Friday, July 28, 2006

Information versus Knowledge about the Quixtar Business on the Web

I was reviewing the April 2006 Harvard Business Review magazine article "The World is Round" by Laurence Prusak .It is an absolutely fascinating article and is very much relevant to the Quixtar Business information on the web [including this article :-)].

In this article the author explains the difference between information and knowledge. He says "Information is a message, one-dimensional and bounded by its form: a document, an image, a speech, a genome, a recipe, a symphony score. You can package it and instantly distribute it to anyone, anywhere". I would say we can safely add all the blogs and the content that they carry to this list.

Next in the article comes the punch paragraph I should say. The author continues-"Google, of course, is currently the ultimate information machine, providing instantaneous access to virtually any piece of information you can imagine-including instructions for how to perform a laparoscopic appendectomy. But I'll wager no one would opt to have an appendectomy performed by that young woman in Shanghai no matter how much information she'd gathered on the procedure unless she also had years of hands-on surgical training. Only those years of reading, watching, and doing, under a skilled tutor’s watchful eye, would give her the knowledge to expertly perform the surgery."

This is where I would draw the connection to the Quixtar Business Information on the web (yes this post and this blog included of course). The cost of obtaining information today is almost zero- thanks to the search engines. Then why would companies spend millions of dollars on market research and analysis which they outsource to specialists in that area? It would be ridiculous to think that they can search in Google and obtain the data and thereby gain competitive advantage! Reading all the Quixtar related blogs and websites will not make someone a smart business analyst.

Hold on. As if that is not enough- the author says "Knowledge results from the assimilation and connecting of information through experience, most often through apprenticeship or mentoring. As a result, it becomes embedded in organizations in ways that, so far, have largely evaded codification."

Wow!! I am thinking to myself-did the author really identify mentorship as a key enabler for knowledge? Did he say that most of the time knowledge evades codification? Because a lot of the experts (Quixtar related) I had reviewed on the web attempt to codify what it takes (and what it doesn't take) to go diamond in the Quixtar business. Where as the only ones in my opinion who can attempt to do that are the people who have gone diamond, and more importantly, maintained a qualified diamond status over the years.

And finally the author says "while the cost of obtaining, storing, and moving information has plummeted, the cost of doing so with knowledge hasn’t dropped much at all (in the case of surgical training and some other skills, it has probably increased).Knowledge is time-consuming and expensive to develop, retain, and transfer and that is as true for organizations and countries as it is for individuals".

Over a period of time I have heard of much criticism directed at the system training and the tools in the Quixtar business. To the above quote I should add "duplicate" in addition to "develop, retain and transfer” There is of course a real cost and economics involved with training IBO force, providing the tools and strategies to maximize their success. Of course people who do not realize the distinction between information and knowledge can continue to be cynical about the value of the tools and system education components of the Quixtar business.

In summary, there are three key points that come from this:

  1. The difference between Information and Knowledge
  2. Mentorship as a key enabler to Knowledge
  3. Cost of Information versus Knowledge

The blog which got my attention and made me go back and review my HBR copy is Eclectic Bill's Blog

-Ron

Friday, July 14, 2006

Cult Like Cultures?

I was reading the book 'Built to Last' by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras which is a must read for the management cadre in many top companies.
Chapter 6 really got my attention in relation to the Quixtar business. I have seen and heard many accusations stating that Quixtar and the affiliated LOA (Lines of affiliation) systems are a cult.
Well..., in the subsection titled 'IBM's rise to Greatness' there is a description about Thomas J Watson Sr. and his ideas. It says that he instituted strict rules of personal conduct- he required sales people to be well groomed and wear dark business suits, encouraged marriage, discouraged smoking and forbade alcohol. He created IBM managed country clubs to encourage IBMers to socialize primarily with other IBMers, not the outside world. It says IBMers also sang songs with lyrics such as "March on with I.B.M...Work hand in hand..Stout hearted men go forth, In every land" It says that companies like I.B.M, Walt Disney, Wal-Mart etc indoctrinate people with strong core ideas that are the very essence of their existence and success!
It is quite an interesting read in the sense that Cult like cultures are practiced by visionary companies. The authors also express surprise and discomfort with their discovery of this trait as one of the key differentiating factors that took these companies to what they are today.
The reason I quote this work is because this book is not an opinion, it is a hard nosed objective research about America's greatest companies. I would definitely encourage anyone to read this work-certainly Chapter 6. Of course the chapter clearly states that it is not about cult of personality, but cult of ideologies. The authors also mention about the excessive secrecy at the Walt Disney company. They say that visionary companies indoctrinate people, impose tightness of fit, create a sense of belonging to something special with practical, concrete items such as:
  • Internal "Universities" and training centers
  • Exposure to pervasive mythology of "heroic deeds" and corporate exemplars
  • Unique language and terminology
  • Corporate songs, cheers, affirmations, pledges that reinforce psychological commitment
  • Awards, contests, and public recognition that reward those that display great effort consistent with the ideology
  • Celebrations that reinforce successes, belonging and specialness

