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S2E16: Understanding Groupthink: MLMs, Cults, and cult-like organizations with Felicia

The allure of financial freedom and self-employment is a potent draw for many, leading them towards multi-level marketing (MLM) organizations. These MLMs often present themselves as gateways to prosperity and independence, but this is frequently a misleading facade. This blog post, inspired by a podcast episode with industrial organization psychologist Felicia, delves into the complex and often deceptive world of MLMs, drawing parallels to the characteristics of cult-like organizations.

At their core, MLMs seduce individuals with the promise of success and wealth. However, this is often a mirage, as they typically require distributors to not only sell but also purchase their products, placing a significant financial strain on these individuals. Unlike traditional business models, MLMs have a unique structure that is ripe for manipulation and control. Felicia points out that the lure of financial freedom, a common mantra in MLM circles, should be a warning sign, particularly when the MLM does not influence an individual’s sales outcomes directly.

cult-like organizations
cult-like organizations

The conversation then pivots to the striking similarities between MLMs and cults. Both are characterized by charismatic leadership that can exploit and manipulate members, often eroding the line between professional and personal life. Like cults, MLMs foster a sense of belonging and unity through groupthink, while isolating their members from outside perspectives. This creates a scenario where leaving the organization is fraught with challenges, often accompanied by shame and criticism.

A key strategy of MLMs is targeting individuals who are in vulnerable financial or emotional states. These individuals are enticed with promises of financial autonomy and business ownership. Yet, the reality is starkly different, with only a small fraction of participants achieving substantial profits, while the majority barely manage to break even. The MLM model is heavily dependent on continuous recruitment of new members, focusing more on expanding their network than on actual product sales.

The podcast also highlights the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance, challenging the myth that constant productivity is necessary for success. It underscores the need for engaging in activities outside of work to foster creativity and innovation. Interestingly, the discussion also humorously suggests that women could potentially excel as cult leaders, given the right circumstances.

Additionally, the episode delves into the notable success of Mormons in the business world, pondering the impact of their close-knit community and shared values on their business acumen. It wraps up with an engaging segment on social media marketing and an innovative approach to selling coffee, adding a lighter note to a serious discussion.

In conclusion, understanding the dynamics of MLMs and their similarities to cult-like organizations is vital for navigating the professional landscape. It’s important to be aware of red flags like false promises, groupthink, and homogeneity in thinking. By doing so, individuals can steer clear of these toxic environments, advocating instead for healthier work cultures and more ethical leadership practices.

Listen to the episode about cult-like organizations

Watch the episode on cult-like organisations

Read the script from this podcast episode on cult-like organisations

Felicia
Interviewee
00:00
Yeah, all right.
Gina
Host
00:02
So, Felicia, you’re going to talk to us about so many cool things. Yes, tell us a little bit about who you are, where you’re coming from and anything you want our listeners to know about you.
Felicia
Interviewee
00:17
Sure, so I am the founder and fractional CPO at CPO Playbook. We are a strategic leadership and HR consultancy and we also have a podcast that we recently launched, so that’s very exciting. I have a master’s in industrial organizational psychology and basically what that is. It’s the psychology of the workplace, and so a lot of the work that I do really has to do with people and how to make them successful and how to make teams successful, and a lot of it is also what not to do and how that could impede on culture and so yeah, so then we’re talking about MLMs today, which is a good segue. Is it a segue of what not to do?
Gina
Host
01:15
Yeah, of what not to do. Yeah, I mean, I think that’s a good segue.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:19
Yeah, I mean, I think it’s really interesting because MLMs, they do a lot of similar things that we, as like HR and leadership coaches, if you will tell leaders to do in the sense of, hey, this is how we engage people, Because I think MLMs, for example, they’re very good at this and we tell or we create programs of how do we get people engaged. But I think the major difference with an MLM is that the type of work that they do is corrosive to someone’s self-confidence, their financial well-being. They do all of those things that a normal organization would do, but they do it in a way that causes moral dilemmas and harm to people.
02:14
So there’s some differences but we can get into that whenever.
Gina
Host
02:18
Okay. So yeah, can you give us examples of what you just meant, because a lot of the times people look like we had someone come on here about who’s like a communication coach and they’re saying a lot of the things that we tell are like our students for lack of a better word are the same things that, when put in the hands of a toxic person, can be used to be manipulative. So it’s like it’s such a subtle, subtle, slight difference. So, and I can’t remember, did Lauren give us an example? I think she did, but I would like to hear the example in regards to, specifically, mlms, which are a little culty. So can you give us an example?
Felicia
Interviewee
03:06
Yeah, I mean there’s so many, but I think first and foremost there’s the structure of an MLM. So in normal healthy organizations people are mostly employees or they’re contracting for, like specific type of work and specialties or consulting things like that. In an MLM, you’re not an employee, you’re a contractor. You’re actually most some people will sell it out their own LLC. They’re a distributor, and so what that really means is that technically, the relationship is very different.
03:54
So if I am someone that’s a distributor, I set up my own LLC and I become a distributor of an MLMs product, then I am also the product of the product, where I’m a buyer of the product that they’re selling. So I’m actually not just a seller, I’m also a buyer, and then all of that financial responsibility is actually on my own. So I either can make money or I can severely fail in my environment of selling that product. And so I think that from an organization that’s like an MLM, they’re touting hey, this is so great, this is amazing, the product’s amazing, but we’re not going to have any financial responsibility on what you sell or what you don’t sell. We’re just gonna help you buy more product and then it’s up to you to sell it, and so that kind of relationship is really, really different and I think sometimes people can get caught up because here’s this organization and they’re hyping them up and they’re singing positivity and financial freedom and that becomes really toxic because, number one if anybody is promising financial freedom, that’s a huge red flag, especially when they have no control over what you sell and what you don’t sell.
05:28
So that in itself is, I think, just one example of that I would share. That is a really big red flag and you should be thinking about what that means when you’re hearing the promises of financial freedom and this is the gateway to your life especially when you’re being thrown pictures and images of your friends and colleagues and people who are really close to you and they’re having pictures of their new cars and their new bags and everything that they’ve received and that actually comes from not just selling product but recruiting people to purchase the product, like I would be recruited and that person would get money from me because I’m purchasing the product, if that makes sense.
Gina
Host
06:19
No, it does. I mean. So my company. We used to do a lot of work with this company that seems like it’s an MLM, I’m not sure. It’s called Jafra. They’re out of California and they’re targeted to the Hispanic community and we did so much work with them for incentives and stuff, so they would incentivize their distributors and then they would get a specialty bag or a specialty, I don’t know something or other. And now all of a sudden they got bought out by somebody and all those incentives are going away. So I don’t know if that means that they’re gonna be more traditional or if the MLM thing isn’t quite working.
07:12
Just something interesting that I’ve noticed. It doesn’t necessarily relate to anything but the people at the corporate. I was working with the corporate people so they actually were employees of the brand, right, but the people who were getting the incentives were just people like you and me who had been recruited. And I just think it’s hilarious because the people at the corporate center thought that their brand was the coolest thing on the planet and it’s dated and most MLM stuff is not that cool in my opinion. But yeah, anyway, I digress, so I don’t.
Nicola
Host
07:52
So what is the psychological kind of hook? What is the hook that gets us into this cult? Cause I wanna kind of circle back into that hook, cause I wanna tie it into. How do we get hooked into these corporate environments that are similar to MLMs, right, where they’re hooking you in and it’s culty in the work environment as well, and there’s kind of this correlation between the two, I guess. So I’m curious to know what this hook is that gets people so kind of caught up in this.
Felicia
Interviewee
08:30
So there’s so many tactics and again, I think there’s various ranges of how often or how deep these psychological tactics could be. So but I can kind of walk you through some of them. So one of them is a very charismatic persona from authority, this Authority figure who is very charismatic, and they essentially make you feel like you’re the only, only person in the room.
09:05
And again varying, you know degrees of this, but that I think that sometimes cult leaders, like some MLM leaders, might see similarities where they see similarities is having this feeling of charisma in a very isolated way, where they gain your trust very easily.
