Repeat Performance: Ryan Rogers and the Miracle of the Ten Class Week

Written by The Scribbler

“…we are going to have to take some risks.  And that includes all of you reaching out beyond your comfort zone and holding more classes.  I only wish we had Mary Kay here to lead the way again and show everyone it can be done.  And that’s when I did something risky…I said, “Well, what if I held 10 classes in one week during the month of August?”  And then I thought, “Oh no, who will I get to host them?”

So saith Mary Kay Ash’s corporate-suited grandson Ryan Rogers at Seminar 2010.  How on earth will Mary Kay’s “VP of Strategic Initiatives” (now there’s a vague title if ever I saw one) find ten people to host ten classes?  Oh, how we all wish Mary Kay Ash was here to lead the way!  But she’s not!  And Halloween is still two months away and one of the NSDs has the company’s Ouija Board signed out again, so you can just scratch that idea! 

Seems to me that if it’s logical enlightenment we’re looking for, we need look no further than our resident PT author Lazy Gardens’ article, “Mary Kay Ash and the Miracle of the Ten Class Week.”Written by T In the article, Lazy Gardens highlights a passage in Ash’s book On People Management, which discusses Ash’s familiar-sounding problem of finding ten hostesses for ten shows.  Don’t fret, though; it’s easy when you know how!

“I turned to our young spokesman and said, “Phil, you’re new to the company; has your wife, Carol, ever held a Mary Kay beauty show?” Phil says “no” and Mary Kay tells him, “You tell Carol that I’m going to be calling her.  She’s going to just love this new experience.” And then, she continues, “I looked at the rest of the executives sitting around the table and in a matter of minutes, I found several of the sales administrator’s wives who had never held a Mary Kay beauty show.”

In conclusion, rally your minions around the conference room table and take no prisoners, because a man with a family to feed isn’t going to say, “No thanks, Mary Kay Ash; my wife and I are not interested in hosting one of your beauty shows.  Thanks for asking, though!” Ash herself once said “I didn’t have any friends who hadn’t already hosted several beauty shows.  If they hadn’t hosted a show, then they were probably no longer friends.” If Ash was quick to dump her girlfriends because they hadn’t hosted a beauty show, I wonder how she would have handled any “negative” employees who dared tell her “no?”

Let’s turn our attention back to Rogers.  Will his booking tactics reflect the nuances of his pink ancestor or take a more ethical turn?  Read on.

“I went straight to [Mary Kay Cosmetics President/CEO] David Holl’s office…he told me that his wife Suzanne would love to host a class…so I went home that day, I talked to my wife Maleiah about it, of course she said she would love to host a class and volunteered two of her friends to do so as well.  Then I spoke to some friends at work about it, got three or four more accidental bookings, next thing you know, I’ve got 8 or 9 people willing to host classes for me.”

“Accidental” my foot.  I want the readers to clearly understand what’s going on here.  In order to meet his 10-class goal, Rogers hit up Mary Kay’s CEO, who in turn volunteered his wife. (A given)  Rogers also hit up his wife, who volunteered herself and two of her bosom buddies. (Three more givens)  Finally, Rogers “spoke to some friends at work about it,” something most IBCs and directors working a real job could not do.   Well, they could, they’d just be on the 9:05 a.m. monorail to their local Labor Ready branch, since hawking a pretend job while trying to do your real one is a deal-breaker for most of those Satan-borne, consistent-salary paying, benefit-providing workplaces out there.  Rogers’ bookings may not have been seated around the conference room table, but trick-or-treating his own workplace for them isn’t too far from the booking method his grandmother used, is it?

It’s my personal view that Ryan Rogers is painting a very unrealistic picture of the booking process to Mary Kay’s IBCs and directors.  While it appears noble that Rogers would stoop to the level of the commoners by booking his own classes, it cannot be denied that there are factors working in Rogers’ favor that Mary Kay IBCs and directors simply do not have.  Rogers is the founder’s grandson, for crying out loud.  Do you think that Rogers’ wife, the wife of Mary Kay’s CEO, and Rogers’ co-workers are going to tell him, “Dude, you shoudn’t be asking us to book because it ain’t fair to the IBCs. If you’re going to do this the way it goes down in real life, you need to get your rump on the horn and start dialing numbers you got out of fishbowl displays, or hightail it to the mall or the art gallery or wherever you hang out and start making with the “I’m in a contest; is there any reason why I can’t get your opinion?” crap.” Yeah, and every 8-Ball in the CONUS simultaneously replied, “That’ll Happen When Hell Opens Up A DQ Franchise.”   

Another factor shows itself in Rogers’ proud claim of, “Just in case you think I’m cheating, I’ll be putting my own money on the line for my inventory orders.” That’s a remark I find pound-the-table laughable, given Rogers’ financial and social status.  Earlier Rogers told consultants regarding the business, “No risk, no reward.”Quite frankly, an $1800 star order is chump change to someone who hires acoustic guitarists for the backyard when he wants to just hang out with friends, or whose drapery designer offers $250 throw pillows on her website. (And no, I am not making this up.)  I find it terribly jacked up that while Mary Kay’s fresh recruits are taking huge risks (such as being advised to apply for credit cards to cover hefty star orders, dump their children in daycare, and go behind their husband’s backs in the name of acquiring Mary Kay’s superficial brand of empowerment) Ryan Rogers risks nothing.  Well, nothing except the risk of getting a good-natured ribbing by his yachting brothers as they sail off to the Los Cabos “Music Scholarships for Blind Icelandic Snow Owls” Benefit.

When Rogers told Seminar attendees that “I only wish we had Mary Kay here to lead the way again and show everyone it can be done,” I don’t think it would have mattered if Ash were front and center, because Ash didn’t gain her ten bookings in the standard ways IBCs are taught to gain theirs: hours of chanting affirmations, memorizing scripts, and schlepping a bag packed with samples and recruiting literature through retail outlets hither and yon.  Mary Kay Ash ultimately gained her bookings by soliciting her workers and their wives.  And it would seem that Ryan Rogers gained his bookings – not through fishbowls, calls, and warm-chatting – but by soliciting his workers and their wives.

That’s what I love about those good old-fashioned Mary Kay “miracles”; all it takes is a closer look to see that their seemingly-flawless finish is riddled with ugly cracks.

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