If you are new to, or are checking out, the LIFE Leadership business there are a few things you need to know to help you on your journey. This blog is dedicated to setting the record straight about twisted facts and bad information you will find online.
The Leadership Train
The best advice I could tell a person who is looking for the answer to the question: “will this work for me?” Is to get your hands on a book titled, “The Leadership Train” by Orrin Woodward. This book will give you an excellent perspective on how the Life Leadership business can play out in your life. READ IT!
That being said, here are a few of the dead-ends to watch out for in your journey:
Negative opinions from quitters.
In any great story, there are heroes and villains. There is a worthy cause (or goal), then there is a struggle (or mighty battle) and then the victory. Your success story will be no different. Critics and negative nay-sayers that vomit their cynical and pessimistic opinions are a given in every great story. There is an old saying, “the bigger the goal, the bigger the Goliath”. Expect some resistance – it is a test of your hunger and tenacity. How bad to you want it!!
Don’t want any criticism?
Then say nothing, Do nothing and Be nothing.
Negative opinions from PR guys that are paid to write negative.
In today’s business world, some people play dirty. There are many PR companies and social media folks that will gladly take a sum of money to lead a smear campaign online. The companies that fund these PR guys have the attitude that ‘If I diminish or destroy my competition, then my business will grow because it is the only one left!’ These people foolishly spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to try to tear down others to try to make themselves look better. The fact is that when the negative company is revealed, they look like that pathetic bully on the playground that finally gets sent home to his mommy.
Positive opinions with an alternate motive to sell you a shortcut.
Beware of shortcuts. Everything in the Life Leadership business has a purpose. The methods have been well thought out. Even those parts that seem difficult. As you learn how to expand your customer base and your member network, you may come across a blog or video that promises an easier path to success (a shortcut). The fact is that if there was a better way to earn success in Life Leadership, it would be taught systematically at all of the seminars. This is the primary responsibility of the inner-circle group called “Life Coach Policy Council”: to make the path to success as easy as possible WITHOUT SACRIFICING THE GROWTH PROCESS.
Let me give you an example: There are a few companies out there that want to sell you their Internet Marketing program to generate leads for you. They are supportive of you and the Life Leadership business, but they are also supportive of all other businesses too! (This makes sense because their business is trying to get you to buy their leads). This may be a good way to obtain a few customers in Life Leadership, but we have yet to see a person obtain a significant lifestyle from building a community based upon a mass marketing leads program. As far as I can tell, this is a shortcut that leads down a dead-end.
Nature gives us a great example in the life of a butterfly. In the long, difficult process of breaking out of a cocoon, the butterfly forces the necessary fluids and develops the necessary wing strength to fly. If you were to shortcut this process by cutting the cocoon open and “helping”, you would destroy the thing you were trying to help.
So it is with success. Life Leadership is simple enough that anybody can do it, yet hard enough that YOU are developed in the process. That’s the point! Life Leadership is NOT traditional network marketing! Oh, you can try to build it this way, but I doubt it will last. The Life Leadership business, when build the correct way, is a next-generation community building business. There is a difference. Teams are built through relationships. Through structured depth and a house-plan to house-plan approach. Not getting random leads and just signing people up.
You don’t need to fly solo
The best part about being involved in a community like Life Leadership is you can call somebody. You can call them for help. You can call them for encouragement. You can even call when you are having a pity party (but don’t’ be surprised if they don’t want to attend. They will cancel your pity party and encourage more productive activities). Your support team cannot read minds – you have to call them.
I hope this article helps. God Bless you on your journey!
If you are doing your research on Orrin Woodward and his business model, Life Leadership, you have landed on the right page. This article will explore Orrin Woodward, his character, his vision and the history of his business dealings the best way I know how – from multiple, first-hand testimonials. Like the old saying goes, “you can tell a lot about a person by the company that he keeps”. Therefore, I will only include quotes and commentary from people who have known Orrin Woodward for at least 14 years or longer. So let’s read what we can from the “company that Orrin keeps”:
Bill Lewis has known Orrin for almost 15 years. His article concerning Orrin’s character and integrity is one of the best out there. I also appreciate his perspective because he is extremely logical and easy to understand where he is coming from. Check out this excerpt (you can link to the full article here):
An important beginning step is to define character because some people definitely have a skewed view of what that means. Character has two parts: 1) the avoidance of doing something wrong (If a person is doing something that is wrong, then by default, he can’t be doing what is right), and 2) taking action to do what is right. Orrin has been in business for nearly twenty years, and his businesses are based on developing relationships with people. He tells people exactly what is going to happen when they decide to join his businesses. Logically, if he wasn’t telling the truth, wouldn’t the tens of thousands of people who are following him figure that out and stop following him? The fact of the matter is those people continue to follow him because his actions line up with his words. There are some that have chosen not to associate anymore, and that is to be expected when building a volunteer business. However, if Orrin was a liar, wouldn’t the masses and certainly those closest to him figure that out and stop associating? Some might be thinking right now, “But that’s because the people closest to him get a special deal.” That is a great lead into the business side of all this.
