January 1999

First Word

The Greatest Networker Part Deux - John Milton Fogg

John Milton Fogg

Hard to believe The Greatest Networker in the World, was first published seven years ago! Almost from the beginning, people have been asking for a sequel. So, some time in February, you should be able to run down to your local bookstore and ask them for it. They won't have it, of course, but Upline will.

Just for fun, here's a work-in-progress taste. Enjoy.

"So, listen," I said.

"I do make the attempt," he replied with a smile.

"I know you do," I laughed. "Better than anyone I know."

"I'm curious why you're going to speak today to a group from another Networking company. You don't see a conflict in that?"

"Sure, I see the conflict," he admitted. "I just don't care about the conflict. It's not important to me. Do you know those wonderful ads for that Kosher hot dog company?" he asked.

"The ones that picture a Rabbi saying, `We answer to a higher authority'?" I asked.

"The very same," he said. "That's what it's like for me. I know many companies and many Networking leaders in the industry are of the opinion that nothing ever goes cross-line, much less cross-company. I just don't happen to agree."

"What about maintaining the integrity of the system a group is using?" I asked. "I've read articles in Upline and a number of books that say you should never do that. `The system is the solution,' they say. Don't mess with it, because that's not duplicatable."

"My, you are a well-read and knowledgeable young man," he said, "especially for one who was about to quit the business for lack of success. When was that, a week . . . ten days ago?"

He glanced over at me with a good-natured grin and I laughed and shook my head.

"Gotcha," he joked. "No, seriously, your point is well taken. So let me explain, both about what I'm up to and this whole business of systems. First, this systems thing.

"I never teach quote `business-building how to' unquote. That's between a direct upline sponsor and his or her people. What works successfully for one product and one compensation plan often-- and usually-- will not work for others. And I never want to conflict with a given company's culture-- or a given distributor downline's culture. Those are too hard to create and keep going for me to fool with.

"I maintain all the how to you ever need to know to do this business successfully can be learned in a single, short afternoon. I never spend more than an hour or an hour-and-a-half on the how to with people. It's the why to and the who to that interest me most. Those are universal. I don't care if your product is long distance phone service, pills, potions, lotions or web sites. It doesn't matter if your compensation plan is a breakaway, unilevel, binary or urinary. . . ."

I couldn't help but laugh at that last one-- as I'm sure he intended.

"What I train about is who to be to be successful in this business," he continued. "That's what's really important. That's what everybody really needs to know-- and so very few people really do.

"This business is relationship led."

He looked over at me to see if I understood and must have noticed something in my expression, for he continued, "I see. Okay. You've read phrases in business books like, `profit driven' or `product driven'-- yes?"

I replied that I had.

"Let me tell you a story about that which explains the difference between driven and led," he said. "Have you ever heard of a man named Joe Batten?"

I told him I hadn't.

"Mr. Batten is one of the grand old men of public speaking. He's a member of the National Speaker's Association Hall of Fame and he wrote the best-seller Tough-minded Leadership.

"Some years ago, Joe was meeting with a group of 35 corporate CEOs for a day-long seminar. Early in the presentation, he asked, `How many of you are leaders in your company?' Of course, every hand in the room went up.

"Joe smiled and said, `I'll ask you the same question after I share this true story with you.

"`In the Middle East,' Joe told them, `there are two countries, separated only by a common border, which each have large sheep and mutton industries. The cultures of the two countries are radically different, and they are hostile to each other. In fact, they have fought wars with each other, and they are fighting as we speak.'

"`In one country, the shepherds walk behind their flocks.

"`In the other country, the shepherds walk in front of their flocks.

"`Now remember,' Joe told them, `this is a true story.'

"Joe continued: `In the country where the shepherds walk behind their flocks, the quality of the mutton and the wool is poor and it is not a profitable industry. In the country where the shepherds walk in front of their flocks, the quality of the mutton and wool is excellent and the profitability is high.'

"And then Joe asked the group, `Why?'

"Nobody answered, so Joe told them. `In the flocks where the shepherd walks behind and drives and pushes, and corrects, and is always in charge, the young sheep grow up afraid to stray from the flock for fear of being rapped up-side the head by the shepherds staff or having the dogs sent out to round them up. They have no opportunity to explore for better grass and water, or to play with other young lambs. They simply become obedient, passive and apathetic. By the time they are grown, they have lost all initiative. They are not really healthy.

"`In the country where the shepherds walk in front of their flocks,' Joe continued, `the young lambs have plenty of opportunity to stray, play, experiment, and then catch up to the flock. Instead of feeling overly controlled, compressed, repressed, depressed and suppressed, they feel free, empowered, enhanced and stretched. They eat more, sleep better and grow up large and healthy. They are truly led.'

"Now, when Joe finished his story," the Greatest Networker said, "assuring the assembled executives once more of its authenticity, he asked them again, `How many of you truly lead in your company?'"

The Greatest Networker turned and asked me, "Would it surprise you to learn not a hand was raised?"

I hope you like it. I'm having a ball writing it. --JMF

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Reprinted with permission from Upline, The First Word-January 1999, 888-UPLINE-1, http://www.upline.com


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