amongst many other items.

In my short span as an IBO, I have heard many people comment on the cultish nature of the Quixtar business especially as implemented by the LOA organizations. It just makes me wonder if is true and if so why would it be considered wrong? After all, a certain amount of exclusivity is needed for any organization to be world class. I truly believe that many IBOs get that special sense of belonging and a family. I tend to think that is perfectly legitimate. More later... Ron

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Typical Quixtar IBO New Year Resolution!

Happy New Year! I am glad to be back after a long gap. Been really busy with my work ..and I have to admit not much with my Quixtar business! I know that a lot of IBOs make resolutions in the new year to focus on their business big time. What I also know is that a lot of people out there make a new year resolutions to go to the health clubs and work out. And the memberships of the health clubs take a upward swing at this time of the year. I guess it is human psychology that we all think some amazing break was done in our brains just because the clock ticked and the new year rolled over. I don't mean to be pessimistic, but old habits and attitudes die hard. They will not be easily influenced when the new year comes. I might be accused by some IBOs as being negative minded if I say this to their face. But the fact is we have to work at it and stick to something if we need to see any discernible change in any aspect of our life- including the Quixtar business. You might think-Why all this ranting? I will come to the point. I will do something to take my business understanding forward this year. May be, make an attempt to blog regularly to start with! May be - meet some of my own expectations as stated in this blog's description about studying the leadership and the top achievers in the Quixtar business. May be I will even go further. Who knows? Ron.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Diversity of Quixtar IBO's in the Asian Indian Groups

Good to be back again. I am thankful to those who have commented on the posts about the Asian Indian IBOs. The couple of comments exhibit the two ends of the spectrum of opinion out there. One thing is for sure. There are as many shades of opinion about the Quixtar business as there are number of blogs! Makes me wonder....What we all, who have taken to blogging, would do without the Quixtar business! Just an idle thought....Seriously, I consider blogging as a rich arena for everyone to express their own opinion freely. I have heard some interesting points of view about the diversity of IBOs in the Asian Indian groups. Please excuse me for any lack of in depth knowledge about the exact make up of Asian Indian groups. My personal opinion is that the Asian Indian groups are too young in the business to have big pins from non Asian Indian ethnicity in their downline. I might be wrong here, but only time will tell. Give them a couple of decades- I am sure that we will find all the diversity we want in these groups. Not that I want to study them that long. I have my own business to build which I will hopefully be able to put into a high gear one day. I heard somewhere that it took the upline to these Asian Indian IBOs about 15 years (not exactly sure) to find these leaders. Had we been blogging in those 15 years (if correct), we might have believed that it is impossible for their upline to attract any body that is not from their religious belief or ethnicity and that these Asian Indian people would become so successful. I really believe that the Asian Indian groups will look a lot different in a few years. And a lot more different in a few more years. As far as their 'racist' comments are concerned, I think it is more of a case of’immigrant groupism' than 'racism'. Thinking about this, I somehow remember a movie-"Gangs of New York". Anyone remembers this movie? The European immigrants who came to America also stuck to themselves for a long time (some still do in my area- the New York City). The Italians would hang around the Italians. The Germans would hang around other Germans. I am sure we cannot call them racist. It is the immigrant survival instinct which they held onto until they were assimilated into the great melting pot. Give the new Asian Americans a few decades, the Gene pool would be pretty well stirred. Being born here and knowing the history of this country, I would worry more about a majority (ethnic, religious) trampling the minority groups rather than the other way around. Again, in all objectiveness, I would admit that this is all theory. People who have the practical experience would know better. All this does not diminish the fact that the Asian Indian IBOs are successful at this business despite the common misconception (my opinion again) that Quixtar and the organizations that promote the business are biased towards certain religious and ethnic segments of population. Thanks again for the great comments. I have learned a lot, but would still believe what I did before, until I learn more.
Ron

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Quixtar IBO Watches Movies?