The shocking part about Orrin Woodward, the man, is that he is not only driven to succeed, but he also desires to do so in the right way, based on principles. Indeed, if something is not based on principles, then Orrin refuses to function in that environment. He is more driven to improve himself daily because he understands the principle of The Law of the Lid: An organization grows to the level of its leader; therefore, Orrin continually attacks his own thinking in an effort to learn and grow. With all of that said, he is human and, therefore, has made mistakes. But his willingness to admit those mistakes and to do what he can to fix them is extremely impressive. In a world where people perpetually blame others, Orrin, instead, accepts responsibility and focuses on improving. It’s hard to not like someone like that. His humility and his faith also separate him from the crowd. In most organizations, the person that created it makes himself the supreme being of that company. Orrin, on the other hand, usually takes a back seat in order to let others lead and receive the glory. His goal is to surround himself with the best leaders, which takes a person who understands where he comes from and possesses a humble spirit that enables him to realize that one person doesn’t have all the answers. On a personal level, Orrin has developed a successful marriage with his wife Laurie and raised four wonderful kids.
Tim Marks has worked almost exclusively with Orrin Woodard for almost 15 years now. I appreciate Tim because he is a no-nonsense seeker of absolute truth. From what I can tell, the longer he works with Orrin, the more his respect for Orrin grows. Check out this excerpt from an article written a few years ago (you can link to the full article here):
Thanks to the leadership wisdom and personal mentoring from the Woodward’s, Amy and I have been job-optional, living a dream lifestyle since 2002. So, in the spirit of balancing silly nonsense with the facts, let’s do a quick refresher on just a few of Orrin’s impressive list of accomplishments.
Orrin Woodward’ accomplishments include:
Orrin Woodward is the co-author of the New York Times, BusinessWeek, and USA Today best-selling book, Launching a Leadership Revolution
He is an honored alumni of the esteemed Kettering University for his incredible entrepreneurial achievements
He was ranked #6 in 2011 on the Top-30 Leadership Guru list, alongside other world-class authors and thought leaders such as Stephen Covey and John Maxwell
He was ranked #20 on the Inc. Magazine Top 50 Leadership and Management Experts, alongside John Maxwell, Stephen Covey and Ken Blanchard!
There have been thousands of books published by the leaders in other networks, but how many have made the NY Time best-seller list? Less than can be counted on one hand!
So, the tomato-throwers can’t knock the fact Orrin is a best-selling author, and they can’t knock the fact he is ranked as a top leadership guru in several different lists.
Holger Spiewak has also known Orrin Woodward for almost 15 years. Like Bill Lewis, he is highly logical and writes with an almost scientific perspective. From what I can tell about Holger, if there were a problem, he would be one of the first to be a whistleblower. Check out this excerpt (you can link to the full article here):
14 years ago I met Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady through my friend Bill Lewis. Ever since I met them their example has inspired me to do what is RIGHT. Now, I am not claiming that Orrin and Chris are perfect, however, in my 46 years in this world I have met thousands of people from all walks of life and Orrin and Chris’ character and integrity has been second to none. Being around these gentlemen in many situation, both in public and in private, their willingness to do what is right, even if it costs them, has been AMAZING, for lack of a better word. On November 11, 2011, Orrin and Chris (together with Rob Hallstrand, Bill Lewis, Tim Marks, George Guzzardo, Claude Hamilton, and Dan Hawkins) founded and launched the LIFE Leadership company. This happened after almost 2 decades of Orrin and Chris working on developing the BEST business concept the world has ever seen. The continuous improvement is still ongoing. Orrin is a genius and I truly believe that he is going to be the next Sam Walton. Chris Brady recently announced that, after Orrin approached him with this idea, he would step back from his responsibilities of working in the field of LIFE Leadership to find and develop leaders of compensated communities, and become the CEO of LIFE Leadership. Wow, here is a man true to his calling and I believe when the history books are written, Chris will be the Steve Jobs of LIFE Leadership. Call me crazy but we will talk again in 50 years.
These are just a few examples. I know that there are thousands more people who have known Orrin Woodward for many years; and they would happily line up to give testimony to the difference that the Woodward’s have made in their life – personally and professionally. They are the real deal. This is why the article came with a warning – because it is shocking to find a real leader worth following in this day and age. So I am excited that you are doing your due diligence. The next step is to go meet some of the leaders at a live seminar near you. You won’t be disappointed!
