Part 6 – Orrin Woodward and the team leaders stand tall in the throws of war.
“At my command, unleash hell” – Russell Crowe as General Maximus Decimus Meridius in the movie ‘Gladiator‘
Quixtar’s Smack-Down and the Team stands strong
Quixtar’s next move was in response to the wave of resignations. Imagine Quixtar’s ownership saying, “Somehow, Orrin or Chris must have told all of those people what to do! Then their top leaders must have conveyed the message. Lets identify the top 10-20 biggest leaders and attack them too. We will sue them, drag both husbands and wives into court and interrogate them for hours in front of cameras and high-powered lawyers. Lets drain them all financially; bankrupt them if you have to. Lets take their computers and phones and scan for any communication with Orrin, Chris or their teams. Lets spend millions to find the answer to the question: who destroyed our “property” by telling all of “our” people quit. Bury them, regardless of the financial cost!” For the next few months, this was the Team’s ‘Valley Forge’ moment – and without their two top Commanders. A potential breaking point was imminent. How long will decisions of principle carry them? Even thought the spotlight was on Orrin and Chris, there were many other leaders who sacrificed greatly to protect others from attack during this time. These are all unsung heroes. They were brothers in a foxhole getting mortars dropped all around them. And certainly there were some financial casualties. That being said, nobody sacrificed more than Orrin Woodward.
Nobody succeeds alone. Everyone needs a helping hand from time to time.
When George Washington walked through Valley Forge the winter of 1777 to begin the Continental Army’s 6-month encampment, I imaging that, privately, his confidence was extremely tested. What a breath of fresh air it must have been to greet Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, onetime staff member of Frederick the Great (King of Prussia), carrying an endorsement from Benjamin Franklin. One could argue a divine providence in the timing of events. With von Steuben’s help, the Continental Army made it through the winter with revived spirit and enhanced fighting skill to successfully engage the British Army at the Battle of Monmouth in New Jersey!
There were a few rays of hope during the Team’s 6-month ‘Valley Forge”. The first came with a Circuit Court ruling that upheld the constitutional right of assembly, allowing the Team to gather for meetings and seminars. The second ray of hope (and this would prove later to be the seed idea to the Life Leadership business) is that the Team could market a generic version of their audio CDs and books for general personal and professional development purposes. All references to Quixtar must be (happily) removed. Members that attained a certain volume of materials could still be paid a bonus from Team, based upon volume discounting. This gave birth to the idea that the personal and professional development found within the content produced by Team leaders could turn into a stand-alone marketable product.
What happened next was, in my opinion, one of the most generous moves in business history that I have ever heard about. In addition, almost nobody knew about this amazing sacrifice (until now). Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady and Tim Marks (and their spouses) were already under legal and financial attack by a billion-dollar company; they were getting stabbed in the back every other month by people they thought were friends, they were targeted by countless critics blaming them for everything going wrong, they were all getting interrogated in courtrooms after being forced to regularly read mountains of legal briefs, and if that wasn’t enough, they were forced to endure weeks at a time without seeing family and loved ones … did they reach their breaking point? No, instead, they did something truly amazing. In the middle of all of this turmoil, they agreed to surrender 100% of their Team bonuses for the purpose of subsidizing the incomes of the Team leaders that were camped with them in this valley. What an amazing move! What is even more amazing is this continued for 18 months while all three shouldered all of the aforementioned workload, attacks and immense stress. History, many times, recalls great deeds of men long after they did them. The great deeds of the original leaders of the Team must not go un-noticed any longer. No wonder they command so much social capital!
Next, a fortuitous chain of events! Stay tuned for Part 7!