January 25, 2016 | Debbi A. Ballard | Comments 1
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What Barry Sanders Means to your Business

copyright, 2016, Debbi A. Ballard All rights reserved worldwide.

OK. I know you’re thinking, “Debbi, you’ve really lost it now. What Barry Sanders means to your business? The outstanding, famous football player for the Detroit Lions said something that could really help me in my business?”

Oh, yes. So says Kerri Pollard, the keynote speaker from Affiliate Summit West 2016 (#ASW16) which recently took place in Las Vegas. And she is right.

Kerri is the former president of the CJ Marketplace, the large affiliate marketing network. She is one of the most articulate speakers I have ever heard.

Kerri’s topic was how to motivate and engage employees. While much of her information was, in fact, applicable to the affiliates in attendance, my only regret was that she did not tailor it more specifically to affiliates (who are independent contractors like networkers) instead of employees. There are differences that must be addressed in tactics used to motivate and engage when dealing with independent contractors versus employees (particularly relating to legal issues, for example, as to what you can or cannot demand of either group). Perhaps in one of my upcoming blog posts, I will delineate those issues.

For now, however, let’s look at the wonderful story Kerri told about Barry Sanders. Barry came from a poor family and was the seventh child out of eleven in his family. At the very peak of his career with the Detroit Lions, he did something remarkable…he quit!

No one knew this was coming and needless to say, the management team was in shock. They had absolutely no idea that Barry was so disgruntled that he was thinking of resigning.

Why did he quit?

According to Kerri, Barry stated that he thought that the team, under the current management, was no longer committed to winning.

Think about that. It’s a powerful statement.

If you are a networker, is your management team, along with your sponsor and your upline leaders, committed to winning?

If you are an affiliate, are your merchants and respective affiliate managers committed to winning? Does your network facilitate winning?

As an exceptional football player, Barry worked very hard and wanted his team to win. He could no longer be a member of an organization that he felt did not share his passion for winning. It was management’s lack of passion to win that caused him to lose his motivation and engagement.

As someone who had been involved in mergers and acquisitions, Kerri also told about how one of her contacts involved in a major transaction explained to her his greatest fear…

“My ability to attract and retain talent.”

Nice! Networkers can you relate to that? You bet.

Affiliate managers, can you relate to that? You bet.

Kerri then spoke about a study reported in the Harvard Business Review relating to The Progressive Principle. The study analyzed what motivated employees and kept them engaged.

The results indicated that when employees felt they were moving forward, making progress in their jobs and what they wanted to achieve, they were very motivated and engaged. They felt they had a level of autonomy that allowed them to create, solve problems and collaborate well which together gave them a sense of progressively moving forward.

Incentives geared mainly towards monetary rewards were not enough to motivate and engage. This is something I have spoken about at conferences myself and addressed in articles and books about the network marketing industry. (If you have not yet read my ebook on mlm compensation plans, grab a copy and you’ll understand how this directly relates to payouts and recognition for networkers.)

Kerri stressed that in engaging employees, the study found that a good relationship with management was important. In addition, a good spirit of fellowship with co-workers was needed and that this was often nurtured through fun, company sponsored events. It was also important for each employee to feel that they truly had opportunities for growth. Hence, career development was also critical for engagement.

Why does it matter that people are engaged? An engaged employee is 2.5 times more productive than a non-engaged employee according to a Bain research report.

Listen to Kerri in the Affiliate Summit West 2016 video above. You’ll get more examples of how to motivate and engage. Just understand that, due to legal issues, while a company can demand that employees, for example, attend company sponsored events, a network marketing company can’t demand that of their networkers and neither can merchants nor affiliate managers make such demands of their affiliates. So while you’ll see some differences on how networkers and affiliates can be motivated and engaged versus employees, you will still understand how valuable it is to at least encourage and reward participation in such events in some manner.

Hence you can capitalize on the principles espoused in the study, but implement the motivation and engagement tactics a bit differently when it comes to networkers and affiliates since they are independent contractors.

Oh, and now you know I’m not crazy because you understand what Barry Sanders means to your business. He knows that the right motivation and engagement would have kept him on the team and that your team can persevere and win with the proper motivation and engagement.

To Shawn Collins and Missy Ward, the co-founders of #ASW16, congrats on another terrific Affiliate Summit.

(Note: INLC is an affiliate for the Affiliate Summit because we feel the event is so beneficial for both networkers and affiliates. As an affiliate, INLC could receive remuneration should you decide to register via a link on our site.)

Debbi A. Ballard introduced the world’s first comprehensive marketing and management consulting services for start-ups and established multinational firms in the mlm (network marketing) industry. A consultant, speaker, author and expert witness, she is considered a trusted authority and visionary in that industry. She is also recognized for her innovation and leadership relating to the convergence issues that impact network marketing and affiliate marketing. Thousands of corporate owners, managers, networkers, and affiliates subscribe to her firm’s newsletter, MyNetBrief(tm), for news, research and valuable tips.

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Filed Under: MLM ArticlesMLM and Affiliate Marketing


About the Author: MLM Consultant, Expert Witness, Author, Blogger, Speaker and CEO of International Network Liaison Corporation...but more importantly, wife, mother, daughter, aunt, cousin and friend.

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  1. Thank you for coming to Affiliate Summit and stating some of the differences between employees and affiliates. We hope to see you in NYC in July.

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