Before you believe everything you read about the “Climb to the Top” article by Forbes online, make sure you check their facts. Beginning with their opening statements, the authors showcase their ignorance about the networking industry and made it clear that the goal was to publish a twisted version of the truth resembling propaganda at great risk of being libel. Since 2008 (when the original article was written) Orrin Woodward has been busy using “inter-sectional innovation” to create a brilliant business model known as Life Leadership. Check out clips from these 4 rebuttal articles to Forbes:
At the time of the article, Orrin Woodward was in a major legal dispute with Amway/Quixtar. Somehow, this important fact was not mentioned.
At the same time, Amway was funding a major advertising campaign in Forbes (no links online, but see 2008 Forbes Magazine for Amway ads).
Some of Amway’s principals were supporters of Steve Forbes and his political aspirations. (Click here)
Of all the people the journalist interviewed for the article (Orrin gave her complete access to everyone in his organization), the only person she quoted from her many interviews (other than Orrin himself and one guy standing in line to attend a meeting), was the negative husband of a woman in Orrin’s team that had never attended a single event, nor participated in any way. In contrast, not one of the many positive people interviewed were even mentioned.
When Orrin invited the journalist to his company’s international convention, offering her full back-stage access to everything and everyone, she politely declined because she had purchased tickets to attend a Willie Nelson concert instead.
The journalist referred to Network Marketing as “pyramid selling schemes,” proceeded to give a very incorrect description of how they supposedly function, and then wrote, “sounds like a chain letter, doesn’t it?”, even though networking companies operate legally in all 50 states every business day. AND Forbes itself has done many positive (or at least professionally balanced) articles on the industry, as recently as last month (Click here).
“One parting thought Orrin Woodward was in the middle of a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Amway at the time this article was written. Amway founders are some of the largest donators to the Republican Party… Steve Forbes is a former Republican Presidential Candidate and long time friend of the family. Plus Amway has been a long time client of Forbes Magazine.”
I asked Orrin how this unprecedented interview came to be. He said, “Shortly after joining Monavie, I received a call from the Team office stating that Forbes had contacted me asking for an interview about Team.” He continued, “Why would Forbes want to do an article on a small, $42 million dollar company? Especially when it was in the middle of the legal battle of its life?”
Being part of the process myself, I remember Woodward telling me the interviewer asked questions about Team being a pyramid, which anyone who knows anything about pyramid law would know it is nowhere near being a pyramid scheme. She also wanted to know why is it that some people don’t make money and others do. Other questions focused on how much did it cost to be a member of Team and so forth. Woodward continued to explain that Team wasn’t a MLM, it only supplied the support for those building one; but that seemed to fall on deaf ears.
It became obvious to both of us, based upon the question content, that his interview wasn’t about finding the good in Team. Regardless, Woodward knew he had nothing to hide and answered all the questions truthfully and completely. I know that Woodward personally invited the interviewer to the Columbus Major as a VIP, but she already had tickets for a Willie Nelson concert and had to turn the offer down.
I also remember my interview, which lasted for 40 minutes. I actually thought my interview went really well. She asked a lot of great questions. I told her how I was able to get out of massive amounts of debt, how my marriage was dramatically improved, how I thought Orrin Woodward was an amazing leader, and that I thought the Team business was the best financial decision I’d ever made. Interestingly, not a single word of that 40 minute interview was used. Instead, a short quote jabbing Team about a man and woman who had gotten divorced due to her involvement in Team and Amway was used instead.
As it turns out, the man quoted in the Forbes article was an atheist and the woman a Christian. But the man claimed in the article the divorce was blamed on her involvement with Team. Why would Forbes choose to quote this person and not me? Or better yet, any of the thousands who believe that Team has strengthened their marriage? Had the interviewer attended the convention she could have asked any number of people the blessing Team has been in their lives. And yet all that was used was one negative quote about a divorce.
Meanwhile, I began asking my own questions. What led the reporter to take this article in the first place? What was her background in the leadership field and did she understand the moral dimensions from a Christian perspective? She admitted she had never heard of John Maxwell (the #1 leadership teacher) nor, even though living in Chicago, had she ever heard of Bill Hybels (pastor of Chicago’s largest church.)
Every reputable network marketing organization separates itself from pyramid schemes and scams by ensuring significant sales to outside customers of its products. Impressively, LIFE Leadership has over 40% of its monthly subscriptions going to customers who are not even part of the compensation plan. This is a testament to just how good the leadership materials are from LIFE.
Sadly, some people have drawn the conclusion that network marketing is like a lottery where only a few draw the winning ticket and everyone else loses. In truth, I was one of those people until I took the time to study the numbers myself. Here is my story of how I went from a community building skeptic to building one of the largest leadership communities in North America.
I would also encourage you to read the condensed business history of Orrin Woodward and his amazing band of mighty men (here is the link). As Life Leadership moves towards a billion dollar plus company, eventually Emily Lambert, Klaus Kneale and Forbes will have to write a detraction and an apology letter to Orrin Woodward this amazing group of leaders known as Life Leadership.