09:31
And then they kind of say you know, if you start having doubts or if you start questioning, you know they come to you and say that’s very negative, you shouldn’t think that way. And oh, you know, your mother, your father, your friend, your sister, oh, they’re doubting you. You shouldn’t be around those people. And so they kind of bring in the sense of belonging, this very strong sense of belonging where I’ve got your back, this is a positive space, we’re here to support you. And, again, like I think organizations you know should be having this positive mentality, but it’s not to the point where you shouldn’t think any other way. And I think that’s kind of where diversity and equity and inclusion comes into play, where a more diverse workforce and a more diverse set of people or employees and leadership really hone in on finding these diverse aspects in order to make good decisions. But MLMs, cult-like leaders, will do quite the opposite and they’ll kind of like you also mentioned like, oh, you shouldn’t hang around with these people.
Gina
Host
10:40
So then it like crosses that work, life, work, sort of boundary. It’s like, okay, like you mentioned, your mom thinks that it’s a bad idea, so maybe you don’t want to be hearing that, so maybe limit your time with her. And it’s like why do you get to tell me what to do with my free time? Yeah, that’s weird, which reminds me of the whole Lizzo debacle, nicola, like toxic workplaces tend to kind of which I’m thinking is starting to be. Another trait is they tell you what to do with your free time, like what and how to do things on your free time, which is what we Especially in an organization where your downtime is with the people you work with in certain environments, right?
Nicola
Host
11:28
Do you remember when we had Debs on the episode where she was working on the line, when?
Gina
Host
11:32
they’re all like right. Or like an oil rig or something like that. It’s like-.
Nicola
Host
11:36
Yeah, and where it was live.
Gina
Host
11:37
You’re living with your coworkers, yeah.
Nicola
Host
11:39
Where I called it Love Island. Love Island Mining Edition. Yeah, because you’re going, you’re getting sex workers in to this community because they’re stuck there for months on end.
Gina
Host
11:58
So it’s like it’s just blur. It’s like, would you? You wouldn’t normally do that, like if you went to the office, right, you wouldn’t order a sex worker to come to your office, right, but because you’re living in the same with your coworkers, it’s very difficult, right, like where do you get to have your own free time, like you know? So if it’s not illegal in the country that they’re in, like who are we to say, like you know what to do on their free time? And this is just something that I’ve been noticing in this season of interviews that has become sort of like a hot button topic. But, yeah, so also the charismatic leader, right, and like they make you feel like you’re the only one in the room and like you aspire to be like them, where they have such a cool backstory or some nonsense like that. And it’s like everyone has a story, right, everyone has a backstory.
Nicola
Host
12:49
It’s just how you pee. I’ll tell you a backstory, Right.
Gina
Host
12:53
Right, yep, okay. So what else? Kind of? And like what goes into? I feel like also there has to be a certain sort of like on the receiving end, like, let’s say, you’re being recruited, like if I was gonna be recruited to an MLM I’d be like, get out of here, like I have no desire, like next, go somewhere, go home, don’t bother me. But I feel like there are certain-.
13:17
How are smart people getting sucked into it? Yes, how are they Like yeah, cause, like the girl who we are gonna interview, she’s, I think she’s written, since gone on to like write a book and has become like an expert in certain things. So it’s like she’s not. There’s no way. She’s like living under a rock and doesn’t hear about these things. So how do people, especially in this day and age, when you have documentaries about, like Lula Rowe and Gwen Shamblin and all those and you’re like you know right, how are we?
Felicia
Interviewee
13:44
still getting sucked in. Yeah, so a couple of things. One of them is financially. So there’s some people who do, you know, have some success in this environment and let’s say, for example, they say, oh, we want, we want you to have a car. You know a lot of MLMs will say, hey, like let’s, let’s give you a car and show it. You can show it off and so. But what that really means in the background and I’m not saying that every MLM will do this, but an example is, you know they’ll say, hey, you buy the car and then we will give you know the. We’ll give you like $500 a month for the car, but you have to purchase, you know, over $1,000 of product from us a month and then it’s your responsibility to sell that product. So in order to keep this car and you’re sucked into this lease you have to keep going. Unless you know things are gonna be, you’re gonna be in debt. So there’s this, you know financial kind of handcuffing that they create around compensation. It’s not really a compensation, it’s you’re not an employee, but you’re still getting compensated for being a distributor based on what you sell. So it’s a little bit behind the scenes and so people kind of just get stuck in this place where they might see things that are not so kosher, but they continue because they know, hey, if I stop now I’m gonna be in a bad place. So that’s one thing that happens.
15:31
Another piece is that they have a lot of their social relationships that are baked into the environment. So if I’m new and you know I’m being told, go recruit people and you’re gonna make more money as you get more recruit recruitees, I’m gonna call my sister, my mom, my friends, my best friends, you know whoever my aunts, my uncles and I’m gonna bring them into this environment. And those are the relationships that I have. They’re the most strong and if I see something going wrong or not so great and I end up leaving, they’re gonna point the finger at me. They’re gonna say you’re being negative, you’re not being supportive, and that’s kind of this like almost shame that gets put on people who leave, and especially from the relationships that are the strongest in your life. Many people are not going to take that risk to leave an environment where that’s all of their, you know, social support comes from. So that’s another which is really, really difficult to do.
Gina
Host
16:52
Yeah, because you feel like you’re going to let everyone down. But specifically, how do people get recruited? In the example you said okay, if I have to go sell these products, I’m going to call my sister and my best friends and my whole extended family. But what kind of do you find that people who are more in a vulnerable situation for whatever reason whether it’s loss of job or like, they’re the ones who are recruited and then they’re the ones who will go and talk to all of their family and then kind of get sucked in, like what are the set of qualities that someone tends to have that does ultimately get recruited by an MLM?
Felicia
Interviewee
17:39
I think that there are some people who are more vulnerable than others, and these are people who maybe I’ve tried this and that it didn’t work. Maybe there’s some ping of desperation to I just lost my job, this is an easy way for me to start making money, maybe at least until I find my next job, and then they end up getting wrapped up in everything that that environment brings and they stay. And also people who are mostly in debt, unfortunately, because that promise of financial freedom is very attractive to someone who has had a lot of debt build up and they’re seeing how, oh, it works. All my friends, they’re making so much money and I want that too. Or they see pictures or whatever on social media. I want that too.
18:37
Well, it’s not a bad thing to want. I mean, everybody wants to be able to have that financial stability. But when you have the debt, or when you don’t have a social circle, or when you’re struggling or you’re in a transition or you’re not really sure where you are socially in your life and here’s everything really being offered to you on a silver platter of promise I think that for sure, people are going to say why not take a chance on this interesting new adventure that’s going to bring me parties and excitement and the ability to run my own business. So for sure, I think that there are people who are more vulnerable than others to get sucked in as a recruit.
Gina
Host
19:29
Yeah, this other girl that we briefly spoke to. She said that she was going through an emotionally and socially tough time and that’s when she got involved with the MLM and then, before she knew it, it kind of like took over her whole life. So it’s going to be really interesting.
Nicola
Host
19:49
Yeah, but she’s gotten out of it. But I think about that promise and again, I’ll be living under the rocks at the moment because you see all over that those promises aren’t necessarily true and that you’ve got to obviously sell, sell, sell, sell, buy, buy, buy, sell, sell, sell, sell, buy, buy, to even make a dent. And I think there’s so much data around how little you’re making. So I know I used to have a flatmate who used to do an MLM and I was just like how are you being sucked, how is this happening?
Gina
Host
20:39
Because she was fully subscribed to it and it was all about getting the newest addition of this thing and well, if she was doing that well, she wouldn’t need help buying things and she wouldn’t need a flatmate right, because that’s the promise that they give you is that you’re going to make so much money, and I do think there are, like it’s like a unicorn in some MLMs, that these people can really make money. Can you explain that phenomenon?
Felicia
Interviewee
21:09
Yeah, I think that there’s some people who have great talent. They’re great sellers. Most of the people who make it to the top really believe in the product. They’ve used the product. They’re like this product helped me do X, y and Z, do this to my skin, lose weight, and I am bought in and if I can do it, you can do it, and that’s kind of their pitch and I think some of the products can be good.