Should I feel guilty or not? I have actually watched a movie called 'The Island'. I know that As an IBO who admires the business and stays 'plugged-in', some people might think that I don't have a life. But, the fact is I do. I can stay 'plugged-in' and still sneak in a movie or two. The reason I say that is because some of my friends have accused me of 'not having a life' since I insist on listening to the tapes and going to the meetings (when I can). I can work at my company and go to a movie- right? Then, what would prevent me from doing that in my business? Some other friends told me that they never had a life when they stayed 'plugged-in'. Now that they have quit the business, they think they are born again! My opinion--they don't have much of a life now too! If some one does not know how to balance their life and their business, shifts the blame to some one else (like upline), and insist that they have grown up only after they were out of the mind-control voodoo of the business- it clearly is an abdication of personal responsibility (in my opinion). I might become successful in this business or not- but I cannot shift the blame to anyone else when I quit (If I do, which I don't foresee- at least for now).
oops...The movie....I am digressing. I think 'The Island' is a cool movie. Check out the reviews and the story line at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0399201/ I enjoyed it. The action scenes are somewhat unrealistic and it takes well over 20-25 mts to understand what the heck is going on. Am I the only slow wit? But once you get it, you get it and I think you will begin to enjoy the movie.
Ron.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Asian Indian IBOs Success in the Quixtar Business

I have heard criticism about some of the big pins in the Quixtar business being racist, biased, and religious zealots. If that is true, I am wondering how these people from Asian Indian background are respected and showcased as top achievers in the Quixtar business. It simply does not make sense to me. I do not claim to have listened to all of them, but from what little I have heard from them on the cassette tapes/CDs, none of these people exhibit religious fervor, or show any political leanings towards the right or the left. They just are focused on the business and come across as good leaders. I have not heard any insensitive statements from any of these leaders I listened to. Infact they com across as being oblivious to anything but just the business. Now, it might be an immigrant thing that usually the first or the second generation immigrants are focused on working hard and could care less about too many other things. So can it be said that the Quixtar business and the education systems that promote the business are really open systems where people from any background regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity can succeed? Can some one from a completely different backgroud (than most people) come in, work hard and succeed in this business? I sure hope it is that the case with this business. Nothing excites me more, than to see people from diverse backgrounds succeed in anything. May be one day, I will build a large business that will comprise of people from all backgrounds- until then I just have to be content with theoretical musings on leadership and achievement in this business.
Ron

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Why are so many Asian Indians top achievers in the Quixtar Business?

Please dont get me wrong and slam me. But why are there so many Asian Indians who are new Diamonds or above in the Quixtar Business? Not that I am complaining. I believe that ours is a great country with the freedom of thought, expression and enterprise for anyone with a dream and an ambition to become successful. I also know that there are so many good people in our country that are biased because they are not exposed to too many cultures, accents, ethnic backgrounds in their whole life. These are decent people who never had a need or an opportunity to interact and mingle with people from different backgrounds. In a typical corporation so much hyprocritcal lipservice is done to diversity and multiculturalism. Yet peole carry so may biases that hard working, well deserving people sometimes do not get to the position that they deserve. Is there something in the Quixtar business that allows someone with a different accent (I have heard some of the doamonds tapes and I cannot fully comprehend them- but nevertheless I admire them for their accomplishments), different color and different cultural background to succeed? Is it the company or the education systems that promote the Quixtar business or is it the nature of the business? Why is it? From my first posting I have a list (I hope it is complete) of all the news Emeralds and above and other pins from the Asian Indian Background. These are the founders Emeralds from my earlier list and according to the Achieve publication. · Rashmi & Smita Jyotiprakash · Pat & Lina Chendrimada · Chak & Uma Kakani · Ashish & Anjana Warudkar · Bala & Anitha Melukote · Manase & Lisa Fotu · Sanjiv & Shauna Sahay These are the new Diamonds (from the Achieve magazine) It is commendable that some of these people from the above Founders Emerald list moved on to New Diamonds. · Chetan & Vineeta Rastogi · Rashmi & Smita Jyotiprakash · Ajay & Alka Ohri · Ramesh & Ramaa Santhanakrishnan · Chak & Uma Kakani (is this an Asian Indian Name?) The new founders Diamonds are · Ganesh & Neha Shenoy · Kankan & Samina Bhattacharya The new EDC's are · Raj & Sangita Shah (are they from Asian Indian background or Iranian/Persian background)

