Napoleon Hill first published “Think and Grow Rich” in 1937. “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George Clason was first published in 1933. Peter Kyne published “The Go-Getter” in 1921. Russell Conwell was first inspired to write his “Acres of Diamonds” in 1870 long before his establishment of Temple University and his death in 1925. The late Og Mandino often cited the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin as one of the best self-help books he ever read.
Motivational books, speeches, and sermons have been around a long time. Long before the idea of Multi-level Marketing ever reared its head.
But, Multi-level Marketing is somehow inextricably linked to the motivational speech, the “feel good” pitch, the almost evangelistic zeal of it’s distributors spreading the “gospel” of capitalism.
Certainly, Amway and Quixtar are not the only multi-level marketing companies (or company, depending on your viewpoint) that have relied on systems of motivation to attract and retain distributors, but they also seem to be as inextricably linked to “motivational systems”.
And although all will admit that Amway founder Rich DeVos is a rousing speaker, most critics will lay blame to the roots of “motivational systems”, and the image problem that plagues these systems and Amway; at the feet on just one Amway/Quixtar distributor.
His name is Dexter Yager, a Crown Ambassador (the pinnacle level of achievement) in Amway/Quixtar.
Whether this is a fair accusation and burden to place upon Mr. Yager is up for debate; while I am no apologist on the merits of motivational systems or Mr. Yager, I will say that he is not the sole cause of every evil of the image of Multi-level Marketing. I DO BELIEVE Dexter started with a good idea.
Who is Dexter Yager?
Dexter Yager is the one of, if not the most Successful Amway distributor in the world. Some report that Dexter’s income exceeds $1.5 million dollars a month. Dexter joined Amway in the early 1960s. He had a background in sales and he had a dream of owning his own business. He was a go-getter, if there ever was one. He wanted to be successful and he succeeded.
He was also a reader. He read a lot of business books and got involved with leadership training.
Dexter recognized early on that in order to have a sustainable and growing organization, what he needed to do was get others in his organization reading and learning about business and leadership. So, Dexter starting HANDING OUT (notice I did not say selling) information and books to his organization so they could start developing these business and leadership skills that gave Dexter the edge.
Not only did Dexter create a growing organization and achieved the level of a Diamond Amway distributor, also he actually created a few diamondships. No one to date at that time had created this much success so fast.
The next problem Dexter had, as his organization grew, was how do you keep people motivated? It’s hard being in business. Staying motivated and getting started is not easy. Dexter developed the ability (even though he had a bad stutter) to speak and motivate others. So, in his home, Dexter started making tapes of “talks” he did with his different “legs” within the organization. These tapes, while talking to one group were recorded on a new device called a “tape deck” and then distributed to other groups. Now, Dexter could do ONE training session, and send it by tape to 3 or 4 others. Then, the other groups could get one of these tape recorders and get together and listen to it too. This was, no doubt, a breakthrough.
So, with the recommendation of certain books to improve the distributors’ personal life and business acumen AND the addition of rousing speeches and personal testimonies on tape; Dexter taught thousands of people the importance of continuing education, and he had learned the importance of establishing leadership among his distributors.
Over the next ten years or so, this “breakthrough”, this system; grew to the point that Dexter’s organization contained more than 100 distributorships at the Diamond level. All these Diamonds adopted his system. Each Diamond experienced incredible growth in their own organization as thousands of distributors learned from the tapes the proper techniques of sponsoring and motivating a downline.
This is how the Amway Motivational Systems got their start. A simple idea that would effectively communicate a viable message to as many people as possible for the time frame. This system contained face-to-face meetings, books, and tapes; all contributing to educating the new distributor. Larger meetings were also held that allowed distributors to meet in a positive atmosphere of camaraderie.
It really was a good idea.
Tomorrow we take up the issue of “A Good Idea Gone Bad.”