good thing.

When someone on your team is on the wrong track, call him or her on it. The person might not appreciate it immediately, but later on, if you’re being truthful and trying to help, they’ll realize it and be grateful.

Commitment. One of the most important factors that will guarantee your success is to decide that you won’t quit until you’re successful.

When you make that kind of promise to yourself, the way you conduct yourself will show it. You’ll be confident, because you know that success is only a matter of time.

Accountability. One of the best things you can do for your business is to find an accountability partner. Once you have someone who will recognize your excuses, you’re less like to make them.

After a while you’ll even start making those excuses to yourself.

Results. Many times in business, we feel like we’re like spinning our wheels. Often it’s because we are spinning our wheels.

One key to success is learning the difference between busywork and efforts that bring about results. If it’s not clear to you, talk to someone who’s already successful. Chances are, they’ll set you straight.

Any successful networking system will be run by a well-functioning team. Find such a team and you’re on your way to living your dreams.

Steve DeVane

Moving day for the blog

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I moved the blog to a new server today and learned a lesson along the way.

The move was not as simple or as easy as I’d hoped. To be honest, it was kind of intimidating. Numerous times along the way, I’d read the instructions for what to do and say to myself, “Huh?”

Several times, I wanted to just stop and forget it. Have you ever been trying to accomplish something and a little voice keeps telling you that you can’t do it, that you ought to just give up? That’s what happened to me over and over.

But I knew that moving the blog made good business sense. It was something I needed to do.

So I stuck with it. It wasn’t simple. It wasn’t easy. But I got it done.

The move in that way symbolized my recent business life. There have been times when a part of me wanted to give up, but I kept going, knowing that it’s the right thing to do.

In due time, I’ll be rewarded.

Steve DeVane

Winning the race, one goal at a time

posted in: business, goals, MLM, network marketing | 0

The other day, I was reading a story about NASCAR driver Kyle Busch. He’s not my favorite, but I admire his will to win.

In the story, Busch talked about what motivates him.

“What I use is the car in front of me. If there’s a car in front of me, I’m going to chase him,” Busch said. “… I want to pass that guy. If I’m the leader, there’s another car in front of me, he’s going a lap down. The more guys you get a lap down, the more you don’t have to deal with at the end of the day. There’s always some motivation to go forward. There’s always somebody ahead of you that you can pass that’s going to mean something. Even if you are the leader.”

I thought that was a pretty good motivational strategy for anyone in business. It’s good to set goals. I’m a big believer in the importance of having lofty aspirations.

Sometimes, however, those high expectations aren’t enough. If that’s all we have, making progress might seem like we’re not accomplishing anything.

So, in addition to high, long-term goals, we have to stay focused on what’s going on now. Like Busch focuses on the car in front of him, concentrate on being the best at whatever you’re doing.

I once heard a speech by an Air Force officer who had reached the rank of general. In his comments he said his goal was always to be the best officer he could be, no matter what his rank.

Likewise, we should focus on being the best business people we can be. If we do this, we’ll reach our highest goals.

Steve DeVane

Give yourself a hand

posted in: business, MLM, network marketing | 0

The other day, my wife was talking to our daughter about how her day at school went. My daughter talked about an exercise one of her teachers had the students do that day.

The teacher asked the students to join their two hands together, interlocking their fingers. She then told the students to look at their fingers to see which of their thumbs were in front.

When people put their hands together like that, they almost always do it the same way, the teacher said. She asked the students to try to do it the other way to see how it felt.

I put my hands together several times. Sure enough, they went together the same way every time. I had to make an effort to bring my hands together the other way. But after a while it started feeling comfortable either way.

Later, I thought of how similar the exercise was to many things in life and business. Often we are faced with issues that call for us to readjust the way we think or the way we do things.

Sometimes such small changes will feel uncomfortable at first, but will eventually feel fine. When that happens we need to be flexible. Our lives and businesses will benefit.

Steve DeVane

A runaway conversation that gets you nowhere

posted in: MLM, network marketing, relationships | 0

One evening last weekend, my daughter wanted me to go jogging along the beach with her. I had taken a long walk with my wife and son that morning, but I was still up for a nice relaxing run.

