After 30+ years in the network marketing industry the only thing I know for sure is that most people who achieve a good income do it with the skills, confidence, work ethic and mindsets they ENTERED the industry with. The challenge with that is personality is not duplicatable as we talk about in great detail in the Masses Training.

My message to network marketing leaders has always been YOU ARE NOT THE ISSUE, duplicatable systems are! Unfortunately many network marketers are more concerned about developing a following than they are new leaders.

It seems lately I cannot get off this soap box. Everytime I write an article like this I have friends tell me I am going to upset the “MLM Good Ole Boy Network” you would think by now they would understand that I DON’T CARE! My loyalty is to the 27%ers, good, honest, hard working, teachable people who want to change their families future with the network marketing industry. Every day I see these people manipulated, lied to and told 1/2 truths. It has always been the #1 thorn in my side, and I am realizing at my age, it is not going to go away!

According to an article in Psychology Today Leadership is not a position or title but the ability to provide visions, systems and methods to help others progress and move forward in their career.

The good news for me is people that have that mentality do not read this blog, subscribe to my newsletter or connect with me on any level. Years ago I heard a speaker, Billy Riggs, say “Behind every successful network marketer is someone who wants to prove the teenagers they went to high school with wrong”. I don’t know of a more EGO driven industry than network marketing.

MLM Success Meme

As Zig said “Ego is a terrible disease that makes everyone sick except the person who has it”. Please don’t miss understand me. I am not talking about confidence. Confidence is a great character trait and quite frankly something more network marketers need. And confidence is created from unified systems.


Ok, let me get off the soap box and on to the main message of this article.

Network marketing is a leadership DEVELOPMENT Business. Your real product is people. If you build people, people will build the business.

What does the perfect MLM Leader look like? It has nothing to do with income, it has everything to do with the ability to develop new leaders.

The perfect leader is a LEARNER who willing to invest in themselves. They normally don’t come into the industry with the skill sets and mindsets to be a leader but they develop those over time.   They are confident, yet humble because they know anyone can walk the path they have walked if they are willing to learn and put into action what they learn.

The ability to find people who are both willing to learn and teachable — and then giving them a what I call “Wisdome of the Ages” systems to follow — is vital to the future of any ambitious network marketer who wants to expand their team.

The challenge is simple yet critical and a MAJOR FACTOR in long term network marketing success: find those lifelong learners, and keep them.

In many instances an ambitious learner is overlooked when they join a network marketing organization. Many network marketers are so shallow they would rather talk about the doctor, lawyer or former pro athlete that recently joined their team. I have always said “I would rather have a housewife with reasons than a name with a sense of entitlement”.

It takes insight and skill to identify lifelong learners and then commit to their retention and development.

Looking For ‘Learning Agility’

Even some companies in corporate America are starting to buy into this idea. MaryAnne Amato, senior learning solutions manager at Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning, understands the importance of learning on the job, and works with organizations such as Hormel and Goodyear to develop custom learning programs that provide employees with the skills they need to excel.

“When you’re looking to hire for roles that will help your organization grow and adapt in today’s VUCA environment,” she says, “you really need to pay attention to learning agility.”

Because nearly all industry is affected by rapidly changing technology, companies need only look into the immediate future to see the folly of hiring someone who isn’t an evolving learner.

EvenVision‘s founder and director, Garrett Perks, strongly feels that “the single most important factor to target when hiring team members is their ability to learn.” He offers a practical example: If he hired the person who’s the best in the world at today’s technologies, “then in 18 months their skill set might already be obsolete. But if I hire folks who are the best and most passionate about learning, then in 18 months they’ll be ahead of everyone else we could have hired.”

Amato says that lifelong learners have three key characteristics: The ability to learn, which refers to how quickly and accurately they analyze problems and synthesize information — The motivation to learn, which is more about curiosity and seeking out opportunities — Adaptability, which is the ability to apply learning in a flexible way over time.

You can see the future by looking at the past


Those of you that are members of the MLM Training Club have heard me talk about this subject several times. The perfect prospect is a personal development student who has always done something outside of their 9-5 to create cashflow.

I think network marketing leaders should examine their genealogies every week and contact everyone who is producing that they haven’t met.

Get to know about them, their family, their background, etc. Real leaders have a sincere interest in other people. When you visit team members homes, check out their library. When talking to them ask them if they are a fan of personal development teachers. Ask them who is their favorite, what is their favorite quote from that person, etc. etc.

When you find the right people, (Learners)  give them extra time and directional support. Does that sound difficult? One of the biggest mistakes network marketing leaders make is they spend too much time with the wrong people (squeaky wheels) and not enough time with the right people! READ THAT AGAIN!

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

I never will forget many years ago when I was an employee at IBM in Lexington Kentucky how few people took advantage of the personal growth, and skill programs they offered. I attended the Dale Carnegie course back then and IBM reimbursed me 100%.

When IBM offered the Dick Cavett speed reading program and I immediately signed up. I couldn’t believe I was the only one from my department who registered. Imagine my shock when I enthusiastically went to the class and I was the ONLY STUDENT, Yes, in the entire company of over 7,000 employees at the time.

If someone tells you they have not spent much time on personal growth, skill set training, or attending seminars, you can expect they won’t be a long-term leader on your team. If most of their development has been on the hard-skill side with little focus on leadership, they may have a more difficult transition into a leadership role. Their focus on hard skills tells you where they believe their value is. Network marketers need to stop reading the Vitamin Bible and start reading books on leadership.

