My first two years in network marketing I tried to reinvent the wheel. I had been successful in traditional business, so I thought I could apply the same skills here. Was I in for a rude awakening! I made mistake after mistake and paid the price dearly in those first few years. I can’t tell you how many times we started a new team and within 30 days they were all gone. I don’t mean just gone from the business, we would literally never hear from these people again.

After several frustrating years of selling, telling, and trying to convince people that our products, services, compensation plan, branding, price, taste, (and anything else you can imagine) were better than the rest, we still had zero duplication. As quickly as we put people in the front door, they were running out the back door. I was seriously contemplating whether I was right for this business.

I remember attending an event where I heard, “People do what they see, not what they are told.” It hit me like a ton of bricks: what I was doing didn’t duplicate. I realized I needed to become more teachable and coachable, and seek out a mentor. In retrospect, this was a pivotal time in our success journey. What I learned is that leadership is one half leadership and one half follow-ship. One must become a great follower before one can become a great leader or teacher.

In our business, there are tried and proven techniques that work over time. If you are just starting out, your job is not to reinvent the wheel. Your job is to become the best student you can be. The results you obtain from following the proven plan of success will give you more credibility. With more credibility, your business will pick up momentum. Eventually, you will be given more leadership opportunities and your greatest responsibility will be to pass along the baton of leadership.

According to John C. Maxwell, leadership is influence. If a leader has no record of performance, he or she probably won’t have much influence when first starting out. That’s okay; I certainly started there. What I realized is the quickest way to gain a track record of success (and ultimately gain influence) is to follow your leaders and plug in to the proven plan of success. This will provide you with the much needed experience to help others succeed.

Top performers in our profession understand that to have duplication in their business, they must become effective teachers. This starts by first being humble and learning how to be an expert follower. Always remember, success is one half leadership and one half followship. They go hand in hand. The old Aristotle spoke some wise words when he said, “He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander.”

TRAVIS and SUMMER FLAHERTY are network marketing professionals who are raising their five children in Phoenix, Arizona. Featured Master Networkers in the Jul/Aug 2014 issue of Networking Times, they love to teach other couples how to become happy and productive partners in business and in life.

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