I recently came across an article written by Dave Marriott, pastor of Lakewood Baptist Church titled, “The Threat of Team and the Life Business: A Warning to Fellow-Shepherds”. As honorable as I think his intentions were, he completely missed the mark. I appreciate what he is doing as a Pastor and a brother in Christ, however his poor lack of judgment only gives ammunition to the enemy that loves to see the Church divided.
After reading this article, I could not help but think of that funny grade-school exercise where person “A” whispers something to person “B”, then person “B” whispers it to person “C” and so on.. When it finally gets to person “Z”, the original message gets distorted so much, that in many cases it is un-recognizable. I think this is what happened to Pastor Marriott in writing this article. He claims that, ”throughout the course of countless talks and adequate research” he has identified perceived dangers (which are just negative opinion from critics). Then, without going to the source for clarification (or Person “A”), he gathers data from what I would call Persons “W,X,Y and Z” and then writes his misguided opinions on the internet for all the world to see. I am very disappointed in Pastor Marriott’s behavior in doing this.
Now I am writing this as a lay Christian, but there is plenty of clear teaching in the scripture to illuminate why Pastor Marriott’s behavior merits correction. Before I attempt to answer his alleged violations, here are three points as to why I am so disappointed and why his article deserves rebuke:
1. Seek facts from the source: the founders of Life Leadership
Matthew 18:15 (ESV) “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.”
If Pastor Marriott thought that a fellow brother in Christ was off track (or a group of believers), why wouldn’t he seek resolution with Persons “A” directly?? For example, he could have contacted Orrin Woodward (Chairman of the Policy Council), or Dan Hawkins (another Policy Council member that lives less than an hour from his church) or any of the other Life Founders? This behavior is not acceptable, especially from a Pastor.
2. Resolve differences and misunderstandings with the source: the founders of Life Leadership
Proverbs 11:13 “A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.”
Proverbs 16:28 “A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates the best of friends.”
Proverbs 6:16-19 “These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to him: A proud look, A lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among the brethren.”
Pastor Marriott chose not to seek facts from the source (NOTE: Third party misguided opinions do not make facts). Next, Pastor Marriott chose not to address his concerns with the source. Finally, Pastor Marriott chose to spread gossip and become a talebearer against fellow believers on the biggest mountaintop he could find – the world wide web. This is a deliberate attempt to sow seeds of discord. There is no argument that justifies this behavior and a Pastor does not have special license to behave this way, especially against other believers.
3. Redeeming the time and working together
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
I would like to recommend to Pastor Marriott, to stay focused on what he has been called to do: to continue faithfully serving his flock and the spiritually sick – not spend precious hours attacking other Christians. We are on the same team. Life Leadership, when properly promoted, is a mighty force for good in this fallen world. Why is it that the Christian faith is the only faith where it finds false justification to shoot its own people?
Now, lets speak to his alleged “5 Dangers with the Team and the Life Business”:
Alleged Claim: “The Team is not Christ-Centered in its Approach to Life”.
Rebuttal: Life Leadership’s founders are definitely Christ centered. Sorry if the wheel diagram threw you off, Pastor Marriott! The founders of Life Leadership certainly agree that only Christ alone can transform a life. Pastor Marriott takes a simple diagram and draws this conclusion? Really? The truth is that the core of Life Leadership is practicing the Apostle Paul’s example of MARKETPLACE MINISTRY (Acts 17:16-34).
Acts 17:17 (NKJV) “Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there.”
The leaders of Life Leadership do not hide out in their churches; they are out in the marketplace regularly. How many other business leaders in positions of influence are engaged in marketplace ministry?? How many should be? How many other companies (outside of Life Leadership and maybe Chick-Fil-A) have a Chairman of the Board regularly share his Christian testimony. How many other businesses host quarterly events where the Gospel is shared to thousands of new people – clearly and without apology?
Just in case you don’t understand marketplace ministry, this is where you meet people where they are at first. You get out of your confortable “Christian circle” and connect with people, finding ways to serve them at their level first.
1Cor 9:22 (NKJV) “…I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”
Pastor Marriott continues this article by writing about spiritual growth assuming that Life Leadership does not share his viewpoint. On the contrary, the leaders agree with Col. 3:4, John 14:6 and Col.2:8 whole heartedly. Life Leadership is not a church, it is not the Holy Spirit and it is not some empty philosophy. Life Leadership is actually connecting earning influence in the lives of lost sinners by first serving them. This may even include people that the Christian Church at large have failed to reach. Contrary to what Pastor Marriott claims, the leaders of Life Leadership are actually trying to fill the Churches on Sunday. Instead of attacking this group of brave men and women, why not encourage them in their works? Monday through Thursday nights at the church may be great times to tend to the needs of existing believers, but the statistics show that there has never been a greater need for brave Christians to engage in Marketplace Ministry (and their role in the church is just as important as the believers that attend mid week church events):
Allow me to share some startling statistics:
- According to a 2013 article by the Hartford Institute of Religion Research, “more than 40% of Americans say they go to church weekly. Research actually shows that less than 20% are actually in church.”
