Articles posted by DiSSECT Associates
Every Crisis has a Warning - Mark Beiderwieden
Eight business executives from the Tokyo Round Table were enjoying lunch when suddenly everyone’s devices began vibrating with the familiar emergency tone . We simultaneously grabbed for our phones…. it was Yurekuru, the popular earthquake warning app in Japan.
„It’s only a level 3 out near the Chiba Prefecture“ was echoed by several members so we calmly resumed our business discussions, trusting in the prediction accuracy. The earthquake warning lead time is a maximum 4-7 seconds but enough time at least to brace yourself, turn off a gas stove or whatever.
At least it‘s a warning!
The warning systems that influence our daily lives (which we sometimes take for granted) are based on past experiences and are our educated attempt to protect ourselves from crisis reoccurrence in the future. We’ve learned to respect these warnings and take them seriously. Look at some of the obvious examples:
– Building codes require smoke detection devices to warn us of potential fire.
– Monthly sirens are tested in many cities that will warn the population of an imminent danger or catastrophic event.
– Even the U.S. stock market has established „circuit breakers“ to warn trading institutions of a pending market crash and create a short „time out“ to manage further crisis.
Warnings are literally all around us.
Take a moment to reflect: What early-warning systems does your organisation have in place, and how effective are they? In the Direct Selling industry, many experiences have been made over the years which, in turn, have evolved and developed into industry standards, KPI‘s, codes of ethics and rules of conduct etc. that establish quality levels and provide needed warning signals to guide business decisions.
Yet despite this experience, sometimes warning signals are not reacted to, allowing crises to escalate or repeat themselves- and even create issues for the entire industry.
We need not scratch our heads in bewilderment as we search for the elusive reason. Here are some of the most common factors which can cause us to miss warning signals, even when risk assessment procedures are in place:
- Pressure to achieve target and competitive pressure to expand
- Inexperienced market leadership, non-aligned executive incentives, overly dominant field leadership who overlook enterprise guidelines and rules
- Underdeveloped processes or biased decision making
- Lack of local market knowledge during new market expansion that requires adapting approaches and processes across borders (Caution to those that think the EU operates with one aligned legislation – far from it!)
- Finally, when sales are increasing, often fewer questions are asked. Did the celebration over current growth success drown out warning signals?
Investing time in reviewing how one can optimise risk management to account for the potential weaknesses above can pay huge dividends. In many cases, strengthening the discipline and consistency of the review processes is necessary; risk assessment should be a regular, fluid process rather than an “ad hoc” approach. But a careful balance is needed to avoid slowing down the business with overly ponderous processes, or mandating excessive remediation actions.
In that sense we can learn from Yurekuru; not all quake warnings require a dive under the kitchen table or change to the building code. (Goods in stores fall off shelves starting with quake level 5 or 6.) Minor incidents are normal in our business and are prudently dealt with in employee and field communications and training.
Remember please, the best Yurekuru app is meaningless if the user doesn’t react. Without conviction and readiness to heed the warning, the best processes and rules catalogues are only superficial tools for PR purposes.
In fact, processes and rules which failed to perform as intended, should a case go before a court, can and will shift responsibility and liability squarely on the company and its representatives.
We all must implement systems, checks and balances and processes that learn from the past and provide early warnings to decision makers. However, it is not necessary to recreate the wheel. The experience exists within companies across markets and our various associations provide formats to openly exchange experiences for the good of the industry.
In my opinion, strong policies and practices should not be considered intellectual property or a USP.
It should be common professional practice to share these experiences and practices, especially with newcomers, for the long term good of the industry. Some may initially baulk at the idea of sharing best practices with competitors, but Direct Selling is unique in that we stand more to gain by sharing such practices than we have to lose.
For those of you who’ve dealt with crisis-like issues in the past, you’ll agree, there was indeed always a warning. Theoretically we’d all benefit from following the motto “Do the right thing, even when nobody is watching”. Ask yourself if sufficient time has been spent ensuring your organisation has both processes and culture of accountability to effectively identify and act upon such warnings..