Unfortunately, a storm came up before we started. So we decided to jog the next morning instead.

Bright and early, we headed out on the sand. It was beautiful.

We had barely got started when I told my daughter we should go till we were even with the next beach house and turn around. I thought she knew I was joking.

A couple of minutes later, she said we could run about three more houses down and turn around. I knew she hadn’t been feeling very well, so I figured she wasn’t up for much of a run that morning.

I said, “OK,” and a couple of minutes later we turned around to head back.

Later, back in the room, she said something about not running very far. I said that we could have run further.

Eventually, I figured out that she thought I was serious about stopping shortly after we started.

It made me realize the value of clear communication. I should have let her know I was joking. I didn’t. As a result and pleasant Sunday morning run along the beach was cut short.

Communication is key in business and in life.

In business, relationships are vital. Miscommunication or too little communication can make it difficult to make those connections.

Here’s a few tips to help you communicate:

Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. If your business partner makes a statement that you don’t understand, see if he or she will explain it further.

Listen attentively. When the other person is talking, pay attention to what they’re saying. Don’t make the mistake of thinking about what you’re going to say next while they’re still talking.

Talk it out. When a disagreement arises, discuss it until you agree or at least reach a point satisfactory to you both.

Notice more than just words. Some people will say they’re OK with something when they really aren’t. They’re body language will let you know they’re true feelings. Better to talk about their issues sooner than later.

Be flexible. Realize things won’t always go your way. Knowing that up front will improve your communication and your relationships.

Steve DeVane

Surfing toward success

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While taking a walk along the beach the other day with my wife and son, we noticed a fellow surfing in the Atlantic Ocean.

I spent the first few minutes watching the guy thinking about how cold he must have been. Water temperature in the area averages about 55 degrees in March.

But the more I watched, I noticed the way the surfer would time his attempts to ride waves. As a suitable wave approached, he’d paddle with the wave before standing up and trying to ride it.

Of course, this didn’t happen often. The waves weren’t very large. He had to wait several minutes just to find one large enough to try to ride. We watched him for about 15 to 20 minutes. He only tried to ride five or six waves and only managed to stand up on his board two or three times.

The surfer reminded me of a couple of good lessons for life and business.

First, you have to recognize when the time is right. If you’re thinking about starting a home-based business, now is a great time. When economic woes hit, home-based businesses often thrive.

Second, you have to realize when the right business comes along. If you’re ready to start a business, find an opportunity and company that gives you the best chance of success.

Remember these tips and you’ll be riding the wave of success.

Steve DeVane

Walking with a new perspective

posted in: goals, MLM, network marketing, perspective | 0

I recently spent a weekend in North Myrtle Beach with my family. One morning, I went for a walk on the beach with my wife and son. We walked to the Cherry Grove pier.

The walk was pleasant even though it was a cloudy day. We made it to the pier and turned back toward the resort where we were staying.

About halfway back, it occurred to me that the walk going to the pier seemed much shorter than the return trip. It made me realize the importance of perspective.

When we were walking toward the pier, we had a fixed goal in mind. Walking back, our goal was not as visible. Moreover, we realized that we had walked a long way to the pier and now faced a long walk back.

I learned was re-reminded of a couple of good lessons for life and business.

First, always set clear goals. Write them down and celebrate when you reach them.

Second, if you don’t like the way things are looking, it will probably help if you change the way you’re looking at them.

Steve DeVane

Create success by staying calm

posted in: business, MLM, network marketing, success | 2

I was thinking earlier tonight about a seminar I went to several years ago that included a session on the way families work. One of the things I learned is the importance of being what the teachers called a “non-anxious presence.”

It seems that often issues that arise within families can be handled if one of those involved can keep his or her anxiety level down. That “non-anxious presence” can serve as a calming agent of sorts.

I often thought of that when uneasy situations arise in my life. I try to stay calm, and I’ve found that helps me deal with whatever I’m facing.

What’s more, I’ve discovered that the peaceful attitude often spreads to those around me.

