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


At 8:36 AM, July 27, 2006, Blogger Javert said...

Thanks Ron, that was a great post.


At 1:18 PM, July 27, 2006, Blogger Pin Tracker said...

Thanks Javert. I did check your blog and like it too.

At 6:30 AM, March 20, 2008, Blogger quixtarisacult said...

Your observations are very good. One problem though, Quixtar is not IBM. Quixtar has a long history of making its folk loose their money, not make it.

Less than 1% of IBOs joining Quixtar ever make it to the Platinum level. 99% never show a real world profit. Any business that encourages consumption of its own inventory is based on unsound business principles.

The companies mentioned in the book do not operate using voodoo business advice from upline kingspins like Quixtar does.

Are you trying to create a atmosphere of respectability for Quixtar by comparing its cult motivational organizations with IBM and Disney? The argument doesn't work.


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