21:37
I think it’s maybe, maybe not. I’ve honestly never tried a product before so I really can’t say. But even if the product was good, that’s really not the goal of the organization. That’s making you purchase it, though the goal is to recruit as many people, as it’s a numbers game. It’s a new crew, 100 people, great. 1% makes it Because they’re just naturally talented sellers and they believe in the product and their pitches are great and they have a good network or what you know, or they’re motivated or whatever the case may be. But at the end of the day you know, like I said, it’s a numbers game. So they’re making money off of that 99% of recruitees, regardless of whether or not they’re making money.
Nicola
Host
22:22
But then you’ve got that numbers game in a small community. Let’s say, now you’ve tapped out your family, your whole family. Let’s say you recruit your sister. Okay, now you’ve got the same circle of friends. You’ve recruited some people out of your circle of friends who also happen to be living under rocks, and by the end of it you have recruited half your town. And now you are tapped out Like there’s no more room for you to grow because you have literally tapped out on your community.
Gina
Host
22:54
Wait, can I answer that? So, like, my mom is actually a distributor of an MLM and she has been since before I was born and I’m going to be 44. So it’s like you, just like I grew up surrounded by MLMs. Her MLM is slightly different because they don’t do parties. They don’t do it’s a little bit different and they’re selling like vitamins. So it’s not so much like just a quick buy and like you have to buy all these things Like, it’s like you take them. If they work, you continue to buy it. So it might be slightly better than other MLMs, but the fact is it’s still an MLM.
23:32
So what her MLM offers is is she, because there is the element of recruiting, signing people up, getting them to buy, like even if like doing a monthly you know X amount of money every month. So what they do is so if someone’s in her I’m probably going to say this around because I don’t really pay attention but if she recruits someone and that person sells to someone else, she gets part of the other person’s like profit kind of. So there’s like an incentive. So it’s like she might have. You know, she’s older now, so she’s done recruiting, she’s just working on what she has, but like if one of her recruits then recruits someone, she still gets some type of credit for that. So I think that’s how probably most MLMs work. It’s like you recruit someone, then you get on their ass about recruiting more people because it only helps.
Nicola
Host
24:22
It’s called like the upline or something it helps the upline but then you run out of people to tap into Like you’ve got to, you don’t have to tap into anyone else because, like it’s you right, that’s why it’s a pyramid scheme.
Gina
Host
24:34
You recruited people and then they’re recruiting all these people below them and you’re still getting something from all the down people down here.
Nicola
Host
24:42
No, I understand the concept. It’s just when you’re in a small community you’re going to run out of people to recruit Right, which is when your down line works for you.
Gina
Host
24:52
Yeah Well, that’s what they sell, right? That’s the promise they sell. It might not always be the case, though.
Felicia
Interviewee
25:02
Yeah, yes, yes. And like again going back to, there’s different degrees of all of these things and the way they pay and the way they act or what they do, and again like there’s 1% who do really, really well. But this continuation of just. You know, the focus is not the product. I think that’s kind of the biggest difference. The focus is not the product. The focus, the product at an MLM is recruit, get more people to buy your stuff, to be distributors. More distributors, more buyers, more money. That is the major message.
Gina
Host
25:44
Right. So I think there’s more regulations with and correct me if I’m wrong, felicia with an MLM, it’s kind of just like you buy your product, you buy into our idea and it’s up to you to figure out how well you do. There’s no regulations. Like I’ve heard people just because I listened to a lot of like cult and true crime doc podcasts like they’ll buy like all of their inventory like upfront for the year and then never sell any of it and be stuck with all of that because they’re too afraid to not reach the quota. Like I’ve heard these horror stories. So I think it’s it’s horrible. It’s a completely different model because you have to hold the inventory and then distribute it. Am I wrong, felicia?
Felicia
Interviewee
26:31
No, I don’t think you’re wrong. I think that’s probably a lot of people’s experience and it’s pretty unfortunate.
Nicola
Host
26:40
I mean.
Felicia
Interviewee
26:40
I think that I think there’s going to be some people who do have that product and they’re like that’s it. This is coming out of my house tomorrow and they’re going to do whatever it takes and maybe they will make it. There’s still those, absolutely there’s still those stories, but they are very far and few between. And again, it’s numbers game. Buy as much product today, you get 10% off, and they’re telling that to hundreds of people or thousands, however many distributors that they have and they’re making their money. They don’t need to care about how much money you make. They just need to tell you if you don’t make the money, you’re not doing a good job. If you don’t make the money, you’re not putting in the effort. If you don’t make the money, that’s your problem. If you don’t make the money, you’re not taking enough pictures about how well you’re doing. You’re not recruiting fast enough. It’s just very uncomfortable and I think that if people are thinking, if people are who are listening and they are wondering or they have thoughts about the company that they’re distributing, for that maybe they might be in an MLM. If something doesn’t feel right, you’re probably right. It’s just go with your gut type of thing If there’s some moral that you feel is breaking or it’s a little soft in the environment that you’re in. Go with your gut.
28:10
I think if you want to find financial freedom if that’s really on your mind you have to really identify your strengths.
28:19
Be in a place where you don’t feel like your morals and values are being sliced in half. Then you can dive in and you have a base salary Not to say that people can’t start their own company, but to have your own company and fully depend on one organization. The majority of what they’re telling you is you need to sell our product and they’re not giving you anything else or any other support. It just so rubs me the wrong way. It hurts my soul. I want people to be happy with what they’re doing. Most people are happy in their role if they love what they’re doing, even whether or not they make that financial gain, because they can still go home and be super happy with hey, I helped someone today or hey, I made this product and I love making this product. At the end of the day, if you’re constantly questioning yourself whether or not something was done in a good way, I think you should dig into what that means for you in your role.
Gina
Host
29:39
I think this is where Nicola and I are probably. We love a good MLM slash cult story. We love it.
Nicola
Host
29:46
I’ve been watching how to be a cult leader.
Gina
Host
29:49
No, not yet. I need to.
Felicia
Interviewee
29:51
I’m addicted, I’m addicted. It’s wild. Wait, it’s on Netflix, right?
Nicola
Host
29:55
Yeah, okay.
Gina
Host
30:01
I’m going to have to get on that. Currently I’m going down a married at first sight rabbit hole.
Nicola
Host
30:07
Thank you, Jesus, for finally coming to the point.
Gina
Host
30:09
I know I finally am coming.
Nicola
Host
30:11
Where are you at?
Gina
Host
30:12
I’m watching for ages and I’m like I’m going to get around to it when you’re at. No, I’m watching the US version. I’m aware I have watched all of them. Where are you at? Oh, I started with the most recent season 15.
Nicola
Host
30:26
Okay, there’s just such good, but there’s just such good people before this.
Gina
Host
30:33
Now that I was like, let me give it a shot, nicholas told me to do it this whole time. I just started with the most recent season and now that I’m into it, I’m going to go all the way back, because there’s 15 seasons.
Nicola
Host
30:45
Girl Ready for me to bring. I will see you next year.
Gina
Host
30:48
Yeah, okay, anyway, so where Nicholas and I, despite loving good MLM slash cult stories, how do regular non-MLM companies like an S corp, not doing distribution, like how the MLMs are set up, not promoting necessarily recruiting, how does a regular company start exhibiting similar characteristics? Because you said, one side is MLM slash cult, the other side is a healthy company and in the middle is a spectrum and I think Nicola and I are most interested in that.
Nicola
Host
31:24
How do we get sucked into the family cult?
Gina
Host
31:27
Yeah, how do you get sucked into a company that is very similar in terms of behavior, picking up on people’s insecurities like an MLM does, without even realizing that you’re getting sucked in?
