Monday, September 8, 2008

Who Should Teach?

Tonight at meeting, my director had two consultants with less than a year of experience do our training. To an extent, I have a problem with this. Don't get me wrong, I think it is great that they did different appointments lately. One did a lipstick class and the other did a spa class. I don't do many of those myself, so I'm open to hear how they work for others. With that said, I disagree with them being "in charge" of giving us promotion information if they don't understand what's written on the sheet of paper from our director.

This is where the misinformation began. My director wanted them to tell us that we are doing a promotion locally to have face models in a calendar that will be printed through Vista Print. We will choose 12 models. We did this last year in conjunction with the company's national contest "Model of Beauty." What the girls didn't realize was that there is no national contest this year. Now, I read InTouch just about daily. So, I thought this was inside info or something I had overlooked this week. I got really excited and sent out invitations to our event next week which is specifically focusing on our model contest. I thought it was also for a national contest that doesn't exist. Why? Because inexperienced people were talking about the promotions. They misread it. Since they were reading from a sheet of paper written by my director, I can only presume they know what they are reading. WRONG!

So, what are your thoughts? Directors, do you think it is appropriate for inexperienced consultants to lead the meeting? How long should they be in before they do this? Consultants, how do you feel if you have someone with less experience than you teaching you how to do your business? Do you think there are times when it is appropriate and times when the director should take over?

Here is what I think. I think if a consultant is new, but she has done something unconventional and had success with it, by all means she should share. I also think a new consultant that has been holding a lot of appointments can lead the skin care portion of meeting for guests. This way, the director is free to do the real training. The new consultant should NOT, however, talk about company or local contests or promotions as it is still overwhelming and she could get it wrong.

Here is what I think my director should have done (and believe me, she heard from me):

-Covered the details of this contest herself before splitting us apart.
-Have me or another consultant do the skin care for the guests and do the training herself (at one point it was becoming gripy and out of control)
-Only had the newbies talk about their respective experiences

Here are my general views (and I hope I'm making sense because it's late, but I gotta get it out) on the matter. Directors direct. They give the training, talk about contests and promotions, and make sure everyone is clear on what the rules are and whether it is LOCAL or NATIONAL or just our NSD promoting it. My director's director is very high D personality. I find more and more that I am, too. :P Who knew! I digress.

Consultants can teach on something specific. If Jane had a great spa class she should indeed be able to talk about it so we can learn from what she did. That is relevant. If Annie had large sales results from a silent hostess she did, let's hear all about it! If Linda did a lipstick class and sold tons of skin care, too; I want to know what she did. What they should NOT do is give out promo info impromptu without full understanding what it is.

When should consultants be given more responsibility? Should it be when they reach Red Jacket? Not if they did it in 2 months. Just because people are joining their team does not mean they are well read on what's going on. It means they are excited and exuding charisma. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but they are not ready to tell people with years more experience what is new in MK.

I don't like that if you aren't in a Red Jacket, it is as if you aren't working your business properly. There are people who have been in MK longer than I have who are not Red Jackets and they knew more than I know because they have been doing it longer. Just because someone is a Red Jacket (or has been one in the past) is not reason to have her acting as director.

My honest opinion is that in order to be qualified to "practice" being a director, one should meet one of two criteria (maybe three):

1. She should be driving free.
2. She should be DIQ (does it not make sense for someone who obviously has to lead to practice?)
3. She should be a Future Director (meaning she's probably driven free at some point and probably been a DIQ, too)

I think the reason you have a lot of misinformation in the first place is from people summarizing incorrectly; not understanding what they are reading in the first place, or just being plain bad communicators.

So, now, I will ask David's questions (he mentioned I bring these up when I told him what I was going to write about).

