Monday, September 10, 2007

TEAM: Former IBOAI Board Member Chuck Goetschel

Original Source

Former IBOAI Board Member Chuck Goetschel...

Thankfully, it isn't you!

It can only happen to the other guy, right? It could never happen to you. Your ideas, beliefs, perspectives would never be challenged. After all, you are honest, ethical, aligned with the company and they love you. You are golden.

Yours is practically a modern-day Cinderella story. You started out like most people; newly married, employed, working hard to get by and dreaming of a brighter future for you and your family. You realize the only way to live your dreams is to own your own business so you register as an Independent Business Owner and begin your journey. You invest the next 15 years of your life (25 – 40 years old) working to build a business. You gave it your all; nights, weekends, holidays, whatever it takes. All the while, you find yourself regularly defending the concept of the networking/mlm business model as well as specifically defending the Amway/Quixtar names. Since 1997, the Company has been struggling as reflected in overall volume, sponsoring, etc. Consequently, in addition to building your own business, you spend thousands of hours building a system that will increase the new person’s chance for success. Your efforts pay off, in 2003, you are asked to speak by Quixtar at their national convention (Quixtar Live!) as the key-note speaker. In 2004, the managing director of Quixtar, Ken McDonald, sends you a letter of great praise and acknowledges that you are the fastest growing IBO in North America. Then, in 2005, Quixtar hires a new managing director, Jim Payne. Suddenly, you realize that Quixtar has made significant changes in regards to their stance on positioning as well as depth. Now rather than being golden, you are a significant obstacle to an apparent hidden agenda.

You are told you must change your entire system to align with their new positions. Tens of thousands of people are growing and succeeding with your system which is unlike what is happening throughout the rest of North America. You do research hiring your own attorneys to investigate whether your approaches hold any legal risk whatsoever. The attorneys unanimously agree that you are fine. The Quixtar legal department cannot share any specific legal risks that exist; only general concerns. You ask repeatedly for an example of anyone who is growing using their new stances on positioning and depth. No successful examples are provided and you don’t believe any exist. You have meeting after meeting with the Company to see if you can come to a mutual ground of acceptance. Nothing seems to work. What do you do? Do you suddenly change what is working to something that has no proven results because the Company changed their opinion? Can you see the dilemma? Tens of thousands of people are counting on you to lead them and their families successfully. At the same time, the Company is demanding that you completely change your position and strategy to one you know first hand to be completely ineffective by comparison.

The pressure increases as the Company threatens you with suspension over these “philosophical differences.” The first time has to do with a positioning issue; when and where “Quixtar” needs to be printed on your team website. The second time has to do with transparency as they refuse to allow you to explain how the multiple types of system income are available; written as an analogy of a car dealership in a book. The release of this information came not only with a threat of suspension but also loss of bonuses and Diamond Club if it were released to either prospects or IBOs.

Although just a few years ago you were celebrated for your business building methods and results, now, without you changing, suddenly you’re violating rules due to philosophical differences. After countless meetings attempting a resolution, you finally let them know that you must leave and start over because you cannot represent the business that they changed and want you to represent; a business with unretailable products and significant philosophical differences. You are then informed that you are terminated! Game over. The following day after your termination, you read Alticor’s official media blog and it calls you a “disgrace”, a “liar”, and one who “betrayed his organization.” After all these years of effort and after generating tens of millions of dollars of revenue for Amway/Quixtar, you read their final comments about you: “We would say we were sorry to see Orrin go. But only if that were true.”

Fortunately, this is not your story. This is the story of Orrin Woodward. Orrin was terminated for standing up for the principles he believed in regarding a training system that proved to be very successful. What rules did he actually violate? Here is the scary part. When you read the termination papers, you read that he was terminated for violating two subjective rules; Rule 4.1 (failure to exercise a duty of good faith and fair dealing) and Rule 5.4 (failure to comply with the obligations of a sponsor and/or Platinum to properly train other IBOs). Also the papers describe accounts of a handful of people who were confused about their sponsor, the importance of sales, or some other topic. Finally, the papers reference an “anticipatory rule violation.” Suddenly, it becomes clear that the Company can and will terminate at will citing personal philosophy differences (i.e., no “proper training”), holding you accountable for a downline rule violation, or even citing an “anticipatory breach” of things you haven’t even done.

A friend of mine, Jerry Scriven, a Diamond in England, emailed me just a couple of weeks ago and shared how regardless of the fact that he and his wife have put the best part of their lives into the business, he wrote me saying:

“We have been suspended on zero income because a downline was running a web site promoting our training system without our knowledge. Now they won’t talk to us on the phone. Unbelievable!! Or maybe in the context of everything else that’s going on – not so unbelievable.”