Ron

Novice to Expert Blogger on Quixtar Top Achievers

I sincerely appreciate the comments by Dave. I have created a link to his blog. He is right. I think some people would view him as negative. But what counts is that he is contributing his orginal thoughts and he is an IBO building the business.
On the question of feedback and comments - Do you know how it feels when some one actually takes a notice of your work, your thoughts and opinions? That is what blogging can actually do to you. Someone suddenly notices what you have to say! That is quite a feeling. Looking at David and the other bloggers, I feel I am in the kinder garden, but that's ok I'll grow up and become a good blogger. I admit I am a novice. I will take the baby steps and hopefully one day become an expert. I can may be provide good content that adds real value to people about the leadership in general and the way I see it applied in making of the Quixtar 'Big Pins' .
I am sure that I will develop the clarity of thought on leadership and acheievement and how they are applicable (or not applicable) to Quixtar Diamonds and other IBO leaders.
Ron

Quixtar Blogs: The Positive and the Negative

Am I becoming an insomaniac or what? ....I don't know, but to see the sheer number of Quixtar Blogs is mind Blogging! It looks like now people need a blog about the blogs. Not that I want to take up that responsibility. I have other things to do in life other than blogging about Quixtar relentlessly.
Searching for Quixtar Blog I find of course the negative, but if I find a lot of postive too nowadays. Is there a coordinated effort on the part of the top leaders? I dont know, but blogging is best useful when there is a real grass roots movement to express opinion on this subject. I find the realquixtarblog (http://www.realquixtarblog.com/) and Greg Duncan's blog (http://quixtar-greg-duncan-wwdb.blogware.com/blog) pretty interesting. They are well organized and presented. I dont know who the Quixtar employee is but Greg Duncan is really a respected IBO leader. I have listened to his CDs and he is pretty analytical and sharp. I have never met him in person, but would love to interview him one day.
I belive that there are a lot of Quixtar IBOs who are good people who's voice just needs to be heard in a spontaneous way- not just the corporate way. I see the negative blogs are very well organized, and the postive blogs are getting there. But what is really lacking is a real grass roots, un organized, non agenda oriented blogs. Isn't that what blogging is a supposed to be about. But may be I am the only IBO who has the time because I have not yet put the business in a hig gear. I am just kidding. What I have seen is that most of the IBOs and the IBO leaders are just good people who are pretty focused about the business. But may be they should blog more so that the people out there know what a powerful and impacting business this is.
Ron

Quixtar Diamonds - Real Achievers?

I am just having a thought go through my mind. How much of a real achievement is becoming a diamond in the Quixtar business? What is it comparable to in the conventional business sense? What about the higher pins over the diamond level? I have been in the business for sometime and did not acheive a lot of sucesss- but I was was not really focused. I cannot blame anyone for my level in the business because I have never worked it. But I have listened to a lot of casette tapes and attended a quite a few meetings. But that does not cosntiture 'work'. One thing though, I have come to understand the business in a much better way and have got a healthy appreciation for all the diamonds (top achievers in Quixtar) and above. I really think some of these people are incredible leaders and have a lot of influence- positive influence I mean. So I want to dwell into the topic- how real of an achievement is it? How do you define leadership? Are these people real leaders? I think so intuitively- but I want to logically analyze this.
Ron