Part 4 – Orrin Woodward and the Team battle a giant.
“William, where are ya going?” “I’m going to pick a fight!” “Well, we didn’t get dressed up for nothing!” -from the movie Braveheart
Stunned from the recent news in June, Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady were still hopeful that the ownership group of Quixtar and Amway would come to their senses. As the buzz grew and the worry thickened, another ‘Boston Tea Party’ seemed imminent. On August 9, 2007, Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady and their legal staff made their last stand at diplomacy. David and Goliath, recreated 3,000 years later, only this showdown takes place in a boardroom in Ada, Michigan. As they stood outside the boardroom, I am sure you could have heard a pin drop. Imagine, theatrically, time slowing down and an intoxicating fog of worry and anticipation filling the corridor. Not a word is said, but thoughts scurry across the front of everyone’s mind “will this approach work?” and a thousand “what if” scenarios preplay through everybody’s mind. Then, imagine a reassuring glance that says, “we said we would do the right thing, no matter what the cost”. “Yup, lets roll”.
They all knew there were only 3 potential outcomes that could happen today (as the wild west shootout music plays in the background of their minds). Outcome #1: There is still time, they could just tuck tail and run. Seriously, both Orrin and Chris had enough money to just wash their hands of this whole mess and walk away from this fight. There is no argument that this option would have simply allowed Amway’s changes to erode their business in the months to come. This option also came with a guaranteed to also destroy the hopes, dreams and livelihoods of the tens of thousands of current Team members. This is what a coward would have done – walk away, or worse, cut a deal. Outcome #2: Maybe the potential resignation of two of Quixtar’s best and brightest leaders would sway the imperial rivalry to change course. Just like in March of 1766, Orrin and Chris must have felt like Ben Franklin in front of the English Parliament, hoping to convince the British Crown that their actions may cause a breach of trust and a possible revolution. Maybe Quixtar would see that Orrin and Chris were using all of the leverage they could muster to come to an amicable solution for all. Unfortunately, just like King George III, the Imperial ownership at Amway was not going to budge, not even for their top marketers. Outcome #3: Orrin and Chris would be forced to sacrifice everything, give their resignation, secede from the union and begin their battle for independence. As history has shown with previous groups who stood up for injustice, this move would surely be followed with threats of litigation and financial ruin for themselves and all of the top leaders who would dare to stand with them. (A minor point of fact: Quixtar staff claims they terminated Orrin and Chris that day; however the fact remains that the notice of resignation letters were handed to Quixtar’s legal staff prior to their announcement of termination. Quixtar later refused to acknowledge this small fact.) This would, just like September of 1768, lead to England sending warships to Boston Harbor to prevent uprising and revolution.
The conference room door opened and the time that seemed so slow just moments ago suddenly lunged everybody forward into a tempest. The corporate titans were not about to be intimidated and, as ego’s ballooned, diplomacy was tossed out the window. The meeting concluded with Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady tendering their resignations. The reply from Quixtar came in the form of a threat and a warning: this is where I imagine a scene from the movie ‘300’ (the famous battle between 300 Spartans and the Persian army in 480 BC) was recreated in the corporate boardroom as Xerxes messenger placed his foot upon the large mahogany conference table across from Orrin and Chris, and threw a string of skulls at Orrin’s feet saying, “Nobody has ever defied us and survived! Look at past rebels – Brig Hart, Ken Stewart, Don Storms, Bo Short, Gerry Betterman, Andy Andrews. None of them survived our wrath of litigation and went on to built another marketing business. Ever!!”
The very next day, as bold as sending warships into a peaceful Boston harbor, Quixtar sends tens of thousands of threatening correspondence, or “ultimatum letters”, to each and every member of Orrin Woodward’s Team organization. These letters demanded the members stop attending all Team events and stop using Team materials to build their network. These letters (and later court documents) showed that Quixtar considered members and their connections to other friends and family members to be private company property. The letters further demanded a written response of allegiance to the current Quixtar (and future Amway) system. If you did not reply within the 2-week deadline, they would automatically terminate the member’s business. Can you imagine being a new person receiving an ultimatum letter like this? Quixtar/Amway certainly does not have to worry about outside forces damaging the company when it seems to be the only company on planet earth that “eats its young”.
The ‘shot heard round the (networking) world’:
Flashback to 1768 – Imagine 2 young fishermen trolling the banks outside of Boston Harbor. Just another day at work, when suddenly, they are caught off guard by the sounds of two large vessels piercing nearby waves. The tall mastheads, ringing warning bells and a well organized crew hustling to ready their ship for port must have been both awe inspiring and frightening to the humble fishermen. As the British Royal Navy began to move their massive ships of war into Boston Harbor, the entire town stopped to wonder why so many ships have arrived? “We couldn’t be under attack by our own sovereign, could we?”