Felicia
Interviewee
31:43
I think that a lot of it has to do with kind of what we talked about earlier, which was my goal, is financial freedom. My goal is to get out of whatever rutting in. You know those people who are a little bit more vulnerable and just seeing like a light at the end of the tunnel. And so when we do that, as people were like we’re going on, we’re going towards my goal, I’m going to, you know, I see I see some things like that. That’s not so great, but but I’m on my way to my goal, so I’m going to keep going. You know, I think that there’s a very strong desire for whatever. It is that something somebody is looking for. And you know these MLM leaders. They’re providing a lot of those solutions. They’re promising financial freedom. They’re showing you it exists because they’re, you know, showing you pictures and and bringing people on stage and saying you have done so amazing and look what you can be doing. You can be successful and you can have, you know your own business and you can have, you can own your future.
32:49
Look at all these people who are successful, who are doing the same thing. They create this like group think mentality, again, that next step of like isolation right now. It’s like I pulled you in and now I’m going to surround you with like minded people. If you do a psychological assessment and you it’s called group thing you do a psychological assessment and you put people in a room to discuss something. Let’s say there’s 10 people. You have like group A, who they say they pick one person who’s like the participant and then they surround them with like I don’t know nine other people and they tell those nine other people behind the scenes. They go we want you to all agree with each other, okay. And then they do group B, which is they have another participant and they have these nine people and they say, well, we want you to publicly disagree with each other and like, have the soft, good environment with, okay, with disagreeing. Well, in this like MLM environment. You’re, you’re putting, you’re being put in this place with all of these people who think the same way.
33:59
Like there’s been studies where I mean, don’t quote me but like, for example, if you pass like a cheeseburger around and everybody takes a bite and they go oh, I love, this cheeseburger is so good, this is the greatest cheeseburger I’ve ever had. And then you taste it and it’s like the most disgusting thing you’ve ever tasted. You will still agree that it’s the most amazing cheeseburger you’ve ever had because it’s group think mentality. If you don’t want to be the you, something must be wrong with you. If you don’t agree, everyone else says the same thing. Why would you think anything different? And so they, they.
34:42
You know it’s like they encompass you and they isolate you in these, this like minded people. With these like minded people, they show you all this social proof of success and relationships and making money, and you know all of these things and I’m I’m the authority figure and I’m saying you have something special. You know you can make it really big. You just need to put in the effort, you need to keep going. This is the. This is only a hump that you’re going through. Everybody goes through it. You got to keep. It’s a game. You know it’s just like gambling. It’s like, oh, I’m in more debt, I got to try harder. Oh, I’m in more debt, it’s because I’m not trying hard. You know it’s like this cyclical, socially psychological mind. You know I don’t want to say the word but, like you know, I’m saying you know, yes, I’ll let you say it.
35:36
So I just, I just think that it’s you get into this world and they kind of lock you in and then you cannot get out because if you think that is so true, yeah, that’s what happened with us, nikola, in our workplace, because they went to the MLM.
Nicola
Host
35:55
just to be clear, they were just a standard organization.
Gina
Host
35:59
It was not an MLM. It was not structured like that. It was just structured like a normal company.
Nicola
Host
36:04
CEO.
Gina
Host
36:04
CEO yeah, you know nothing. We weren’t getting being told to recruit. There was nothing like that. But it was the group think it was the group thing.
Nicola
Host
36:15
It was like we make the best product. If you don’t believe us, get beat.
Gina
Host
36:21
And like when I first got hired, I was hired to fix a lot of issues there, and so I started doing that and in doing so I started asking hard questions and being disagreeable, but in a professional manner. I wasn’t like this product sucks. I was like, okay, we can improve by doing X, y and Z, whatever and over time. Because either I was then told later like oh, so and so, didn’t like that, you said that, or, nikola, you have tons of stories similarly. I just stopped, I stopped participating. It wasn’t that I would agree, I would just stop loving it, like I would, just no opinion, nothing. If that’s what this company wants to do, fine, I’ll just get it done for them.
Nicola
Host
37:05
So it was like almost demoralization of my their group think was very much centered around toxic positivity.
Gina
Host
37:16
Yes and yes and inexperience. So they were like co-sign people’s thoughts and ideas that made no business sense. So it was that group think. I think you hit the nail right in the head, especially in our case.
Nicola
Host
37:33
Group think and isolation because you think about the hours we worked and the capacity that we had to be available in. So you’re completely isolated from family and friends because you just don’t have time to see those people. So you’re isolated to this group of people you’re talking to remotely on Slack and then on top of that layer, on pond layer, you’ve now got the toxic positivity and you’ve got the group think mentality and you’ve got, you know, your vivacious cult leader telling you but we can do better and if we don’t, you know we’re going to have to let people go because we just have to keep doing better.
Gina
Host
38:09
and you know, whatever it is, it’s exactly what you were saying it’s exactly what you were saying, felicia, because it’s like oh, this is just a road bump, don’t worry, we’re going to get better.
Felicia
Interviewee
38:23
Yeah, that’s all very like superficial stuff. I think the way like I I’ve seen organizations where they have like an all hands meeting and the the CEO, the CEO, would come to an all hands meeting and he would not answer any questions and I’m like, why are you such a?
Gina
Host
38:48
Yeah, you say, insert or you can curse on this. Answer, your fucking asshole. Yeah, okay, you’re the.
Felicia
Interviewee
38:55
CEO. You that’s your responsibility is to answer questions that your employees have, and like he would like defer it to like the head of HR at the time, or like the CFO or whoever, and like they just look like they were just a bunch of chumps. I’m answering this question like everybody could see through and I’m like if you are a leader, especially the CEO, and you can’t answer hard questions, you are putting blinders not just on yourself but on your employees and that doesn’t help anybody and by that way, by the way, that company went through two layoffs in the same in six months.
39:34
Okay, and it drives me absolutely insane because I’m thinking. I’m like, if you, you have a problem. Every organization, they have challenges, period. You can be Apple, you can be whatever, you, whatever. You have challenges.
39:52
The best leaders who I have seen, they, they go to an all hands and they go here’s what we’re doing well, here’s where we’re, you know, really not doing well. What are we going to do about it? Let’s solve this together. Here’s our plan. What do you think it’s a constant discussion of? I want to hear your ideas. I want you to speak up, come to the table, tell me something. I don’t know what’s your perspective, what am I not seeing? It’s 90% of the conversation leaders are having it’s not about this like 10% of conversation, of like here’s what we’re doing and we’re just going to, you know, hop, skip and a jump over this. You know period, you know it’s. It’s not that that conversations maybe 10% and you there. You need that. You still need that conversation to get people to say this is the road we’re on, we’re doing really well. You have to have those conversations, but most of the time the 90 other percent of the conversation should be. Here are the challenges, here’s what we’re doing. Tell me what else we can be doing to solve these problems, and that is what makes companies thrive and be successful and grow.
40:59
I mean, it’s just it, it it eats me, like I see these and it’s funny because the time I had told the head of HR at the time and I told her, I said I said, don’t you think you need to? You know, coach him a little bit and let him know, because she and I were on the same page she’s like he’s not coachable. Well, when a CEO is not coachable, what does that mean? You let him go, you figure out, you replace that person. Because if a CEO can’t be coach, what makes you think any other leader can be coached in your organization? And lo and behold, like he was eventually let go. I mean I just saw it like from miles away, you know, I think I think even from like one all ends, I’m like, oh, that’s a problem. Yeah, things need to change. So I mean I don’t mean to like go on a rant here, but it’s, it’s those. These are real things and they can be in real organizations. You just got to kind of look at those red flags yeah.
Nicola
Host
42:06
What do you, what do you feel like with? Let’s say, what would the top three red flags for you be if you want to avoid a cult like organization?
Felicia
Interviewee
42:20
I think we talked about group think a lot, right? I mean, if a company is telling you that the only place for you in the world is here and you can’t go and sell other products, but we’re not going to take any financial responsibility over what you sell and you’re going to be able to engage it like that’s huge word, fun, huge red flag. And I think the other thing is prompt false promises. If a company is telling you that you’re going to reach your fullest potential and you know you’re going to be amazing financial freedom, you’re this is it, this is the only place for you to be like that. And so if you’re a company that talks a lot about or maybe I should say this, that doesn’t talk enough about the product and the science behind the product and what it’s used for its, a company needs to educate distributors about the product. A company shouldn’t be saying go find more people to purchase from you, doesn’t matter how you do it, just go get them to buy from you and then you will be, you know, you’ll be the winner.