- According to the same research, “somewhere between 4,000 and 7,000 churches close their doors every year”.
- According to Steve McSwain in the Huffington Post article titled, “Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore”, “Between the years 2010 and 2012, more than half of all churches in America added not one new member. Each year, nearly 3 million more previous churchgoers enter the ranks of the “religiously unaffiliated””.
Life Leadership’s leaders are engaged in helping to turn the tide and use real leadership and marketplace ministry to ultimately lead people to spiritual truth.
The next attack by Pastor Marriott was because of a guest speaker, Oliver DeMille. Again, Pastor Marriott gets his information from a third-party and twists the facts. Oliver DeMille was NOT invited to this leadership conference to join or lead a prayer meeting. He was invited in to share his political and economic research on the founding fathers of America. He was brought in to share principles about what creates freedom in a country, not his spiritual beliefs.
To summarize Part 1, the core leadership team of Life Leadership are constantly praying for God’s will to be done and they are constantly working hard to be a mighty force for good in this fallen world. I encourage you to go to the next live Life Leadership event and see for yourself.
Stay tuned for Rebuttal, Part 2!
Part 2 – The Villains
A heroic story would not be a great one without equally great villains. Throughout history, villains have ranged from bad people, to bad companies, to bad ideas. It also has been said that bad people and bad ideas grow stronger when “good” men stand idle and do nothing. I can tell you now that the leaders of Life Leadership are not the type to stand idle and do nothing!
In the history of Life Leadership, there have been many villains, big and small. Some have been obvious to point out based on their blatant legal and slander attacks. Some villains were teammates turned traitor from within the camp. And some remain hidden, as a puppet-master, working in the shadows (and may still be lurking – planning to lay their next round of snares).
It would be easy to comb through history and vilify a list of individuals, but I will not be doing this today. Besides, they know who they are… I believe every villain in the history of Life Leadership was motivated by one (or a combination) of the following:
- Pride / Vanity – Defined as excessive belief in one’s own abilities, that interferes with the individual’s recognition of the grace of God.
- Envy – Defined as the desire for other’s traits, status, abilities or situation.
- Anger / Wrath – Defined as an emotion that manifests in a person who spurns love and opts instead for fury.
- Greed – Defined as the desire for material wealth or gain while ignoring the spiritual realm.
This is a general list. Orrin alluded to some of these in the last article (link here). Keep in mind that in many cases, peace has been made here and this list does imply that any Life leader holds a grudge or harbors any ill-will towards any of these past villains.
- “Old guard” Amway/Quixtar Corporate officers that chose profits over people.
- “Old guard” Amway/Quixtar board members that felt threatened by Orrin’s growth from 1999-2007.
- PR groups hired to slander and twist facts.
- Old teammates turned traitor from within the camp by cutting a deal with Quixtar and running scared from the battle, then speaking out against Orrin and company.
- Old teammates turned traitor from within the camp by becoming bitter victims who blamed Orrin and company for their war-time struggles, then cowardly writing about him and other leaders on various blogs.
There are two types of villains that exist today:
The first are easy to spot, they are ex-members of Life Leadership that did not understand or agree with the steps that were taken by the current leaders of Life Leadership from 2007-2010. They occasionally write on blogs in an attempt to justify their victim status or to make themselves feel better for being quitters. There is also a crazy lawsuit pending that illustrates how far some people will go to justify their bad behavior (see my previous posts here).
The second type of villain likes to remain somewhat anonymous. To unmask these villains, we must engage in some exploratory questions/answers:
- Are there any competing enterprises that see the products or profitability of Life Leadership as a business threat? Answer: No, they actually enhance all other businesses with their Corporate LLR subscriptions!
- Are there any prideful or envious people that stood to gain from forcing Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady out of their distributorships back in 2007? Answer: Yes. These PR camps point to this conclusion. In my opinion, there is a large group of people that were “called out” when Orrin and Chris behaved like true leaders. When you have character and take a stand against wrong-doing, you automatically become a polarizing force. In 2007, it became “gut-check” time. Do you stand on principles and fight injustice? Or do you pull a Nevill Chamberlin and cowardly make concessions for “peace at any cost”? I know it sounds melodramatic, but it is the truth. Again, 99% of the negative press you can read online is a direct result of Orrin and Chris being genuine leaders and exposing the posers. Period!