You are looking for those precious few who understand Formal education makes you a living, if you become SELF EDUCATED you can create a fortune & have sought out new knowledge and expertise independently.

Many EGO driven network marketers think they are students, simply because they have learned a few quotes through osmosis.

Finding The Fit

The more you know of what you’re looking for, the easier it is to be able to identify the right characteristics in team members.

I have always believed you create your culture. Over 15 years ago I wrote an article “Appeal to Mediocrity or Inspire Greatness, that is the Question”

Over the last thirty years in the industry I have seen it over and over. People who think they know it all from the get-go, and make it known that they have little or nothing to learn and won’t be plugging into your companies culture creating events ……. Don’t get that in network marketing THEY AREN’T THE ISSUE, duplicatable systems and programs are!

High performance learners, don’t want to try to work with people who are complacent or comfortable with the status quo. Most network marketing companies want individuals who are driven, who can take initiative and are always striving to that next level but to do this they need people who are willing to push themselves and are open to new ways of thinking and team development. It has to be more than just throwing enough mud on the wall and see what sticks mentality.


To provide the kind of internal support necessary to retain avid learners, the commitment to development has to be from the top-down. Owners and field leaders must embrace this learning philosophy as well, so that when new distributors come into the organization, they know that the environment is geared not only on next months volume but toward their individual success.

The sad, but true fact is most network marketing owners and corporate managers are former distributors who had some level of success with the skill sets and mindsets they entered the industry with. I would guesstimate this is over 50% of the companies in the industry. About 20% are traditional business owners who recognized that the network marketing business model is very appealing especially from a cash-flow standpoint so they start a company with what I call the “If I build it they will come”  mentality.

When thinking about joining a network marketing company or organization I think one of the most important questions you should ask is, “how much of an investment do they allocate to developing their people. If they don’t believe in developing their distributor organization, it isn’t likely they believe in it for themselves?

I cannot tell you how many owners I have set down with over the years, usually traditional business owners who thought if I build it they will come. They learned the hard way, they don’t come, no matter how phenomenal you think your product is. They have the attitude that the distributors are a necessary evil in the process. The thought of investing in their growth and education is repulsive.

At this point in my career I will do one time live events or webinars for any company or organization that is legal, ethical and moral however I refuse to do any long term training with organizations that don’t really believe “If you build people, people will build the business”.


Owner’s like Skinny Body Care’s Ben Glinky are rare. It has been a pleasure working with him, because he sincerely wants his people to get out of debt, stay out of debt and get themselves in a situation where they don’t need their SBC check to leave a comfortable life.

Learning Works Both Ways

“A leader that doesn’t believe in and encourage learning by supporting personal growth, programs like the MLM Training Club, book clubs, webinars and company events won’t last long. Without a culture of unified duplicatable systems and personal growth it will be impossible to stay competitive in today’s market where there is more opportunity outside the network marketing industry than at any time in history.

When you stop educating yourself you stop thinking critically and creatively. That’s why lifelong learners are invaluable to every network marketing companie’s culture.

You need to be able create learning opportunities for those individuals on your team from credible people other than yourself. Most network marketing “Leaders” have a major problem with this and they should ask themselves why?

I do group training webinars every week for organizations that understand the importance of creating a culture of personal growth. When I was building I got my people in front of as many “Wisdom of the Ages” leaders as I possibly could, in and outside of the industry.

Granted, the market is flooded with great speakers who call themselves “MLM Consultants” who have never done what they are trying to teach others to do. Be aware and always ask yourself, who is this person, and why should I be listening to them?

I also think it’s important for companies and leaders to understand that if they’re looking for lifetime learners they have to offer skill set and mindset training to make learning exciting and build a culture where learning is acceptable

Many network marketing companies and “leaders” are often threatened by any kind of transformation, and management can take a defensive posture toward the kind of learning that brings about a fluent and fluid atmosphere, all while giving lip service to those same ideals. Believe me over time they will know if you just talk the talk or really walk the walk.

Creating a progressive learning culture is almost non exist in today’s network marketing culture. Personnel skill set and mindset training is very important to an organizations long term success.

Technology will always create new and innovative ways to create leads for your products and opportunity. You always have to evaluate your business and be prepared for that next step. You have to develop team members who are willing to do that as well. However you can never forget that Wisdom of the Ages SUCCESS PRINCIPLES will NEVER CHANGE. They were the same 50 years ago as they are today and they will be the same 50 years from now!


Your team needs to be built on a foundation of Wisdom of the ages success principles that programs their minds and creates an expectation for whatever their definition of success is. Developing a long term duplicating organization in an evolving market place, with team members ready to embrace new knowledge-based skill sets will put you at competitive advantage. I believe that in the future lifetime learners who want to get involved in network marketing will seek out companies and organizations with personal development and skill set training systems in place much like want-to-be franchise owners seek out a franchise today.


I posted the above article yesterday. This morning in my email box I was sent this video. I remember recording it at a conference in Las Vegas, but I didn’t know it was online, and had never watched it. Please don’t perceive this to be a commercial for a particular company, that is not why I am sharing this. I agree with Johnny that this video drives home the points I am trying to make in the above article. Have an awesome weekend!

Mr. Calvert,

I have heard you say in your trainings over and over “Truth is Truth”.

I think this video drive the points of your recent article home!
Johnny D.

About has been providing support and business content & training for Network Marketing Pro's through this website since 1995. Our office and shipping warehouse is located in Georgetown, Kentucky.

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