It’s been a couple of days since the meeting between Orrin, Chris and Quixtar brass. The majority of people in the Team organization did not even know that it was even happening. Many of the top leaders were concerned about how the upcoming changes would affect their business, but it has been many days since any communications from Orrin, Chris or any of the top leaders from Team. Complete radio silence (we know now that were immediately served with a court-ordered temporary restraining order (TRO) which forbade them from communicating with their entire Team organization). In fact, the only communication to the Team organization came from Quixtar, in the form of this threatening ultimatum letter. This left everybody wondering and asking “what do we do now?” Call Orrin (no answer). Call Chris (no answer). Call the Team office (no answer). What to do? Fear creeps into the mind. What has happened to the leaders? What will happen to the rest of us? The drama increased with each passing day…
Imagine the average member, sitting at their kitchen table on a sunny Saturday morning. A few months prior, they registered with Quixtar and were excited by the results of build a network with a great group of friends in a teamwork approach taught at their local Team meeting. Now, in one hand, they hold an ultimatum letter from Quixtar. In the other hand, a computer mouse that is scrolling through a fresh blog article from a Quixtar affiliate that reads “Just Go, Team”. This article includes allegations that Quixtar has just terminated its two fastest growing leaders and is happy to see the Team go. Hmmm… It isn’t difficult to imagine, at this very moment, that this member does not have a good feeling about sending a letter swearing allegiance to a company that behaves like this. Whether a member was new or making thousands of dollars in monthly bonuses, the gravity of this point in history weighed heavy on all members.
Stay tuned for Part 5!
Chris Brady is Founder, CEO and Creative Director of the Life Leadership business. Although Chris takes his duties and responsibilities very serious, he does not take himself too serious. What I mean is that Chris is one of the most likeable and joy-filled guys that you would ever have the privilege of meeting. Chris is seriously fun to listen to, with his quick wit and the ability to turn a funny tale into a fantastic lesson. Along with Orrin Woodward, Chris is an extremely well read individual who teaches people to dig into books as if they contained priceless buried treasure inside. Most importantly, Chris has a passion to lead people to his savior, Jesus Christ, and to empower other people to become a force for good in this fallen world.
The Vision of Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward
With Chris’s impressive professional credentials (see below), solid personal character and his drive towards excellence in all areas of life, I am appalled that anybody could write anything derogatory online. Both Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward have dedicated their lives to the building of something magnificent that will provide some of the greatest opportunities that the masses will ever be exposed to. They are fighting to keep the American Dream alive and well – and not just in America, but all over the world. They are creating a company that can equip the masses to excel in their personal and professional lives. At the same time, they are creating opportunities for people who want their ladder of success to not be limited by a corporate pay scale by creating a compensation plan that has no ceiling. They are both revolutionizing the home-based industry.
Chris Brady’s message to critics
Here is a short excerpt from Chris as he indirectly addresses critics to Life Leadership in the classy and witty style that he does everything else with:
Enter the Antagonists (Who Would Dare Say LIFE Leadership is a Scam)
Opposed to our revolutionizing the industry is, of course, anyone who wants things to stay as they are in any of the above four trends. As the saying goes, “When you set out to change the world, you’d better beware of those who already run it!” This includes entrenched competitors and those who work for them or prosper by their position, who are, as is only natural, threatened by what we are attempting to achieve. What results is the most natural situation in which two different sides are battling it out in the marketplace for proof that their way of doing things is best. As is so wonderful in the capitalistic system (as Orrin Woodward has written about on numerous occasions) the customer gets to decide. We respect our competitors of all stripes and sizes and look forward to the challenge they provide on the playing field of free enterprise!
To Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward: Thanks for all you do!
To the Antagonists, big and small: If you have a better way to make the world a better place, then go do it. Otherwise, shut up!
Short summary of Chris Brady’s professional credentials:
Chris Brady is founder, CEO, and Creative Director of LIFE Leadership. He also serves as the Executive Publisher of Obstaclés Press and is a New York Times bestselling author, speaker, humorist, and businessman. Chris has sold over a million copies of his books in 6 different languages.
Just recently, Chris was named the #2 Humorist to Follow on Twitter.
He also made the Likeable Local’s Top 150 Great Marketers to Follow in 2015.
Chris was named one of the The Modern Servant Leader’s Top Leadership Experts to Follow in 2015.