43:37
I think that is a huge, huge issue. You know, companies or manufacturers of products, essentially which is what they are should not, you know, be telling people, or focused on just go sell, you know it should be, here’s what the product is and here’s how you can hope. Here’s the knowledge we can give you about the product to help you sell the product. And then another one’s like not allowing you as your own, you know consultant or 1099, or making you feel guilty or shameful for going out and doing more business elsewhere, like that’s a huge red flag. So I think those are some big ones, yeah.
Gina
Host
44:22
So but what about, like in a regular organization where, like the one that Nicola and I came from, like we weren’t, we weren’t told to go, you know, distribute the product because it was direct to consumer via e-commerce?
44:37
But it was sell, sell, sell Like that was more for, like, the marketing aspect and there was no really rhyme or reason to their products. And we were just told we’re going to be the best, we’re the best. How do we get there? But then, like, when faced with harsh truths, like okay, you’re not going to make this revenue because your timeline is severely unmanageable, Like nothing is being done in a proper manner, not accepting reality and having like that charismatic leader. That’s where we came from, that’s where Nicola and I met and we, when we left, we felt like we were actually especially Nicola. I was, like I was a little bit less into the cult, Like I was. I was only there for like maybe four months. Nicola was there for like four years. So it’s you know, I noticed it sooner than Nicola because she was already noticed in the interviews as well.
Nicola
Host
45:40
You saw the red flags in the interview but I dismissed them.
Gina
Host
45:44
I saw them and then I dismissed them on like oh, they’re a small company, they probably don’t have the same. Like they need someone like me because I am very experienced in what I was hired for. I knew what I was doing.
Felicia
Interviewee
45:58
Gina, I just want to take a second to validate that for you. Yeah, because yeah, I’ll go into an organization thinking we’re here to help Like we want. I see, I see the mistakes. I can help you and. I think that that’s just coming from a place of like wanting to be like a good contributor to a company. So you know, I don’t want to invalidate, like how you were failing you know, during that process there was a well.
Gina
Host
46:23
Once I got fired after I quit it’s my favorite story and then they gave me severance dummies. They never had to because I technically quit Anyway.
Felicia
Interviewee
46:34
So go back to episodes like one, two and three.
Gina
Host
46:37
Yeah, exactly so, anyway. So I did leave the company. When I did get fired and felt really shitty about myself. I’m like maybe I’m not good at my job. Thankfully, the bounce back was not as bad as Nicholas, because I was only there for a short period of time and then I was like no, I know what I’m doing, this was not a right fit. This company was not willing to see the truth, so like, and if anyone could have righted that ship, it would have been me, because I have so much experience doing what I do, or someone like me.
47:10
So how do you find the red flags? Because my point in kind of going back to go forward is that when both Nick and Nick and I left and we got back together, we were like, was that a cult Like? It felt very MLME, slash, culty, and I think that’s where, again, nicola and I love a good MLM cult story, love it. I would love more documentaries about it, about new ones that we haven’t heard of. But how do you get like sucked into these companies that are very cult like or MLM like without actually being an MLM? And what are those red flags? Because I think there’s a lot of smaller companies and I’m sure there’s even big Fortune 500 companies that have similar characteristics that what me and Nicola felt or went through. So I think that’s where my main interest is.
Felicia
Interviewee
48:06
A couple things I think. One of them is if you’re in a company and diversity of thought is not being promoted or it’s making people feel shameful or guilty, that’s a big red flag.
Nicola
Host
48:26
And that’s.
Felicia
Interviewee
48:27
I think that’s one of the reasons why, you know, I talked about diversity, equity and inclusion and why that’s such a big thing right now and why I even talk about a lot of it on my podcast. But my point is that that people are starting to really realize what that looks like. And again, it’s about, you know, I’ve gotten into conversations where leaders like we were in like a private conversation and I’m with like the executive team and they’re like down, like they’re like making fun of people who are who said something in a meeting that was like, oh, did you hear what the person said? That’s nothing, I mean, it was just it was like beyond what I, my ears, could hear, because I just thought it doesn’t matter if somebody brings up something that you don’t like, or maybe they were completely off the fact that they brought it up. You should be excited about that, because that brings innovation and ideas to the table and allows people to see things from a different lens and perspectives. And that’s what makes a good company is helping people make good decisions, even when I bad ideas come into the fold. So I think, when, when you’re hearing or seeing or feeling that people are looking down on diverse ideas or thoughts. I wouldn’t like, I wouldn’t encourage continuing in that environment. So that’s one piece of it.
49:58
I think the other piece is when you yourself, or all you see others asking questions and not really getting answers. That makes sense and I’ll give you an example. You know, hey, you know I want to ask a question. I’m in marketing and I want to ask a question about what we’re doing, about the engineering problem we have. We have a problem in engineering. The product, you know, isn’t going to be able to go anywhere until we rehash the code. What am I supposed to market? You know, from the marketing perspective? You know, if you get something like, if you get an answer from leadership like, oh, just keep doing what you’re doing and don’t, like, really allude to the fact that there’s a problem, you know, like something like that, where it’s like you know, my red, my, my like red light bulb is like shining bright.
50:48
A good answer that you want to hear from leadership is hey, marketing person, come, let’s go look under the hood with engineering. Let’s look at what we’re doing. Help us decide where should we actually put resources and engineering first to help you make that marketing message about what’s coming down the pipeline. And you know three months, six months, so we can help prepare you for when things are ready, when the product is at its peak or when you know what can we get customers excited about.
51:19
Let’s have you take a look under the hood and collaborate with this, you know, with this function of the business, and then you guys come up with a cool solution you know like something like that allows like a lot of trans, more transparency of things, not just, like you know, just keep what you’re doing and keeps you siloed in your function, like that’s not like a great sign. And I think that the third thing is that you have a life outside of work and you should really try and embrace that, because you are not doing any favors to your own business If all you’re doing, as you have these blinders on your. Just look, you’re all of your, you know energy is 100% in work. You really need to take time for yourself, have conversations outside of work, go to a museum, go have different experiences and come back to the organization and say I have something else to say.
52:17
Oh, here’s what I heard outside of work and here’s you know, here’s what has sparked my creativity to bring into the fold what do you think and have, like interesting conversations? Because when you’re going outside of your work and you’re talking to people with different experiences, different perspectives, experiencing even on vacation oh, I went to, you know, italy and this is what they had and this was so cool. You know, what can we do here that that I liked, you know, to see in my downtime, like those are the types of rich conversations you want to be having and if you’re 100% dedicated to your work and don’t get me wrong, I’m totally guilty of this like I’ve worked 24, seven in my days, for sure, but at the end of the day, you know a lot of that growing of myself and the business and my team comes from what do I do outside of work that I can contribute to work and that also brings, you know, a lot of diverse creativity and innovation perspective to work.
Nicola
Host
53:21
So oh for sure, Like so this podcast is. You know, outside of my day job and the amount of times that I’ve brought up what people have said in this podcast where I’m like girl, let me tell you how wrong we are. We got schooled recently. Yeah, I know, and I thought I knew you know all of this stuff, but actually here’s a whole bunch of other stuff that I didn’t realize I knew, and here’s some new thinking as well. But then again, you look at it from you know the other perspective and you know you look at it from the perspective of I do have a day job and then I throw myself into all of the work that we do to get the podcast maintained and doing and editing and social media and you know all of the things that come with that and you know it’s.
54:23
It’s like an avoidance tactic, right, because you don’t want to deal with, like, what’s really going on. So you throw yourself into all of these other things and I, like this is going to sound terrible. Another unpopular opinion for today I I struggle to relax ever, because the minute I start relaxing, I think about all the 47,000 other things that I need to be doing and I feel like my time is so unproductive for relaxing.