Mark is a 30+ year veteran of direct selling, serving in both Asia Pacific and Europe and founder of: DiSSECT
How will Distributor Behavior Evolve in 2021? - Ben Woodward
Predicting demand and being ahead of the curve regarding future trends is something all Network Marketing companies aspire to do. It instils confidence in the field, and it empowers the business to maintain relevance year after year. With this in mind, I want to look specifically at Distributor behaviour and how it will evolve in the near future. Where will 2021 take Distributors? How will they act differently? What will they look for when it comes to running their business and getting the word out on their opportunity? Here are four critical trends in behaviour that we should anticipate, prepare for and engage with.
- Snackable Video.
Social media video is the most engaging digital content available. Because it is so accessible and creatable it has now become a core part of social feeds. The boom in Tik Tok and Instagram’s Reels feature have added to this incredibly popular video feature. Expect to see more and more Network Marketers engaging their audiences, prospects, teams and customers with this great tool – short, punchy, bite size videos. As a business, look at ways to repurpose content for Instagram Reems and short attractive videos that can be shared and promoted easily.
- Social Commerce.
Almost half the world is on social media now, this means the drive to e-commerce purchases will be the next big step for social platforms. Already we have Facebook Shops and Instagram shops. This makes online purchases quick, convenient and hassle free. What does this mean for MLM? It means companies should expect higher demands from the field on simple online shopping experiences for their customers. Their competition is fierce in this space. Research shows that 71% of consumers turn to social media for inspiration in their shopping decisions and 55% of online shoppers use social media channels now. Big brands like Levi’s and Clothing the Gap now sell through Pinterest Catalogues, Facebook Shops and Instagram Shops. A few quick clicks and inspiration turns to a convenient purchase. What will your business do moving forwards in this space?
- Live Video.
In 2019 internet users watched an incredible 1.1 billion hours of live video! One in five Facebook videos are live streams and 1 million Instagram users are watching live video every day. Other platforms are jumping on board with the trend such as Youtube and LinkedIn. Distributors will use this platform more and more to host events, sell product, train teams and celebrate successes. It is becoming far more potent than conventional meetings. Facebook Live for example can remain on a host’s page long after the event has ended attracting more participants, comments and responses than in-home meetings. Where once a Distributor may have 20 people in their living room, a live event can garner well over 100, 200 or even over 1,000 views. Simply put, Live Video grabs people’s attention.
- Cause Related Content.
2020 has seen a significant spike in cause related social content. Topics such as: Black Lives Matter, Feminism, Climate Change, COVID-19, Mental Health, Human Rights, and so much more are being spoken of with louder voices and greater convictions. Big brands are getting behind this and awareness on critical topics is being spread faster than ever before. Distributors will want to link critical social issues with your business opportunity and product line more and more to show relevance, leadership, sincerity and value. This will require company engagement to ensure training is provided and enthusiasm isn’t replaced with false claims. We have seen many companies this year for example get challenged by the FTC due to Distributors sharing product solutions for the pandemic. So we need to be cautious as well as great brand ambassadors here.
All in all, the billions of social media users around the world tell us one critical thing. If we want more Customers and Distributors in our business, we need to go to where they are – Social Media platforms. We must share the same space and engage them. And in 2021 Social Media is the space where Distributors will make that will happen more than ever before.
This migration to social selling, Live Video, snackable video bites and cause-related messaging is already underway. Early adapters have been at this for a while and 2020 has ignited many new hearts to engage in this space. Now, as it normalises and becomes more mainstream, the numbers will grow significantly, and some traditional Distributor practices and behaviours will see their end.
Ben Woodward is an Associate with DiSSECT Consulting, best-selling author, top ranking field leader and former MLM company President. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Digital Transformation: More important than ever, but are you making these common missteps? - Lars Noeies
Author: Lars Noeies
Date published: 13 Oct 2020
Has the recent lock-down with an increased focus on digital changed the content or pace of digital transformation? According to a July survey of 5,000 consumers in North American and Europe from Selligent, 36% of respondents shop online weekly, up from 28% pre-COVID-19. The world will come back to an everyday life on the other side of Covid-19, but to me this will come with an even higher demand for an excellent digital experience, but are you ready? I am not sure that all companies have the full scope of the impact on their agenda and the needed strategies in place.
