Mary Kay’s Negative Motivation

Written by Raisinberry

Dream Big! Shoot for the moon! Even if you miss you will land among the stars! Show up to Go Up! Believe and You will achieve! Act enthusiastic and you will become enthusiastic! Whatever you say you will do, do it if you have to move heaven and earth!

Back in the day we could get a Mary Kay “Words of Wisdom” calendar with something like a $400 wholesale order. It was a virtual smorgasbord of gems and jewels to foster positive motivation. One of the sayings: “Failure is an inevitable, necessary and useful part of being successful. Actually we learn more from failing than from succeeding because failure impresses us with what we did not do, and it impresses us more memorably than succeeding.”

It appears to me that our NSDs have taken that gem to heart… the power of impressing in us what we did not do – at least in my former national area.

It started with the posting of who was attending Seminar or Career Conference in the newsletter. The idea was to publicly embarrass sales directors for deciding not to participate. Sales directors in turn, posted the unit members who were attending, in hopes that all those whose names did not appear would register immediately. The power of being left out… of being the only one who didn’t help, or achieve or participate looms large overhead.

By having everyone know you hadn’t made the commitment to attend, you were revealing how you weren’t a team player, or worse, were not committed to leadership. Emails would come out daily announcing all those who did not sign up. Or, a different slant would be, “These are the women who are committed to their business..” When asking for a reply, the national would email, “These are the women I have not heard from.”

It must have been a powerful guilt producer, this negative motivation, because the newsletter started posting not just the Top Ten Units, but all the Units, the Director’s personal order (or lack thereof), and her recruits (or lack thereof) and Unit recruits (or of course, lack thereof). It became pretty clear that everyone was going to know if you were struggling or “not helping” the national area.

Whether an area was winning an exotic trip for their national, or a 15% increase, or Inner Circle, you didn’t want to be the unit that didn’t produce! You didn’t want to be the unit that lost it for your national. You didn’t want to be the director that didn’t help her finish!

All those lovely positive motivational calendar quips go flying out the window in the face of the powerfully moving impression of failure. Negative motivation is just one more tool in the bag of manipulation tricks held by the sales directors and the nationals. It is designed to get us to pony up the resources to save face. Mission accomplished: complete control!!!

Shoot for the moon! And if you miss… better hope it is not featured on social media!

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