Part 2 – Orrin Woodward and the Early Years (back in the day!)
The Story of Life Leadership
(The Story of the most unlikely of friends, building the most unlikely of businesses, starting from the most unlikely of small towns…)
Just as the American story of freedom is filled with hope, sacrifice, providence, thin threads, great deeds, heroes and villains – so is the story of Life Leadership. The formation of America and the formation of Life Leadership are both real-life David and Goliath tales that are equally astonishing and almost unbelievable. Generally speaking, both stories begin with the growth and expansion of a smaller group of people filled with hopes and dreams of a bright future. Next is the part where a larger governing group begins to take advantage of that smaller group. What follows in each story is that the smaller group gets pushed around long enough, then, the smaller group decides to fight back. Eventually, other neighboring parties become impressed with how ‘scrappy’ the underdog is, and they are inspired to join the fight and root for the smaller group’s victory (especially if there is a mutual benefit). In both cases, the outside help could not have come at a better time. Many people would argue that in both cases, if the smaller group did not receive help, the battles would have been lost to the larger group. Now, let us replace generalities with details:
Now that we have reviewed your American History of Independence in Part 1, let me tell you the tale of Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady and a group of men and women that, back in 1999, simply called themselves ‘The Team’. Just like colonial America prior to 1776, the men and women of The Team had no idea that they would be thrust into a similar battle for entrepreneurial independence (ultimately leading to the formation of the Life Leadership Business). For creative flair, feel free to pause your reading and queue up the soundtrack from the movie, Braveheart, before reading further. The historical timeline follows as such:
- 1993 – Orrin Woodward joins Amway in hopes to get his baseball card collection back. Orrin ends up going to a few meetings, pulling money from his employee 401k fund, and gets started leveraging his initial investment to build a network.
- 1995 – Chris Brady joins Orrin Woodward’s group as a low-cost, flexible alternative to starting a conventional franchise (in order to escape the corporate ‘rat race’). Chris was, at the time, conducting extensive research in the advantages and disadvantages of all types of enterprises, concluding that Orrin’s plan may just work.
- September 1999 – The owner’s of Amway form a shell company called Alticor. This was immediately followed by the formation of a new e-commerce company called Quixtar, separate from Amway, with Alticor owning both divisions separately. Members of Amway are giving the option to leave Amway (and it’s branding) and join the new e-commerce company, Quixtar. (As you can imagine, this helped tremendously with Orrin & Chris’s marketing efforts).
- 2000 – Following a series of losses in a ‘friendly’ marketing competition, Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady begin to understand the power of ‘social capital’. This led them to create their own training company to help develop leaders within their organization. This was an effort to clear up the confusion of ‘best practices training’ in the industry and increase growth using a strategy later dubbed ‘Team Approach’. Training centered on the fact that new products and new technology were not the key to success in a marketing business; instead, true leadership at the individual level was (and still remains) the key to success in business.
- 2000-2007 – Unprecedented growth occurred within the Team organization! Many people were very happy and successful in this ‘new world’ of prosperity. The Quixtar executive staff was impressed and the Team enjoyed a period of incredible wealth creation for the entire organization. Furthermore, Orrin Woodward’s organization was repeatedly recognized as the fastest growing organization in all of Quixtar, representing nearly $200 million in total group sales at its peak. Read the following excerpt from Orrin’s article:
The online model fit our young and hungry team perfectly. In fact, from 1999 through 2007, Laurie and I led the fastest growing organization within the whole company. We grew from several hundred to over ten thousand people attending events and our sales increased from a couple hundred thousand dollars to over one hundred million dollars! In addition, many other teams sought our training and started growing resulting in nearly another hundred million dollars in volume. Our training organization, in other words, was responsible for nearly $200 million of Quixtar’s total sales.
The plot begins to thicken; stay tuned for Part 3!