“Transformation” is the new buzz word and on the priority list for almost all companies. Now that Covid-19 has occurred, I am sure that everyone will revisit the assumptions and expectations for their digital experience, ensuring that their end-state/direction is addressing the world of tomorrow, which at the end of the day is not an easy task.
My long experience with various transformations has taught me to have the customer in focus and keep it simple. From people I talk with and from my own experience, a digital transformation tends to primarily be based on internal requests, such as attempts to upgrade the company’s technical standards and capabilities, IT requirements, etc.- but along the way the customer is somehow forgotten. The customer is and will be the end user and will compare the final product with the offering from the competitors. They will appreciate only when the technical upgrades you make behind the scenes directly impact their user experience and improve their ease of doing business. Therefore, getting the customer involved in the innovation/upgrade process will contribute with valid input and will also ensure that the transformations provide value and are not seen as a standalone sales or IT project.
Speaking of which, in order to succeed, a digital transformation must be a company priority rather than a departmental project, as several if not all functions and departments will be involved. Not only will their workloads be affected, but also remember that their respective input and insights are crucial for the initiative to succeed. Thus the first step is for digital transformation to be implemented as a top priority and performance expectations for all functional leaders.
Equally paramount for departments to champion digital transformation is effective internal change management. Just because a department has officially signed on to participating, doesn’t mean that the individual employees are aware of strategy and direction and for sure not what this means for the individual’s work environment in the future, if anything at all. Tasks performed today may disappear after implementation or have to be performed in a different way. Moreover, are key departments geared for the new reality? E.g. with an increase in digital, is customer service geared to handle an increase in digital inquiries that will come by default and are the correct support systems in place? Having a focus on internal change management and bringing employees along ensures involvement and thereby support for the changes.
I’m fully aware however that getting multiple functions to fully prioritise and deliver effectively on a complex new initiative is anything but simple, which leads me to my final point: Companies often fail to clearly outline the end state they are aiming for, in clear terms that non-IT people can understand. For example, are they shooting for a full end-to-end Amazon experience, or are they striving for a simplified seamless ordering process?
So are you equipped to lead the digital transformation, and do you have the right strategies in place, to meet expectations and target? Or are you leaning back hoping for the best, even though hope is not a strategy?
At DiSSECT Consulting, our team has the right combination of skillsets and hands-on experience to help you effectively meet the Digital Transformation challenge head-on.
Year End Message DiSSECT 2020
Creating the name – DiSSECT Consulting was more a coincidence. Rallying future Associates was an invigorating process. Company registration, legal, tax, banks, admin a bit more than I anticipated.
It was March ’20 when the pieces of starting this business came together. The ideas quickly became obsession! Our research uncovered nothing that compares:
“Over 250 Years of Executive Direct Selling Experience”.
We’re on to something here! “No challenge we’ve not faced”.
I recall an important moment before taking the leap of faith: When I explained the business concept to my wife in March, she reacted by saying, “This will succeed. You’ve got that sparkle in your eye”. During the occasional instance of doubt, I reflected on this commitment of unconditional trust and belief and kept on going.
On 1st of August ´20 DiSSECT went live and we were thrilled about the global “likes” and followers. Our Executive Associates and Partners believed in our concept, organized themselves in teams and made progress on customer focus, processes, leads, communications and much more. Anecdotally, I’ve worked with successful direct selling field representatives my entire career, always with respect and admiration for what they do but now resoundingly salute these same people, seeing the effort investment necessary for success in starting a business.
DiSSECT has progressed from idea to reality in a few short months. Months that were indeed made up of many long days. And now the team is to fulfill and exceed the expectations of our first clients. Excitingly, our first year is just beginning and we’re focused on sharing our experiences to support those in this amazing Direct Selling industry that would like to engage the practical experience of DiSSECT Consulting.
So, to all of you reading this – thanks for your encouragement, for following us, for contacting and recommending us, for reading our articles and for being part of us – we truly appreciate you all!
Happy Holidays to all our DiSSECT Consulting friends and followers.
Founder of DiSSECT