Regardless of these villains, Life Leadership has and will continue to grow because of the character of its leaders and their willingness to attack the status quo and the courage to confront issues head on. Go ahead and attend the next meeting and see for yourself. These guys are the kind of leaders you would be proud to be associated with!
Part 1 – The Heroes of Life Leadership
I love hearing true stories of modern day heroes! At the national level, each of our countries are full of brave men and women in our armed services that have showcased honor, bravery and sacrifice. Again, right in our own communities, there exist countless stories of heroes – from law enforcement to firefighters to nurses and teachers – all performing brave acts and making the world around them better. When it comes to the world of business, there are also heroes out there making real sacrifices in order to help make the world around them a better place.
When I read about the story of this group of business partners that make up Life Leadership, I not only see another modern day hero, but a large group of heroes. After the fury of a great battle passes, the strong gather to tell the stories to the next generation of leaders. Life Leadership has an amazing story so far – full of drama, heartbreak and victory – and this is their story. The journey that these men and women have survived so far has forged an amazing team of core leaders that deserve credit for their bravery, their character and their sacrifice. If you are new to Life Leadership or are doing your research (like any good skeptic should) on these folks, you are in for a treat! They are the ‘real deal’!
The heroes of this story are not only the ones named in the headlines, but also thousands un-named. If you spend any length of time around the seminars and conventions of Life Leadership, you can hear many un-written heroic acts of this brave group of men and women.
That being said, Orrin & Laurie Woodward (and their family) certainly deserve the highest honors in this story, due to their enormous sacrifices when it mattered most to their teammates (financially stunning, emotionally taxing, spiritually testing, and having to endure more back-stabbing from so called “friends” than I care to write about).
If you are looking to join a company and group of leaders who have proven themselves worthy of following, look no further. They know how to dream big. They know how to work hard. They know how to put people first. They know how to learn from history. They know that they must constantly grow personally and professionally. They never run from a fight, when it is noble and right. They seek God’s will and direction for every decision they make. They have a goal to make a difference in over 1 million lives worldwide.
So here is the synopsis so far from Orrin Woodward himself. I will interject my own highlights from time to time. Enjoy the article!
What was the 2007-2010 legal dispute between some of the LIFE leaders, Quixtar and Mona Vie about?
I get asked this question periodically even though the dispute ended in 2010. Still, I believe the highlights from the issue can help a person understand the principles LIFE Leadership is founded upon. Before discussing the details, however, I think it’s important to share that I have no hard feelings for anyone who worked with Quixtar or currently works with Amway. As a matter of fact, I still have friends that work within the company. I believe life is too short to carry grudges and what is past is past. Further, I have heard from several sources that Amway has softened its litigation policy against leaders who want to leave the company. For this, I am thankful. Finally, I learned a ton during my time with Quixtar and have many memorable experiences. In consequence, I have taken the good, flushed the bad, and move ahead with no animosity.
Before LIFE Leadership was launched, Laurie and I, along with some of the other top leaders, worked with a company called Quixtar to build our community (business asset). Quixtar was a North American Internet based multi-level business started by the owners of Amway, but set up as a separate company from it’s parent. This was an important feature to me because I had joined Amway in 1993 when I learned they were developing an Interactive Distribution model to combine high-tech and high-touch. Regretfully, however, by 1998, I realized this was more hype than substance and had not come to fruition. Since I had no interest in building a traditional Amway business, we planned on starting a new venture.
Nevertheless, after hearing Ken McDonald (Quixtar’s first managing-director) share his vision for a new online model, we changed our minds. Since it was a separate from Amway (but backed by the founders funds) and would leverage the fast-growing Internet, we were intrigued. As a result, in 1999, we chose not renew our Amway distributorship and joined Quixtar instead as an IBO (Independent Business Owner).
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.
HIGHLIGHT: IN 8 YEARS, THEIR APPROACH TO BUILDING COMMUNITIES CREATED A TWO-HUNDRED-MILLION-DOLLAR PER YEAR ASSET!!
Unfortunately, the rest of Quixtar was not doing well, mainly because the older, more mature organizations seemed unable to adjust to building an online business. I saw the loss of confidence and numbers firsthand because I was asked to speak (hundreds of times) to Quixtar groups across North America. Dismally, instead of growing into the 100 billion dollar company predicted by Ken McDonald and other top leaders, Quixtar leveled off around a billion dollars even with our team’s meteoric growth. In fact, many of the top leaders lost half their numbers or more as they struggled to marry high-touch communities with the high-tech online environment. Nonetheless, I didn’t realize the precarious nature of the Quixtar business until Ken McDonald abruptly announced his retirement in 2005 despite flying to see me just weeks earlier to discuss future strategies. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement (Ken and I worked well together), but I also respected Quixtar’s right to choose its leadership team.