Yes, I know that’s terrible, but fortunately it’s Jerry and not you. It couldn’t happen to you, right? But wait; hasn’t there been a history of stars to scars with the Company? Certainly, this wouldn’t be a standard “divide and conquer” strategy to maintain control. Oh, I know that is ridiculous. Perhaps. However, for those who know history with this Company it sure seems to be a repeating pattern. Ok, I’ll leave that one alone. Besides, right now for those who don’t like Orrin Woodward’s philosophy, you are happy that the Company chose such a heavy-handed procedure of termination and defamation. Thankfully, it isn’t you who is standing up for what you believe. One well-known Diamond in the business shared with me and some others that when he told Mike Mohr that he was considering leaving, Mike told him that he would “make it very difficult on him.” “And that made an impact--that resonated with me” the Diamond said in response. Yes, standing up for what you believe can be difficult.

Knowing the threats they made to other leaders and knowing the heavy-handed behavior pattern they had taken with Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady, we knew we must go into the August 9th meeting prepared. We had great hope in Mike Mohr’s personal comment to me and Jim Payne’s email to Orrin sent July 27th both stating to “come in and we’ll discuss an amicable separation.” We prayed for a peaceful settlement, but just like a country has an army even though they do not desire war, we prepared a lawsuit in case Quixtar was not reasonable. Will Durant the historian said, "Pray for peace, but keep your powder dry.” I spoke to both Billy Florence and Orrin about the lawsuit prior to the meeting and agreed with them that since the suit wasn’t asking for any sort of damages, but rather freedom of activity, that it was a proper piece of leverage. We felt if Quixtar would not do the right thing then we would ask the court to do the right thing and allow people a choice for reasons stated in the suit as well as such a drastic business transformation. Again, our only reason for meeting was to ensure peace on both sides and no future retaliatory lawsuits from Quixtar because many resigned. We knew after we departed that even if we agreed to sit out and follow all rules, given Quixtar’s historically aggressive nature, they very possibly would sue us on frivolous solicitation, tortious interference etc. tying everyone up in Quixtar arbitration. When Orrin and Chris were terminated without any discussion, we brought out the lawsuit for their review (without filing it) and asked for a 24 hour standstill to discuss. We hoped this would bring them back to table to complete the “amicable separation.” Mike Mohr said he would review and call us prior to 5:00pm to discuss further. No call from him ever came. Billy Florence called Quixtar attorney, Sharon Grider, at the nth hour “for the sake of all IBOs” he said, and pleaded with her to meet, have discussions and not force the filing of the suit. Sharon responded with “if it is to discuss more of what we already know then there is no need. It’s past 5:00pm. Do what you need to do.” Interestingly, as predicted, Quixtar did immediately sue Orrin and Chris claiming they had a competing mlm business. Although this proved to be false (yet to date no retraction has been made by Quixtar) it did result in tying Orrin and Chris to temporary silence.

Personally, I am deeply disappointed in the headstrong, prideful approach the Company has taken. Taking care of IBOs they say? Really? Don Wilson told me about a dialog he had with Doug DeVos about two years ago regarding Randy Haugen. Don explained how Randy had really been struggling with a moral dilemma regarding promoting a business that he didn’t currently believe in. Don asked Doug that although it wasn’t his responsibility would he be willing to give Randy of call of encouragement. Doug responded by suggesting to Don, “Perhaps it is time to find another Randy.” Another Randy? Are you kidding? Randy Haugen has long stood as one of the most committed, most influential, most heart-felt IBOs ever to exist in the history of the business. Can you even begin to comprehend the tens of millions, more likely the hundreds of millions of dollars of profit the DeVos and the VanAndel families have placed in their bank accounts because of the volume of Amway/Quixtar products that was moved through a Randy Haugen led organization for the last 25 years?

Imagine if the Corporation had humbly sought to understand Randy’s moral dilemma and how to resolve it. Imagine how many people would have benefited if rather than terminating and disparaging the TEAM leaders, the Corporation sought to understand what is so effective with TEAM and shared that knowledge and insight with other IBOs. Personally, that is exactly what I did. I admit it took putting my ego in check in a big way when I asked Orrin to learn his system. After all, I had run my own system for over a decade. I had made an effort to learn the rules to the point where Quixtar’s BSM task force often said I could “write the manual regarding approval of BSMs.” My system was accredited and I was elected to the legal and ethics committee of the IBOAI board. However, the success of my team was more important than the protection of my ego. After I thoroughly researched the TEAM system and communicated extensively about it getting complete clarity on any disconnects, I was convinced it was a very effective, honest, and ethical approach to building the business. I knew it would make a very positive impact on my team. I wish the Corporation would have put their ego in check. It would have truly been a service to all IBOs. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the decision and, as it is written, “Pride cometh before the fall.”

