Written by Raisinberry
Having been a Senior Director, working towards NSD, and completely enamored of those in Mary Kay leadership, I gave myself over to believing everything that I was told. But, if you are around long enough, sooner or later things just don’t seem to add up.
The Rah-Rah sisterhood, however, can not allow “negativity”.
I learned that united in identical speech, parroting the same information, regurgitating the same objection covering devices, and always talking “upward” to the one that has the position you want, were some of the ways that National leadership prevents the premature crumbling of their empires. Evaluating results is equal to negativity and negativity unchecked can be a very seductive draw, that causes the skid into consultant heaven.
And all the while I believed this, it never occurred to me to evaluate that concept. We Directors were a united wall of truth, saying the same things, believing the same things, avoiding poor performers who might complain, and silencing our own doubts with constant tapes and affirmations. By only allowing the “positive” in, we kept the RAH RAH strong and thwarted any attempts by objective voices to crush our belief. Mary Kay Cosmetics was the best opportunity for women, period. And nothing you can say can pop that pink bubble.
As long as no one knew what was happening in each other’s business, we could pretend that while we were drowning in inventory and credit card debt, we would find a way out, because “So and so” just won her caddy… or “so and so” just had her best month ever. Success was possible, even if nobody ever told you how. Believe and achieve!
Now being out of Mary Kay for quite a while, I can look back objectively, sufficiently detoxed from the pink madness. Prohibiting what is labeled “negativity” is exactly how the company and its sales leadership keeps the game going. As long as you are unaware that the Director spouting her “highest check” has not repeated that number in 13 years, you will assume all by yourself that that number is pretty common for her and she (as Mary Kay’s ambassador) will not be guilty of lying. It isn’t really lying you know. It was true once. The fact that you assume something that isn’t said is really your problem, isn’t it? This is the number one secret of the RAH RAH sisterhood. Only give enough facts to allow the best interpretation, and never supply the details.
You’ll see evidence of this at Seminar. The top Directors will stand on stage sharing the “details” of their great year and never tell you exactly how $40,000 in orders came in on the last day in the last 3 hours. Same with DIQ, Car, Unit Clubs, National Areas. After 46 years, wouldn’t you think that a precise method for achieving huge goals would be outlined as case studies from the number one Units? Wouldn’t real businesses share and outline the steps taken to reach productive outcomes? But Mary Kay can not. And everyone in Mary Kay leadership knows it (but perhaps you do not). It’s a RAH RAH secret. The minute you find out that Miss Number One Director put $10,000 on multiple credit cards in multiple names to “finish” the million… you might not be so enamored of her status.
The real con here though, is the lengths that Mary Kay Corporate will go to make sure that the secret is kept secret. The Rah Rah Sisterhood does their best work at Seminar, retelling the tales of their banner years. Corporate knows exactly how year ends come together, and gives the top three and most of the teachers, added recognition for being the best at extracting large amounts of wholesale orders that get doubled and called “retail sales” at Seminar. It is amazing that this simple con, tricking the newest beauty consultants who fill the audience, is routinely tolerated.
The Rah Rah sisterhood would never bring up the fact that the $600,000 Unit club being recognized for “selling”, is actually a $300,000 wholesale ordering club that sometimes gets “double credit” for no other reason that to make the year look better. Everybody plays the game. Imagine if IBM just decided to double a month of sales figures for the hell of it. Only in the pretend land of Mary Kay is such a scenario celebrated! The number two secret of the Rah Rah Sisterhood is: Be grateful for being in a pretend delusional business. Real facts and real accounting are such a bore!
The engine for this elaborate con is the single biggest defect in womankind. Comparisons. Women are always falling victim to comparing themselves to others, and some pyramid schemes like Mary Kay are expert at identifying this big motivator of blind compliance. You might not be ready for this simple, subtle con. It is so deliciously encouraging that its subtleties can be completely overlooked. The Rah Rah sisterhood can keep you dangling indefinitely, trying to “make it” and striving repeatedly long past objective thought by the simple words, “you can too.”
“You can too” is something you will believe without wavering. If someone did make it, then it is possible, and all you have to do is work harder, course correct, stop “shoulding” on yourself, empty that stinkin’ thinkin’, get out of your own way, raise your deserve level, stop your analysis paralysis, and find a way or make a way. By comparing yourself to others, even while being told not to, you will always be left hungering for what another has achieved.
The problem is, because you never know how the one who “made it” pulled it off, you will be caught up in a endless striving knowing full well you didn’t do all you could have, or you would have made it. And because Mary Kay plays the “golden rule” card, you will never even entertain the notion that the results are bogus…even with evidence all around you.
After attending my 10th Director debut where only 8 to 10 new members bothered to show up, and the obligatory rationale for low turnout was given, (no territories-the rest live in other states) it dawned on me that we all, “found a way or made a way”. Once you get inside the Rah Rah sisterhood, you discover all the tricks of the trade that everyone pretends to be fine about. You see first hand the manipulative methods to get orders. You see for the first time the lists of scripts designed to motivate an order, even when you are fully aware that your people have more than enough merchandise. You are trained the proper way to do orientation, and “sell” a Star order.
You discover that your Unit is a fragile assemblage of women who will eventually settle into personal use with the exception of one or two who see themselves as competent to become Directors or who are starving for attention. Both types can be milked for massive amounts of production, till they finally make it, to perpetuate the same abuse on others, or fade out, unwilling to face what is really required to hit 30 active members and 16K.
But as long as the Rah Rah sisterhood, never reveals the truth, and stays in the land of pretend pink bubble business, the consultant will always believe she could have done more, and carry on her own shoulders, her personal failure, while her Director is off to find another race horse to ride. We all knew this and we all looked away.
Because we were never allowed to evaluate the workings and methods of this business, we never realized that at its core, Mary Kay’s marketing scheme is at cross purposes to the success of consultants. To do what may be best for your consultant could mean you forego production. That hurts the Director. To allow your consultant to grow in salesmanship and NOT recruit her showline hostesses out from under her, will hurt the Director. The required activity to maintain a unit work contrary to the best interests of consultants and serve ONLY to benefit the company and the Nationals. The Rah Rah sisterhood, unknowingly chew up the Unit membership because consumer sales never support the ordering required…and each new member gets her potential customer base recruited as competitors within her same market. Can you smell a serious flaw in the multi-level product based pyramid model?
The Rah Rah sisterhood can never objectively evaluate, (this would be “negative”), never reveal career path details (this would prohibit others from following) and never face that they were manipulated into achieving by any way possible because they were told they must be a “speed of the leader” gal. To fail to achieve sets a bad example to her consultants. Lastly, she must always, always spread the message that “You can too!”. And remember, only women kept in the dark, would want to.