Curiously, however, Quixtar’s new managing-director was also an Amway vice-president. Although I thought this was strange, I was assured on numerous occasions that the two were still separate corporations and the change in management was merely to help Quixtar increase its sales. As a result, the 2007 announcement that Quixtar was closing its doors and that all its Independent Business Owners (IBOs) would be transitioned into Amway shocked me. This was unacceptable for several reasons. For one thing, I was not in Amway (having purposefully not renewed when Quixtar launched), nor did I want to be in Amway. For another, I had told tens of thousands of people that they were independent business owners affiliated with Quixtar just as the IBO moniker implied. True, Quixtar was owned by the founders of Amway, but they were allegedly separate companies with separate field organizations. Indeed, I must have repeated this message of separate companies a thousand times because that is what Ken McDonald and the rest of the Quixtar’s management team had told all of us. In sum, I had been misled, and thus had inadvertently misled others.
For me, the whole conflict was a moral issue. On one hand, I knew Quixtar (like any company) had the power to break its commitments to its customers, but it didn’t have the power to avoid the subsequent fallout. On the other hand, how could I represent a company to others that I believed had misrepresented itself to me? Indeed, leadership is character in motion and without trust, it’s impossible for any leader to get in motion. Nevertheless, quitting my independent business was not as simple as it sounded since Amway had stated its intention to litigate against any leader attempting to leave the Amway/Quixtar (indeed, hundreds were sued before and after me). Not surprisingly, the legal risk intimidated many other leaders into submission, but it only emboldened our leadership team. For if we stayed with Amway because we feared litigation, then we would be imprisoned into Amway’s Legal Matrix and not truly independent anyway. How, in a word, could we ever recommend others to join us as independent business owners when we knew in our hearts that this was no longer true?
HIGHLIGHT: ORRIN AND HIS BAND OF MIGHTY MEN HAD THE CHARACTER AND COURAGE TO FACE THE PROBLEMS HEAD ON AND DO THE RIGHT THING REGARDLESS OF THE COST. IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT ORRIN HAD TO HAVE BEEN VERY FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE FOR YEARS, SO THAT WHEN THE “RAINS CAME”, HE COULD HELP HIS TEAM WEATHER THE STORMS.
Although the easiest thing to do would have been to rejoin Amway, announce my retirement, and slowly watch my groups dissolve, this was morally unconscionable. I also doubted Amway’s antiquated business model could work in the internet savvy North American market regardless of how many millions Amway spent on television advertisements (Amway no longer discloses North American sales volume but it is rumored to have dropped precipitously). How could Laurie and I in good conscience give up our purpose and principles for profit while our community suffered? And yet, I also knew that I would be sued by Amway (a multi-billion dollar international company) if I didn’t agree to their plan. Financially, this was a lose-lose scenario. Neither option, in other words, was without massive risk and challenges, but leaders are paid to make decisions and it was time to make a decision.
Thankfully, I had great leaders like Chris Brady, Tim Marks, Claude Hamilton, George Guzzardo and Bill Lewis (interestingly, I barely knew my good friend and LIFE co-Founder Dan Hawkins at the time), who all believed we should choose character over convenience. Accordingly, I called a meeting to announce my immediate resignation and intention to sit out Quixtar’s six month non-compete period. My plan was to form a new company and build our businesses entirely separate from either Quixtar or Amway. Disastrously, however, instead of accepting my resignation, Amway announced it was “firing” me (how a company can fire an independent business owner is still inexplicable to me). They proceeded to call each of the leaders in our community to demand they choose either Quixtar (soon to be Amway) or staying with me. Of course, the field leaders had no idea what Quixtar was talking about since I had not announced to anyone (except a handful of my top leaders) any plans to start another business.
HIGHLIGHT: JUST LIKE THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT OF DAVID AND HIS MIGHTY MEN, SO TO DID ORRIN HAVE A GROUP OF MIGHTY MEN SURROUNDING HIM THAT NOT ONLY PROVIDED SUPPORT, BUT A GREAT REASON FOR ALL TO PERSEVERE – TO FIGHT FOR EACH OTHER.
Amway’s management team had no idea the hornet nests they had knocked over. People in our organization were already upset at the name change and now Amway/Quixtar compounded its errors through firing myself and Chris, manufacturing press releases, and issuing business ultimatums. Not surprisingly, Quixtar paid for its hubris. In our organization alone, over 50,000 IBOs resigned rather than switch to Amway. Of course, Amway (true to their promise) initiated multi-million dollar court and arbitration proceedings against me and others. The financial stakes were high since we had already lost our business incomes and now risked bankruptcy. Evidently, the plan appeared to be to sue people into submission.
Consequently, starting our own company was out of the question. It would be foolhardy to attempt when a multi-billion dollar company was seeking to squash us. I didn’t feel that falling on my own sword and hurting the many people who followed me out of Quixtar was the proper plan. Rather, I needed a plan for survival until Amway realized we would not surrender our principles no matter what the consequences. Accordingly, I sought a join another company so I could earn money to help support our growing legal mess (tens of millions of dollars). Of course, I ensured, upfront, that once the legal battles were over, we would be free to start our own business if we still desired to.