When the military is choosing its most elite teams, it chooses those who demonstrate the ability to stay calm in chaotic situations. Those making the selections know the importance of staying focused no matter what’s going on around you.

As I was thinking of all this, it occurred to me that business people can also benefit from being a non-anxious presence. For those in network marketing, the opposite often happens. This comes across in two forms.

First, we know we have such a great product that we anxiously share it with anyone and everyone, even if they don’t need it.

Second, we’re often taught “closing” techniques that don’t fit our personalities. Moreover, we know that such strategies are likely to turn off the person to whom we’re talking.

Here’s how you solve both issues: don’t mention your product unless the person gives you a reason to think they might need it, and forget every pressure tactic you’ve learned.

Anyone who buys your product if they don’t need it will never buy it again, and those who are pressured into joining your business will never stay. Both situations waste time and effort and make our profession look bad.

Some of the best advice to help your business can be summed up in two words: stay calm.

Steve DeVane

Getting in tune with a lack of stress

posted in: MLM, network marketing | 0

Sometimes I get too stressed over stuff that’s not worth it.

Last week, our band was supposed to play during a church service. We had all the songs picked out except the one that would be played right before the sermon.

Of course, that’s considered the most important song of the service. We try hard to make it fit with what the pastor’s going to say in the sermon.

Usually, the bandleader’s pretty good about finding a song that goes with the sermon. He has a knack for such things. Many times after a service, I’ve told him that the music was perfect.

But this particular week, we couldn’t find the right song. At rehearsal, we thought about a couple of different songs, but none were right. We finally decided that we’d have to practice the song on Sunday morning before the service.

Our thinking was that we’d come up with a song during the week. The bandleader and I e-mailed back and forth several times, but nothing clicked. Finally, he decided we’d do a song that wasn’t a great fit for the sermon, but would generally go along with the theme of the service.

At the rehearsal just before the service, we discovered that our children’s choir was also going to sing. After some discussion we decided that they would sing just before the sermon.

Issue settled.

All that worrying for nothing.

Made me realize that I can probably relax about a great many other concerns. Next time I’m stressing about something, I think I’ll sing a different tune.

Steve DeVane

The quick fix can be a good thing

posted in: MLM, network marketing, success | 3

I finally got a new car. Well, it’s not a new car. It’s actually a kind of old car — a 1995 Volkswagen Jetta — but it’s new to me and has a lot less miles than you’d think.

It’s not my dream car, but I got a good deal on it. As a matter of fact, I got a real good deal.

Unfortunately in this case, the deal wasn’t quite as good as it seemed. The car actually broke down on me on the way home after I bought it. I had to get it towed to my mechanic’s shop.

First, he fixed a small oil leak. Then he cleaned out a clogged screen that was keeping oil from getting to the engine. Thankfully, it wasn’t near as expensive as I feared.

My mechanic tried, but couldn’t fix the transmission that was slipping a little. He suggested another mechanic who worked on transmissions.

I took the car to him and initially got good news. A broken part was keeping a filter from doing its job.

He fixed that, but unfortunately, it didn’t correct the problem. He told me the repair would cost more than I paid for the car.

But he also told me a way to work around the problem by starting off in low gear. When I do that, the transmission shifts much better.

The mechanic told me there’s no telling how long the transmission will last. So far, I’ve driven the car more than 500 miles with no issues. I expect I either keep driving it like that or just sell to someone who’s willing to get it fixed.

When I picked the car up, he mechanic told me something that struck me. He said that more than likely the transmission is in such bad shape because the person who owned the car before me didn’t fix the smaller issue.

In other words, if that person would have paid less than $150 to get it fixed then, it wouldn’t be needing a repair costing nearly 10 times that much now.

At first it frustrated me a little, but then I realized that there’s nothing I can do about it now. Moreover, if I’m smart, I can learn something from that person’s mistake.

I thought of all those things in my life that need fixing. I can ignore them and let them get worse, or I can work on making them better now.

It’s the same way in business. The key is finding the right path to success and staying on it. When we see we’re off track, the sooner we get back on the right road the better off we are.

Steve DeVane

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