Gina
Host
54:52
Hmm, I don’t have that problem. Oh, I’ve really, because I’ve really learned to train myself and I think this is and I think I’ve mentioned this before in the podcast I used to feel intense pressure to respond to every single email like super quick, and just recently I’ve realized most people don’t respond to emails as quickly as I am giving myself all of this internal pressure to respond. So I started testing the boundaries. I’d be like I’m going to respond in like, like they emailed me at 10am, I’m going to respond to like two, and then I would push it back a little bit longer. And now I’m just like I’m like I’m going with it and it’s really like an act, like it’s an act of letting go right. It’s like I can respond to them without that intense anxiety of if I don’t respond to them right now, they’re never going to work with me again. It’s like that’s really not how it works. They’re doing tens of millions of other things and, yes, they need my information, but do they need it almost immediately?
Felicia
Interviewee
55:59
Probably not, you know yeah, I, I come, I have seen that happen. And there’s this like dependency on a leader’s approval. There’s this like manipulation of like you know, you know a leader can maybe like say or like put it out there in a way where it’s like, if you don’t respond immediately, like, where are you, what are you doing?
Gina
Host
56:25
And that’s where I came from. That’s where that came from is because I didn’t respond like within an hour my old boss would be like do you get this email? How come I haven’t heard from you? So I learned to respond and say receive your email, I’m working on it, I’ll get back to you. Like I needed to validate this person’s like sense of urgency and while I think learning a sense of urgency, especially in the work that I do, because it is manufacturing, so there are often timelines that must be kept or else you’re dead in the water, but there is that was one side of the coin is learning that urgency is appropriate in certain situations, but not in every f-ing email Like give me a break. Like.
57:08
I was expected to risk. You know, Nicola, you can understand this. Like we were in that position, I was on 24 seven.
Nicola
Host
57:15
Yeah, it’s like if I didn’t respond within.
Gina
Host
57:17
So now it’s like that leftover, like anxiety, and I haven’t worked at that company in like 13, 14 years, but it had such a long standing effect on me that now it’s like 14 years later I’m trying to undo what was done within like a year and a half of being at that company, you know.
Felicia
Interviewee
57:38
And that is the fear and guilt manipulation. If you don’t respond, I’m going to be upset and you should feel guilty because you don’t respond Like I own you type of like.
Gina
Host
57:53
Yep, and I would have to explain why I didn’t respond like within what she deemed as a norm, and half the time it was like I didn’t have the answer. I was gathering all the information to present it to you so that we can make an educated decision, like together and like that was never good enough, you know.
Felicia
Interviewee
58:09
Yeah, that’s like a desperate leader, honestly. You know someone just can’t, you know, will like only depend on like a few people in the company and then you’re like owned. You know, if you’re not loyal to me or if you’re not doing what I need you to do, you know that’s disloyalty.
Nicola
Host
58:34
That was the big issue with me at the previous organization is I was kind of the go to person and if someone else could explain it I could solve it. I mean, I’ve just yeah, go ahead.
Gina
Host
58:47
No, no, yours is way more important. Say it.
Felicia
Interviewee
58:52
No, I was just saying that. There’s an experience that I know of where a woman was you know the right hand of her boss. She got pregnant and her boss like, totally just like, was like you’re nothing to me, oh yeah, and the boss is a woman, I bet right. She was a woman.
Gina
Host
59:18
I knew it Women, and we had a whole session.
Felicia
Interviewee
59:23
I mean, I don’t want to be like biased, but she happened to be a woman.
Gina
Host
59:27
No, no, we had an expert on here saying how women are our own worst enemies in the workplace, and I think there is. Yeah, she said she has a book called behind frenemy lines and it’s like we’re doing a disservice to other women because we’re like that. That’s a whole different topic. That’s a whole different topic.
Felicia
Interviewee
59:48
Yeah, and then, also, you think that whole other show.
Nicola
Host
59:52
Then you think about Taylor’s, taylor’s situation.
Gina
Host
59:54
Oh my God, you have to tell her.
Nicola
Host
59:57
And then she was texting. So we had someone on the on the podcast and she was pushing out the baby pushing. She was in active labor, the baby was coming and her boss was like, could you get me this information? Congrats on the baby, bt. Yeah.
Gina
Host
01:00:18
Wow, it was like when you’re done pushing out a baby, just let me know so and so’s phone number Congrats on having the baby. Btw, it was like so ridiculous. I was like is this person for real? Like, is this an actual person? Who thought this was like socially?
Nicola
Host
01:00:34
acceptable to do this. Oh, you would check.
Gina
Host
01:00:37
Yeah, I’m like is this AI? Like this is not, this is not real. Yeah, but I think we’re digressing into like how women are sometimes our own worst enemies in corporate situations. Yeah, but I do think women are and this is I’m probably getting canceled for this. I think women are much.
Nicola
Host
01:00:58
It’s the show of being canceled. Should we just call this show canceled for us? Well?
Gina
Host
01:01:01
all canceled, except for Felicia, Gina and Nicola are canceled. I do think women tend to be more manipulative, because that’s how we’re raised and I do think that that is something like we’re less overt at being manipulative. It’s a little more subtle. I feel like, and I feel like that that’s like think of some of like these great like MLM leaders. Right, you had the I don’t know her name the Lula Role lady.
Nicola
Host
01:01:33
Oh, and her husband.
Gina
Host
01:01:35
Right, but she was like the face of it, gwen Shamblin, who I just can’t believe that’s an actual person. Based on the way she looks, I feel like it’s a lizard wearing like a wig and like do you know who I’m talking about? Felicia.
Nicola
Host
01:01:51
Gwen Shamblin. I don’t oh my.
Gina
Host
01:01:52
God, you have to look at a picture of her. You’re going to.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:01:56
I know I’m like doing all the wrong things. I’m like I’m so involved with words I’m living under a rock. I’m the I should be canceled after. I just shared everything that I just shared.
Gina
Host
01:02:08
No, no, you shouldn’t be canceled because this is a little bit more of it had a more religious spin, so I wouldn’t. It wasn’t really like you know what I mean.
Nicola
Host
01:02:19
It was definitely MLM and it was all about white. It was culty it was very culty, but it was the. You have to Google this woman because you need to see this woman’s hair, okay, Hold on.
Gina
Host
01:02:29
Okay, I’m going to be like I’m putting it in the chat, just so.
Nicola
Host
01:02:38
Like, once you’ve seen it, you cannot unsee the lizard skin.
Gina
Host
01:02:42
Do you see it, felicia? Let me see. It’s in the chat. Oh my goodness. Is that not a lizard wearing a huge wig and just a skin suit. That is Gwen Shamblin. She’s dead now and he shouldn’t speak at all of the dead, but like she was wild, oh you know she’s got her own thing going.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:03:05
That’s her brand, her brand. Yeah, it’s working. You know you shared her picture, it worked.
Gina
Host
01:03:14
She’s now dead, so we don’t know how much she’s working inside a home.
Nicola
Host
01:03:17
That’s so true, it works so good. You just shared her picture, exactly, exactly. Her marketing is on fire. Evil yeah. Wait so should.
Gina
Host
01:03:28
I make my hair even bigger when I take it out of its ponytail, because I have like really curly hair. I was like, should I like make it?
Nicola
Host
01:03:35
Can you just start, you know what I learned to trick it at Christmas time. Okay, just my best Okay.
Gina
Host
01:03:45
I feel like. I feel like this is my hair so curly. I feel like you and I, felicia, have come from similar length hair, so yeah.
Nicola
Host
01:03:53
Mine’s too. Mine’s too. I think you can put like a water bottle, like an empty water bottle, and then you put your hair up in the water bottle. You can make like a Christmas tree with your water bottle.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:04:05
I’m thinking of that movie. Hairspray yes, with the cans, yeah.
Gina
Host
01:04:11
Yeah.
Nicola
Host
01:04:12
Yeah, look at this, look at this, I’m like, I’m like the thing from the who Done it?
Gina
Host
01:04:19
Grinch? Look at this. Yes, the who’s in Whoville, please. Okay, wait. But can we go back to why Gwen Shamblin is such a weird lizard person? No, I’m just kidding, that’s not but, by the way, her husband was total, like he used to be really hot. He played Tarzan in like some show, okay, so I was talking about how I feel like women are more manipulative, subtly, and that’s why they make for better cult leaders.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:04:49
Well, I don’t know if it makes them a better cult leader, but I can say that historically, you know, we’ve really had to fight our way through. We’re still kind of doing it to get the respect and the leveling you know. I mean there’s many, many there’s. Statistically speaking, there’s absolutely more men on boards and executive teams than women. That’s just the fact. And I feel like sometimes we try to compensate for that.