Also in 2015 he made the list for The Top 20 Most Followed Leadership Gurus on Twitter!
In May of 2014, Chris was ranked number 39 on Inc. magazine’s Top 50 Leadership and Management Experts .
Chris is also listed among the Top 100 Authors to Follow on Twitter (@RascalTweets).
In 2010, he received the Kettering/GMI Alumni Association Entrepreneurial Achievement Award.
His blog has been chosen by Online Masters Degree Programs for a Masters Award in Leadership, selected as a Top Management Resource for 2012, and listed in the Top 150 Management and Leadership Blogs.
Launching a Leadership Revolution (coauthored with Orrin Woodward)
Rascal (Gold Medal winner in the 2013 Living Now Evergreen Book Awards)
EDGE (co-authored with Orrin Woodward)
Leadership and Liberty (co-authored with Orrin Woodward)
Leadership: Tidbits and Treasures (co-authored with Orrin Woodward)
LIFE (co-authored with Orrin Woodward)
In 1 Corinthians 12 we learn that spiritual gifts are given to all of God’s people. They are meant to be graces from God for the edification of the church and for the common good of mankind. Apparently, some people are under the impression that God forgot to tell us about another “gift”. This “gift” is one that many people are excited to use faithfully day and night. Some people are so proud of this gift that they spend decades mastering it and ignoring any other lesser gifts in their repertoire: The gift of criticism. I love the following story from Woodrow Kroll:
It was after a church service one morning in which the minister had preached on spiritual gifts that he was greeted at the door by a lady who said, “Pastor, I believe I have the gift of criticism.” The pastor looked at her and asked, “Remember the person in Jesus’ parable who had the one talent?” The woman nodded her understanding. “Do you recall what he did with it?” “Yes,” replied the lady, “he went out and buried it.” The pastor suggested, “Go, thou, and do likewise!”
Just to be clear, criticism is NOT a spiritual gift. Everybody can do it – you are not special in this regard. It takes maturity and discipline to harness the power of one’s tongue. Proverbs 18:21 (NIV) says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Two types of criticism
There are two types of criticism, solicited and unsolicited. Unsolicited criticism typically comes from those who falsely think they have the spiritual gift of criticism. Sometimes, on very rare occasions, unsolicited criticism that comes from a loved one is necessary, albeit painful. Sometimes a “good ol’ fashioned butt-whooping” is warranted. However, more often it is the unsolicited criticism that not only falls on deaf ears, but damages relationships and drives wedges between people. On the other hand, solicited criticism is derived out of a desire to improve and remove “blind spots”.
The Value of Criticism
I love what Chris Brady has to say about criticism in his best-selling book, Rascal:
(Excerpt taken from his blog article, Rascalinity Test)
Certainly we don’t want to over-fixate on our problems. Doing so causes us to pull our focus away from the areas where we are naturally endowed, depletes our confidence, and drains our motivation. However, if the weaknesses are large enough, they can smother any chance the strengths have of moving us forward. In particular, if our weaknesses are weaknesses of character, they must be addressed immediately or the kind of success and significance for which a Rascal longs will never be realized. For some people, their weaknesses are so prevalent that they must be fixed in order to succeed any further. This is why it is helpful to have someone else take the test on your behalf. It might just point out some blind spots for which you are not aware. However, do this carefully, and only with people for whom you have the highest trust and respect. We should always invite “constructive” criticism carefully, as it is still criticism, and no matter how much of a Rascal we are, we can only handle so much of it.
Criticism of Orrin Woodward and the Life Leadership business
I have read all of the reviews, good and bad, of Orrin Woodward. I want to set the record straight that what Orrin Woodward stands for is truth, justice and freedom. He is attacked because he is sharing absolute truth in a fallen world that likes to twist truth to satisfy bad behavior. Period!
Is Orrin Woodward a scam artist like some of his critics claim?
The answer is a resounding NO. The best proofs are in the area of personal finance and the Financial Matrix. There are so many cases that have followed the Financial Fitness program and have wiped out multiple 5-figures of debt. There are testimonials plastered all over the Life Leadership Forums and YouTube videos that speak about how much the materials and success principles have made a positive impact that is impossible to put a monetary value on.
Is the Life Leadership a pyramid scam?
Again, the answer is NO. It is neither a pyramid nor a scam. It is the fairest (and the most lucrative) way to compensate people for building a compensated community. This community that encourages one another to read, listen and associate with success-oriented people so that all grow in the three necessary areas: Body, mind, and soul.
The only problem Orrin Woodward and the Life Leadership have is that, so far, they have been incapable of building a system good enough to overcome stupidity! Like it or not, this is the truth!