What, if anything can Mary Kay, Inc., Directors, and/or consultants do to combat the proliferation of misinformation? :D

Here are my thoughts:

Mary Kay, Inc. could perhaps require directors to streamline consultants they decide to put in charge. Make sure they understand what they are talking about. They could also make specific training requirements before advancements are awarded. For example: a Red Jacket must have 3 active recruits, but perhaps should do some type of written assessment on InTouch. If they don't pass, they don't advance. Just a brainstorm. They can get the commissions, but they can't get the jacket. The same goes for becoming a director. Experience is certainly required to be a director. There is way too much responsibility in that position for someone to breeze into it after just a few months in. Again, I'm brainstorming. These ideas may not even be realistic.

Directors would most likely hold the most responsibility in this situation. Because of the independent structure of our business, it needs to be up to directors to make sure their consultants have correct information and understand it well enough to convey it accurately to others. We are possibly the only Mary Kay someone may ever see. If we blow it, we've blown their impression of the entire company. First impressions are everything, you know?

Consultants need to read, read, read, read, and READ InTouch and other resources available to them. Miracles Happen, Mary Kay on People Management, Living a Rich Life, The Mary Kay Way, More than a Pink Cadillac are all books consultants should read. Mary Kay Ash's autobiography is like reading a training manual for how this business is designed to operate on the personal, regional, and national levels. Don't limit yourselves to Mary Kay books, though. There are a multitude of great business books out there.


  1. Shades...I think you are right on the money with this. I think that there should be some kind of test before women start leading. There has to be misinformation is something that can hurt any business. If one gives their word and then their word isn't fact that is not good. I don't think that consultants that are new should lead training. I do agree like you said if they had a class that was not a typical one yes share that however to lead training that is not.

    I think sometimes Directors think oh this one is going to be a rising Star and she can do this. Well maybe she can and maybe she can't.

    I too look up everything even the things that my Director tells me on intouch. I want it straight from the company so that I know it is true. If I can't find the answer on intouch I will call corporate and ask them. I don't want to give any false information. This is just my thought.

    Hope everyone has a GREAT DAY

  2. Must agree, I believe there should be a level of knowledge and experience to actually teach or run the meeting.

    I don't see a problem with maybe allowing a newer inexperienced consultant doing a "commercial" break but with the director standing by to "gently correct" anything that may not be quite right.

    It would help avoid pitfalls.

    I heard a consultant going on and on about everything you could write off being self - employed, my eyes were crossing so I politely interrupted and suggested we rephrase what she had said... because we would never want someone misunderstanding and getting themselves in trouble with the IRS. Enough said on that.

    Hey Shades, congratulations on your first post!

  3. Thanks, ladies! It took me long enough to write a post! :P I left a message for the girl I talked to last night. Hopefully, that will still work out and I can have her in my portfolio and still have her in our local contest. I've calmed down, but boy, was I ticked last night! I'm doing postcards tonight, too. So the message will be relayed accurately to my customers!

  4. I think this is why so many have a bad time in MK. I know I was given some bad information. And yes, I could have read InTouch; but I had no reason to doubt what my director was telling me. Until I got to know her I had no way of knowing that she didn't know all of the rules and guidelines. I thought that since she got all the way up to director she must know her stuff.

    Did anyone else read on PT that there were changes in the qualifications to becoming a director? I think that changes can only help; especially those who are getting there so quickly. Maybe if it took longer to get there the directors could have time to learn more and be qualified to lead.

  5. They announced that that changes would be coming to all of us at Seminar, so it is no surprise.
    The Company also said they would give at least 6 months notice.

    I do feel they should make it a little tougher, I feel that when they did make it easier, more people were "making it Happen" and really didn't have the strength to be directors and that is when the struggling "hampster wheel" syndrone started happening.

  6. Yes, and this instance of misinformation is minute, but there are much more important details that people get wrong when conveying to team members. It really bugs me when that happens. Yes, we work for ourselves, but at the same time, we represent a product and a company. If you had developed a product, you would want your sales force to represent it accurately.
    I'm a reader. I read everything. And then I read it again. LOL If I miss something, I feel dumb. It's just the way I am. And I do think changes to the DIQ requirements will be excellent. I have no problem earning a car FIRST and then submitting DIQ. Personally, my plan right now is to earn the car by January and submit DIQ in April or May. I want to maintain the production first and make I am capable. ;)
    I will say this, these kinds of mistakes make me more determined to get my own unit together so I can lead them in what I deem to be a more fitting manner. ;) I know, I'm kinda egocentric that way, but these things just get filed into the "what not to do" area of my brain.