01:05:26
And so when we feel someone has, like, abandoned us I’m not talking about myself, but I’m just saying sometimes women feel like someone’s abandoned us.
01:05:37
You know we have to fight even harder, like tooth and nail, to get the respect or like the leadership, title, position, compensation, leveling, all of that, you know, in order to get there.
01:05:52
And so when someone leaves us or we can’t rely on them anymore, for whatever reason, you know it hurts maybe a little bit, maybe it stings a little bit more than it would be. Like a male and again, I’m not I think that there’s plenty of men out there that would feel the same way, it’s not just women. I’m just saying that, like our history in the workplace has been a little bit more of a struggle than men. So you know, I think, again, it’s really just I hear what you’re saying like the manipulation might be a little bit deeper, but at the end of the day, you know it’s also. We are also, as women, often looked at as more socially aware and we might leverage those social or interpersonal savvy, strengths, competencies and skill sets to get to where we, you know what we need or where we need to be, so, in that sense, maybe more likely to leverage those social relationships more than men in the workplace.
Nicola
Host
01:07:10
Interesting.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:07:12
Yeah, but don’t quote me on all of that. I’m just making assumptions.
Gina
Host
01:07:18
We’re just having an open conversation. No, because historically, if you look back, most cult leaders are men, right. So maybe it’s a women’s turn to become cult leaders.
01:07:33
We probably would be more successful. That’s what I’m saying. I feel like we would be super good at it because, like, we have the ability to leverage different things than men do, although I think men are inherently trusted because, like, especially in America, that’s like what we’ve brought up to like men are the ones, like all of our presidents have been men right. Like we’re more likely to look up to and trust in an authoritative position, a man right.
Nicola
Host
01:08:02
And like a woman.
Gina
Host
01:08:04
Yeah, it’s like oh, who did she have to sleep, to sleep with to get to that?
Nicola
Host
01:08:08
position. Like you know, there’s that whole like undercurrent.
Gina
Host
01:08:11
that happens, but maybe it is time for women to become cult leaders. I say, go for it, let’s see what happens.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:08:19
Well, I want to officially discourage any cult leadership. You know what I’m saying.
Nicola
Host
01:08:26
I would like to start a cult and it wants to join. You know I’m going to start a cult, but it’s going to be a let’s go with a coffee tasting cult, and we obsessed with coffee.
Gina
Host
01:08:43
I think that now you have to give us all the false promises.
Nicola
Host
01:08:47
I also think, though, that that star above you will find a coffee that you love.
Gina
Host
01:08:54
And you’ll have freedom to have access to that coffee all the time.
Nicola
Host
01:08:57
Again, I think you know what else is if you get more people involved eventually, because it’s going to be the zombie apocalypse soon. Because, because you know you got to have some and we’ve been watching how to create a cult leader, we need an apocalypse. So, because there needs to be a zombie apocalypse soon, we can use the coffee as a medium to take us to the zombies.
Gina
Host
01:09:26
Right, okay, I think I yeah Okay.
Nicola
Host
01:09:31
I’m not, I’m so excited we need a coffee.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:09:33
We need a cup of coffee because the apocalypse is coming, and then there will be new, new planet, land, and we, if we, without all your best coffee right.
Gina
Host
01:09:46
We need to hold it.
Nicola
Host
01:09:47
We need to hold it so obviously. Hoard as much coffee as you can. My coffee followers lovers yeah, oh my God, I’m a cult leader. I’m a terrible cult leader guys.
Gina
Host
01:10:02
Okay, so I would be an I think I would be an amazing cult leader, honestly, because I think my pitch would be um wait, are we doing the coffee pitch, or should we do something?
Nicola
Host
01:10:15
You go with whatever you’re pitching because I’m going to go with.
Gina
Host
01:10:17
I’m going to pitch the coffee cult because you, I’m going to see if I can do it in a better way. So, like everybody loves coffee, right? So what I’m going to do is I’m going to set up this cool exclusive club and only certain people can get into it. And in order to get into it, you have to purchase the coffee from me. And after you purchase it, you then have to sign your loyalty to me and my ideas, because I’m the only one who knows how to get the specialty coffee for everyone.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:10:44
Yeah.
Gina
Host
01:10:44
Wow, that was really good.
Nicola
Host
01:10:46
I’m like wait good, You’re way better at this than I am.
Gina
Host
01:10:51
I’ll do the marketing.
01:10:53
I, yeah, you could do the marketing. I have the weird ability to make people my friends immediately, and I think I don’t do it only in work situations Like cause I personally, I’m like everyone, leave me the fuck alone. I just want to stay here and binge married at first sight, leave me alone. But like when in work scenarios, I’m like the first one to tell like a funny little anecdote to make people like warm up to me. You know? So I’m probably a good salesperson, even though I hate doing sales, which is why I think I’d be a great cult leader.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:11:29
Well, you definitely you know, have the knowledge now.
Gina
Host
01:11:33
I mean even before. Yeah, so I mean I think you, you refined my knowledge to be an even better cult leader.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:11:40
I’ve given you some, some or you know some like.
Nicola
Host
01:11:45
I have flags. I have flags in the book.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:11:49
Halt status. You guys should be interviewing each other. What do you mean? No, I know this. You guys are like.
Gina
Host
01:11:58
We’re one step away from starting our own coffee cults and you’ll be, on first yeah.
Nicola
Host
01:12:05
You’re gonna be having like bags of coffee delivered to your house and you’re gonna be trying to like feverishly sell this coffee. We’re not going to do well with the Mormons, though. Having been in Utah for a little while, I don’t feel like we’re gonna. That’s not the area we need to pitch at. Why?
Gina
Host
01:12:20
Because they don’t drink coffee. What in the hell? Why did I never put that together before the Mormons? They don’t drink the coffee. No, you’re right, I did know that, but I didn’t think about it.
Nicola
Host
01:12:30
Girl. This is why Do you know how hard it was for me to find coffee at like? And you thought, yeah, but I am.
Gina
Host
01:12:36
I was on struggle. Wait, I have a question. Why are and you might not know the answer why are Mormons so fucking good at creating products and being so successful?
Nicola
Host
01:12:49
Oh my.
Gina
Host
01:12:49
God, they’re so good at it. I don’t know what it is, but every single Mormon is some type of business owner or high up in some kind of CPG company, or I don’t know. What the hell did you do? Why? What is it that makes them that way?
Nicola
Host
01:13:08
Okay, I’m just going to throw it out there, having, you know, hung up with the Mormons in Utah for a little while I said a little while, it was like a week. So obviously I’m an expert, I am going to throw it out there and I’m going to say that they have got a really tight knit network and community and I think and it’s large.
01:13:31
It’s a large network and a large community, but it’s tight knit right and everybody knows everybody, who knows everybody, and you will know someone else and someone else’s network through the community. It’s two degrees of separation. And I think what happens is you have these really innovative ideas coming in. You know someone finds like a niche product or whatever it is, and then they test it out on, let’s say, a smaller community. It works really well and then blows up because, boom, you’ve got this massive network of people to tell it to.
Gina
Host
01:14:05
Well I think, okay, then we’re going to let the expert tell us. But my feeling is they already have a built in like buyer Group thing. Right, it’s like, it’s like they’re because like, oh, so and so, who I know is starting the skincare line, I’m going to support them and give them and buy from them and then, before you know it, the company’s showing revenue, which then can you know. Once the company is showing revenue and showing growth, you can really take it anywhere, but that growth might not be totally organic, because the community is so tight knit. Are we wrong or are we right?
Felicia
Interviewee
01:14:44
Last, question of the podcast, I think that you have a good assumption of what it could be. I think it’s a good, educated guess, but I would not be able to tell you yes or no.