Final thought—what if the Company applied their own rules to themselves…would they have to terminate themselves? Orrin was terminated over philosophical differences which, in their opinion, may lead to regulatory challenges. However, the Company has lead all of us (employees and IBOs alike) to legal risk with the current fact that only 3% of the Company’s annual volume comes from retail. Other mlm companies have been recently shut down with significantly more than 3% retail sales. Yes, will solve all of that, I understand. What do you mean you don’t know about that? It is the place where your IBOs (I mean Quixtar’s IBOs… “property”… whatever the name is now…so confusing…) will be trained. That is exciting. Yes, they will receive lots of training on how to build their business (handy for you) and sales training to learn how to sell $12.45 shaving cream to people who are used to paying $3.99. This must be some good sales training! Will the sales training teach how to sell Amway diapers at $0.50 each vs. Pampers at $0.28 each? I know, but these are “premium” quality diapers, right? How’s that, are they reversible or something? What about good business practices? – Rule 4.1: “…Good faith and Fair dealing.” Since over half of the IBOs of North America were never registered in Amway, how’s the good faith and fair dealing doing in regards to forcing them to keep their businesses by renewing into Amway? What about selling through stores around the IBOs—lots of talk about that…is that an “anticipatory beach” of their current contract? Business Support Materials (BSMs) are optional, right? Absolutely! It’s in the rules. However, what about the new QBOB (Quixtar Business Ownership Brochure) that is a new mandatory leave-behind brochure replacing the SA4400. The QBOB looks like a BSM and at $0.50 a piece (one for every prospect) this is a new expense to IBOs (SA4400 was a free download) and a nice mandatory BSM profit center for the Company. I could go on with this thought but then this would turn into another 17 page document.

I respect every person who registered as an Independent Business Owner because you stepped out in life and decided to pursue your dreams. That action makes you so rare. I applaud every one of you for that. We all started out simply with a dream and an IBO number and some hope for our future. Yes, so much hope. So, how could it come to a point where 1/3 of a Company’s advisory board stands up and walks out after investing an average of 26 years of each of their lives? That could only happen when something so significant, so wrong, and so apparently unchangeable is happening. This is your one and only precious life. When it is over, what will you be able to say you stood for? Orrin Woodward is certainly one person who will be able to look in the mirror and say he stood on principle of what he believed was right. He didn’t back down to threats. He didn’t back down to fear. He stayed true to his beliefs. I want to encourage everyone to stay true to your beliefs as well. God Bless.

Chuck Goetschel

1 comment:

Ed Manley said...

To whom ever it may Concern. I am a former Amway distributor with over 7 years invested in Amway. I found during my tenure with the company that Questions were not tolerated very well. I was personnally blackballed because I would not submit. Well in 1995 I was introduced to Market America by my assistant minister. They had a system in place that combined what leaders in amway had and the system corporate amay had,in a systemize format that was easy for even the average distributor to follow.
I struggled to hold a direct volume in Amway for over 5 years. In two years time I was earning over $2500 every 4 weeks. In three years I was at $4500 to $7500 Dollars. Thats Take home, every Four weeks. I closed my construction company and went full time. I only had about 60 distributors in my organization.

Do your homework! If anybody with any level in quixtar just want to meet the corporate staff, from the second in charge down. I personally will set the appointment for a meeting with Dennis Franks and Marty Weisman. They are second in charge. The only person higher would be JR himself. And if you are large enough in quixtar and Dennis and Marty see that you need to meet JR. It will be done.
We, as a company are disappointed in what is happening to Amway, They are the Grand Parents to the industry! But it could be a BLESSING in disguise!!
I am not here to recruit, but offer information. Information that changed my life as well as many others that have not lost the DREAM! JR came from Amway also. He was a Double Diamond back in the late 70's. He wanted something he wasn't making money on the frustrations of others. HE CREATE MARKET AMERICA for people just like YOU and me.
This one is built helping others succeed!! This company has had 57 Quarters of continuos Growth without ever missing a beat!!
This is the most Realistic and PROVEN business Plan I had ever seen. Built the way TEAM TEACHES. TWO LEGS earn 3 time the money on the same Volume Though!!
I guess we were the Amway Rejects. KNOWING what all of you are seeing NOW!
Just know this! We are here to answer YOUR QUESTIONS. You will have to recruit yourself on this one!! The Rest is HISTORY!! May God Bless You In Whatever You Do!!! Ed Manley,UnFranchise owner!
Dennis Franks, Executive Vice President