Fortunately, I found Dallin Larsen, the 2009 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and founder of Mona Vie. Mona Vie, in 2008, was one of the fastest growing companies in the network marketing. While he benefited from bringing in our large organization (millions of dollars per month in volume), he also had taken a huge risk. In truth, I do not see how we would have survived without working with Mona Vie. As expected, Amway subsequently sued Mona Vie (I commend their persistence) and countless more millions were spent battling the behemoth. Fortunately, Dallin Larsen did not flinch and followed through on everything he committed to despite several years of legal harassment.
Finally, in 2010, a global settlement was reached. After much pain and pressure (the battle had left no one unscathed) the war was over. I believe Amway finally realized the IBOs who resigned were not coming back and we had enough funding to continue the legal battles indefinitely. As a result, the biggest leadership challenge we had ever faced was finally over. Our community was FREE! This was our team’s finest moment. I have never been prouder of any group of leaders for they had survived nearly three years (2007 through 2010) without surrendering. Some even choosing to declare bankruptcy rather than give in to Amway’s legal demands.
In closing, many times during the war I had told the leaders that those who stayed would be champions. It is inspiring to see how many achievers stayed with us to finish the million person mission. These men and women are the one’s who dreamed, the one’s who dared, and the one’s who sacrificed to make LIFE Leadership a reality. Although I have read thousands of books on businesses, I have never found a more inspiring example of a group of common people willing to face uncommon giants. Perhaps the best description of the LIFE Leadership pioneers is the plaque at the Overpass Museum in Carney, Nebraska, “The cowards never started. The weak died on the way. Only the strong survived.” If a person is ready to face his personal Goliath, I know of no stronger community to help him do so than LIFE Leadership.
In summary, the heroes in this story are too many to name. But I assure you they are at every monthly Life seminar across North America (and soon to be around the world) shaking hands, encouraging people and working hard to make a difference. So before you pass judgement on Life Leadership, go and meet them. And be prepared to be amazed…
Orrin Woodward and the LIFE Leadership business
A force for good in this cynical world
In spite of the positive difference that the Life Leadership business is making in people’s lives around the world, the “anonymous” bloggers still love to vomit their cynicism online. If you are here doing your research, allow me to pose some questions that should make you think twice before taking their bitter pill and believing the negative blogger’s claims.
Life Leadership and the measuring stick of popular opinion:
Life Leadership regularly packs out multiple stadiums in North America full of supporters, showcasing wonderful testimonies of changed lives and compelling success stories. Contrary to what the venomous bloggers write, the leaders of Life Leadership do not guarantee results, only a fantastic opportunity and a level playing field. If the critics are right, then why are there tens of thousands of supporters around the world that vote otherwise with their dollars and attendence? And, in contrast, why are there only a couple of negative websites? Hmmm. The fact is that, in the court of popular opinion, customers and business owners using the Life Leadership products are extremely satisfied. Furthermore, attendance at live events also implies that Life Leadership members are also very happy at all success levels. So, wouldn’t it make sense that if the critic’s claims are true, there would be thousands of people crying foul? There are not. Instead, Life Leadership continues to grow their customer base as well as their field compensation every month.
Unveiling the scam behind the alleged Life Leadership scam:
Every large business and every long lasting networking company has online critics. The bigger they are, the more they are criticized and attacked. Here is my point: Who benefits from writing and supporting a negative website/blog? There is ALWAYS a motive. Nobody writes this stuff, good or bad, without a motive. Here are a couple of examples of different motives to consider:
- A disgruntled ex-distributor could write negative comments about their old business on social media to gain distributors for a new business. This same person could even use their comments to gain sympathy for a favorable ruling in a court case against that same business.
- A naturally cynical writer receives large “anonymous” financial gifts to dig up dirt and twist facts to make another person or business look bad. All they would need is that “1-in-100,000 insider” with a bone to pick and they have their story! The motive for the financier of the blog is to eliminate competition for his or her own business. The motive for the blog writer is financial gain with the added bonus of satisfying their need to poison the world with their cynicism.
- A company executive pulls some political strings with a large magazine to have an article written that disparages another company in which they are trying to win a lawsuit against.
I could go on and on, but you get the picture. What is Orrin Woodward’s motive? In exchange for providing a world-class environment for personal and professional growth, he receives a profit (and the satisfaction of making a positive difference in people’s lives). Then he shares the majority of these profits with Life Leadership members who help build customer sales and the member network. Ask yourself, what is the negative bloggers motive and what are the motives of those who financially support the negative bloggers? Think about it…
#setthe record straight