Gina
Host
01:15:04
Because, I’m always astounded at how many companies I’m like. I had no idea they were based in Salt Lake City, and the majority of them. Just because you’re in Salt Lake City doesn’t mean you’re owned and operated by Mormons, but it’s a high likelihood, right? So I’m always like going back to stationary Right.
Nicola
Host
01:15:22
One of the biggest stationary brands is based in New Tund. They’re huge.
Gina
Host
01:15:28
Right. So it’s like yeah, and it’s like what are they doing? That’s so different? I would love to know. I would love some personal question.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:15:36
I would love to know that’s the next episode. We’ve got to find someone. We have to find someone who’s successful Mormon in Utah. I actually might have someone.
Nicola
Host
01:15:49
Oh but these, ella, connection 101.
Gina
Host
01:15:54
No, if you want to approach them and then say, hey, we’re looking, I know.
Nicola
Host
01:15:58
I just we’re curious, yeah, we would love to have this candid conversation yeah.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:16:05
I will check my network for you, girls. I will. But again, I think what draws people healthy organization, unhealthy organization is organization, mlm, all across the spectrum. It’s going to be values. That’s just what draws people. Do you have the same values as I do? I believe you, I trust you, I respect you, I want to be in your world, mormon. They have values, they’re very strong and they’re going to bring people who have the same values into their fold. And they know a lot of people who have similar values. So to your point.
Nicola
Host
01:16:44
I love that. I feel like Lula Roo was Mormon based as well.
Gina
Host
01:16:49
Oh, I don’t know about that, but I can’t I can’t remember what it was, was it? But I keep thinking of the real housewife of Utah. She owns the beauty lab, beauty lab and laser. It’s like a huge name now and she started it in Utah. Now it’s like everywhere and also like Dime Beauty, like all of these crazy companies and you’re like I had no idea that it goes back to Utah and are likely Mormon owned and it’s like, yeah, I would love to know what their secret is, because I want to replicate it, but I would love to know too.
Nicola
Host
01:17:25
Okay, hold on, yeah, because then we could just replicate it Right. Hold on, girl, okay. Yes. On the Washington Post there is an article called the Allure of Companies like Lula Roo to let a day say woman the hidden link between the history of Mormon woman and California games.
01:17:43
Okay. So Lula Rich features woman. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, she isn’t overtly religious, however, it’s all about linking. So it’s been over with Lula Roo. She was part, she tapped into the culture of let it say it to build her power. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So she’s quoting a lot of the values from the Book of Mormon in this space, often in insular communities, sometimes growing, so converts of a particular product gathered together and build community. Often in insular communities, sometimes growing at an alarming rate in the eyes of others nearby, and because they’re tight knit and they live in the same communities, it’s easy to share kind of like catches on, like wildfire.
01:18:34
Home industry selling straw, hats, oil, clothes, home spun material became a significant part of the economy in Utah, helping the LDS community become independent from outside influences in the latter half of the 19th century.
Gina
Host
01:18:48
I just want to point everyone to what the Luluro trick looks like, and you and I are doing something very wrong if we want to be MLM leaders because we need some wild kind of hair and some feral look in our eyes, and I don’t think we actually have that.
Nicola
Host
01:19:05
Founder of 2013. Luluru was built on the ideas of LDS and the center like centered focus on family to its identity in its public materials. If you want to create an incredible wealth, identity and underutilized, identify an underutilized resource, and if you make that choice, you’re penalized and like yada, yada, yada.
Gina
Host
01:19:29
Okay, so you don’t want to take the community? Yeah, and I think there’s goes back centuries. But I also think that when you use properly, like with some of the companies I’ve named, it’s, it catches on like wildfire and then it just goes. It’s like it’s like natural marketing, right, it’s like marketing within that community, and then those people probably have friends outside and it’s just like old fashioned word of mouth. Okay, well, we have taken up seven more minutes than we told you we would.
Nicola
Host
01:19:58
And I feel terrible that we take it up your time of absolute trash talk.
Gina
Host
01:20:02
Yeah, we’ve just been like being like, can I be a colleague and you’re being colleague? Who’s going to be the best colleague?
Felicia
Interviewee
01:20:07
or colleague, we all have the tools now to be an effective colleague.
Nicola
Host
01:20:11
Hold on, alicia. Okay, what is your cult plan for the coffee shop?
Felicia
Interviewee
01:20:16
Oh my gosh. Well, I think, I think what I would do is make everyone feel super special by, you know, having very special beans for my coffee. And I would tell them that and I would promise them, like unicorn capabilities If they drank my coffee. And then I would get them all together in one pot and I would just, you know, take them to like an unknown location for three days and I would tell them you know, all of you are ready to be unicorns and if anybody tells you otherwise, cut them out, because they just jealous of you. And then I would tell them that the good thing to do in life is to get other people become unicorns too.
Gina
Host
01:21:06
And that isn’t it amazing to be a unicorn. And you’re almost there.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:21:12
You’re almost there how beautiful you know your. Your ponytail is your rainbow, yeah.
Nicola
Host
01:21:21
We really need to get a coffee game.
Gina
Host
01:21:23
Yeah, we have a schooled You’re. You’re going to be the resident cult leader.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:21:29
Unicorn leader.
Gina
Host
01:21:31
Yes, coffee unicorn cult leader. But can you tell people where if they want to join your unicorn cult coffee? No, where if they want to actually learn how to like to join?
Nicola
Host
01:21:44
our cult today. Yes, tell us where we can find you.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:21:48
In my coffee unicorn adventure. You can go to CPO playbookcom. We also have a podcast, cpo playbook. We’re very serious on my podcast. Unfortunately, it’s not as glamorous as this one, of course, but we talk about real subjects and this is a real subject that we’ve been talking about today, but we talk about.
Gina
Host
01:22:13
Wait a second.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:22:16
No no no no, no, not the end.
Gina
Host
01:22:18
Yeah, no, it’s not every way to say it is your more professional.
Nicola
Host
01:22:24
You’re fine.
Gina
Host
01:22:26
No, you’re fine.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:22:30
So yeah, yeah, yeah, we talk about what’s happening today. So I interview, you know, chief people, officers and leaders who are actually having challenges in their world today and they actually solve the problem. So every episode is like a problem that we solve. We talk, I interview them and the problems that they’re having today and we try and solve them in an organization. So it’s really fun and exciting and I’m enjoying it so far and I hope you guys listen.
Gina
Host
01:23:05
So we will.
Nicola
Host
01:23:06
Yeah.
Gina
Host
01:23:07
Okay, and are you on LinkedIn, Instagram? Tell everyone where we can find you.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:23:12
I am on LinkedIn all the time. I am on there and I have not yet set up my amazing Instagram. I haven’t like set up my Instagram to show my coffee at, but I’m going to show my coffee soon. I’m just making sure I have all of the rainbow colors together.
Gina
Host
01:23:30
Okay, so. So stay tuned for your invite to the rainbow unicorn coffee cult.
Nicola
Host
01:23:37
You know I’ll be marketing. I will come up with a better name for your cult.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:23:41
Thank you, I’m thinking about adding that too, but we’ll see oh for sure.
Gina
Host
01:23:46
That goes without saying. I think it’s just assumed. And if you don’t assume it, then you can’t be a unicorn.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:23:53
Exactly, you can only get special glitter from me.
Gina
Host
01:23:58
And only Fisher has that special, can you?
Nicola
Host
01:24:00
imagine like a glitter coffee Gross. No, like edible glitter, you do this.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:24:05
It’s still gross. I wouldn’t eat that in my neighborhood. Oh my God you did.
Nicola
Host
01:24:10
Oh, my God, I would.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:24:11
Yeah.
Gina
Host
01:24:14
But your mouth like gets like Come on, but what does it taste like, doesn’t? It doesn’t taste like anything different.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:24:22
It just looks pretty, and then it gets like really messy, kind of like, kind of like a cult looks pretty, get really messy.
Gina
Host
01:24:32
I love it.
Felicia
Interviewee
01:24:34
I love it. All right.
Gina
Host
01:24:36
It was so much fun talking to you. Thank you for indulging our weird tangents inside track. Thank you for the timing me.

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