When Brian Carruthers graduated from college, he joined his father's large and profitable real estate business. With dozens of offices and over a billion dollars a year in sales, the business offered Brian a great opportunity to work with family (his brother was in the business, too) and earn a serious income at the same time. He soon moved from selling houses into management and opening new offices. He was good at it--but he was working seven days a week.

A year later, a college friend introduced Brian to network marketing--a friend making $18,000 a year in social work. Brian didn't think much of what he heard. A few months later, his friend showed up in a new Mercedes--and that caught Brian's attention.

"I thought, 'What in the world is going on? He's making $18K a year, I'm making $60K--and he's got the new Mercedes?!' He explained his business and I was bitten by the bug."

He joined that company and spent four years working at it, with lukewarm results. At that point, he moved on to another company that proved a better fit for him, and started experiencing some of the success that so attracted him in the first place. When his company merged with another larger network marketing company, he was concerned, but kept an open mind and stayed committed through the transition. After the merger was complete, he saw his business take off like a rocket.

"I was really ready," he says, looking back. "I had gleaned some good success principles and learned the basics with my first company. Now, I started learning about personal development and motivation from Les Brown, Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy, Mark Victor Hansen, all the greats. It prepared me for massive success. That year, I made nearly a quarter of a million dollars."

Learning the Fundamentals of Leadership

Brian's crucial shift was one of perspective: instead of working on his business, he began working in his business. The difference seems subtle but produced vastly different results.

"A lot of people go out and work on their business," he explains, "selling, recruiting, just trying to produce numbers. I started to work within my organization and within myself. I realized that by focusing on production, people tend to overlook the ultimate goal of creating leaders. I'd rather have three people I can turn into motivated, self-sufficient leaders than 100 people who are out there producing but need me to pull their strings all the time. Success in this business is about creating leadership."

To make this shift, Brian had to revise his own leadership role within his organization. Where he'd tended to be the "go-to guy," always answering people's questions and getting them what they needed to succeed, he now began emphasizing how they could get the answers for themselves, making sure they knew where to go for the information.

He strongly encourages his team to read books and listen to tapes for personal development; most importantly, he looks within his organization to see who is ready to move from being a strong producer to a strong leader. When he sees that imminent potential, Brian focuses on teaching them what they need to do to multiply their organization--how to go beyond just being responsible for their own efforts to inspiring and motivating others.

Brian's leadership training has two basic organizing principles. First, you have to master being a follower before you can be a leader.

"You have to learn how to follow the system yourself before you can teach it to someone else," he says.

Second, being a leader requires that you lead by example in your selling and recruiting. He warns against falling into "management mode" when you reach your achievement goals. Brian is emphatic about continuing to sell and recruit no matter how high you are in the company.

"I've always been on the company's top recruiter list, always out there in the trenches. Right now, I'm the number two-ranked person in our entire company--yet I'm still on the top-recruiters list every month."

From these fundamental principles, he teaches what he feels is the number one key to leadership in the networking profession: the art of communication.

"Massive, effective communication," says Brian, "is what drives your organization and enables you to motivate and inspire the team."

The Key: Constant Growth

He formed this approach to leadership development when he realized some years ago that if his goal was to build a huge organization, he had to become someone masses of people could look to for inspiration and knowledge. He recognized that relationships are reciprocal, that if he wanted people to see a partnership with him as a long-term benefit, he had to be personally and constantly evolving.

"Again," he says, "leadership is all about doing what you want your team to do. I make public what I'm doing; I make sure that everybody knows when I finish a book or listen to a good tape. I talk about it and promote it so that the people who want to be in my shoes can do the same exact thing."

With this philosophy, Brian's plans for the future are simple. In a sense, he says, "I'm living my future. I am never going to be done learning. I just need to keep on doing more of what I'm doing now, continuing to learn and evolve. I don't see myself changing that five, ten, fifteen years out from now.

"As the profession and the business evolve, we'll obviously have to create new ideas and techniques, but it's still the same basic philosophy that I'll be building on. As my organization grows, I need to grow that much more, so that I keep leading the charge."