  7. I'm on the fence about this one.

    On one hand, by preparing a training topic, one actually learns the information - just by the effort put into preparation. And our Director's (one adopted and my Director lead the meetings in tandem) actually "direct us" to proper training materials to be used - even going as for as to forward them to us. So, in that situation, I think putting a newbie in the spot of having to prepare the material and share can be quite the teachable experience for both them and for those hearing the information.

    On the other hand - and don't worry, as I only have two hands - not everyone is a confident presenter, nor do they put in the time and effort needed to prepare materials and information for training times.

    Just this week, I was asked to present. Well, I'm a detailed oriented person. I did my research and typed up the material for everyone. I then presented and gave them the material. I can see how having someone who may not put in the time to prepare a training, or someone who is so new that they really don't know where to find the correct information (that is, unless their Director is supplying it for them - which I would recommend)could result in a bust.

    Some learn by doing. So leading a training can actally be a training tool for the presenter. In fact, we've had trainings led by those in under a year. They are "coached" on how to do so and aren't left to their own devices as to where to find the correct materials.

    Just a thought.

  8. Doesn't it depend on the topic being presented? For example, although I've only been a consultant for 2 years, I've been a professional marketing executive for 25+ years. Maybe I couldn't give the best presentation on warm-chattering (and I wouldn't be tapped for that anyway).

    However, my knowledge of best practices and legal issues for email marketing, promotional contests, telemarketing, etc., promotional copywriting and direct mail strategies, consistancy in messaging, branding, pr, etc. have named me an expert, not just in Mary Kay, where frankly I feel the sales force could use to learn alot, but in the b2b media field. Doesn't it make sense that if I've been asked to speak on those topics for marketing associations, that I've been asked to present on those topics to my unit?

    Another consultant in my unit is an MBA with years of accounting experience, so, why wouldn't my director tap her to lead a presentation on tax reporting, for example?

    I think a smart director-- or a corporate employer for that matter-- recognizes talents and expertise in their people and doesn't keep it under a rock for no-one to see, especially if that information will help unit members improve their businesses.

  9. I totally agree with that, Shashew. And I am looking into more marketing techniques myself. But what essentially happened that set me off the other night was the director handed her notes to two consultants and said, "do training." There wasn't a whole lot of explanation regarding the unit promotion and the fact it's NOT a company promotion. These things bug me. It's small. It is.
    But it irks me. It's an accuracy issue regarding familiarity with what the company is doing. ;) I'm a stickler on accuracy. It's a quirk. Details Details Details! If you're familiar with the DISC personality thingy, I'm a high "D" and high "I" and pretty much nonexistent "S" and "C"! LOL

  10. Shades, what you experienced would irk me as well. For it doesn't seem as if she had prepared these gals for the training. Our Directors give us a week or two notice that we will be teaching. Then, through our own research on In Touch, or through provided training materials, we present.

    Handing off papers to someone and saying "do training" doesn't help the group at large or the individuals who are asked to teach.

  11. Oh! I like that idea of having a week (or at least a couple days)to prepare. I love my director, but sometimes things are a little bit on the fly. One night I was asked to do the skin care for guests impromptu. I didn't mind, but at the same time, I wasn't sure just what exactly was on the agenda for the guests. I had the most guests, so that was cool.
    My director is great for leading by example. She always has guests at our events. :) Organization...not so much, but she admits that. She thinks I am organized. Now that is scary! LOL


For Further Reading...

This Week On Pink Truth - Click Here
Pros and Cons of Mary Kay - Read or Contribute or Both!
First Post - Why I Started This Blog
The Article I Wrote For (here) (there)
If this is your first visit please leave a comment here. I would love to hear from you!
If you want to email me:
But you are probably better emailing mk4me: