Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

Inc Magazine Top 20 Leader shares his personal, professional, and financial secrets.

  • Orrin Woodward

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    Guinness World Record Holder for largest book signing ever, Orrin Woodward is a NY Times bestselling author of And Justice For All along with RESOLVED & coauthor of LeaderShift and Launching a Leadership Revolution. His books have sold over one million copies in the financial, leadership and liberty fields. RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE made the Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Books and the 13 Resolutions are the framework for the top selling Mental Fitness Challenge personal development program.

    Orrin made the Top 20 Inc. Magazine Leadership list & has co-founded two multi-million dollar leadership companies. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the LIFE. He has a B.S. degree from GMI-EMI (now Kettering University) in manufacturing systems engineering. He holds four U.S. patents, and won an exclusive National Technical Benchmarking Award.

    This blog is an Alltop selection and ranked in HR's Top 100 Blogs for Management & Leadership.

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Posts Tagged ‘LIFE Founders’

Chris and Terri Brady: LIFE Founders – Part II

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 26, 2012

Chris and Terri Brady Mediterranean pictureFinally, with the creation of Team Approach – a systematic way to build organizations, used across numerous companies today – Chris and I exploded our businesses. Team Approach and our focus on leadership communities changed everything. In fact, we went from 200 people to over 1,200 people at events in the next twelve months! We have never looked back. Chris and Terri achieved their dreams and goals, mainly because they refused to quit when the going got tough. They, along with Laurie and I, committed to overcome any obstacles, addressing all issues in order to fix the broken business model to which we were originally introduced.

After fixing the business building portion with Team Approach, Chris and I next addressed the unjust reward system for community training. Some recognized the injustice and wanted to throw out the baby with the bath water. Chris and I, instead, just changed the bathwater. Training is essential for growing large communities; however, the training rewards must be based upon who builds the numbers, not who was there first. In other words, in the Team, it doesn’t matter if you started ten years ago or ten months ago. Rather, what matters is whether you are serving your community with character and what numbers you have across your organizations. People follow leaders, and when a leader builds a following, he should be rewarded based upon numbers, not hierarchy.

Accordingly, the equitable way in which the Team compensates those who carry the heavy training load is one of the Team differences because leaders know that it’s based upon service and meritocracy, not politics or position. The Team teaches people how to build pipelines, rewarding trainers based upon their results in training others. Team, in other words, isn’t a passive income for leaders, but a working income earned through service to other community members. LIFE, in contrast, has an MLM component and therefore rewards people even after they stop actively building. This is similar to someone being paid for the water flowing through a pipeline even after he has stopped working on the pipes. Since Team isn’t an MLM, one must train if he expects a training income; otherwise, it wouldn’t be fair. In a typical training system, the person at the top gives himself and a few cronies a special deal – not so with Team. Because Chris and I dreamed of building millions of people into our communities, we knew the “good old boys” club wasn’t only wrong, but it simply wouldn’t work to that scale. Instead, we used our technical backgrounds to reengineer the entire process, making it an equal playing field for all. Today, the Team is the recognized industry leader for fair and equitable training compensation for leaders who do teaching and training.

When we finally realized, after years of effort, that our former product supplier had no intentions of fixing its business model, we knew we had to leave. Without getting into all the details (that would fill a book), we survived nearly three years of legal haggling before finally settling all disputes. In that period of time, tens of millions of dollars were exhausted in a futile attempt to keep people in a company against their will. Even this seemingly negative endeavor, however, was extremely fruitful. We learned our communities grew the fastest when our only products were leadership materials. Simply by teaching leadership and focusing on community, the Team thrived. This was such a paradigm shift that I don’t think either of us understood all of the ramifications at that time. Instead, only with time and reflection did Chris and I realize that our leadership materials and a compensated community were the organizations core competencies.

During the legal morass, Chris and Terri Brady had one of life’s defining moments. Terri was diagnosed with a fast-growing brain tumor. The doctors were extremely concerned and needed to operate quickly. Can you imagine the additional stress on the already heavy load on the Brady family? Most people would have broken under the strain; however, the Brady’s are not most people. Terri displayed a true faith, living with a peace that could only be divinely inspired. Her spirit regarding the surgery and its potential consequences – death, paralysis through nerve damage, and loss of hearing, to name just a few – was simply amazing. How Terri, just days before her surgery, spoke on stage with such thankfulness and grace is beyond natural comprehension. Meanwhile, Chris’s quiet faith in God’s sovereignty spoke more than hundreds of theological volumes. Buoyed by the example of these two courageous champions, the rest of the community remained strong through their own challenges. By God’s grace, Terri’s surgery and recovery were an answer to thousands of prayers. The outpouring of love displayed by the community was indescribable, with thousands of cards, calls, and prayers. Additionally, a community of ladies volunteered to cook meals and nurse Terri back to health. What powerful testaments to God’s grace and Christian love within a community!

Thanks to the invaluable lessons learned during the struggles, we were led to our next major breakthrough – LIFE. LIFE is a culmination of nearly twenty years of learning, leading, and living. It combines the best attributes of four industries – Home Based Businesses, Leadership, Community Building, and Life Coaching. LIFE is a leadership/personal growth company designed to improve people’s lives. Launched in November, 2011, it already has over 2,000 customers. (This is multiple times better in several months than was previously achieved in over a decade.) People are raving about the LIFE products, which include CDs, books, and meetings. Thankfully for LIFE, Chris Brady is a marketing genius. In fact, I view him as one of the best marketers of this generation. What he has done to the look and feel of the LIFE and Team materials is without a doubt the best in the leadership field. This isn’t just my opinion, as Chris just won several Addy awards for his marketing expertise.

Along the journey, Chris has received numerous leadership awards. From being a NY Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author, and a top 15 Leadership Guru to having an internationally recognized leadership blog, Chris’s leadership thoughts are some of the best. Despite all of the leadership recognition, one of Chris’s best attributes is his disarming humility. You would never guess how much he has accomplished unless you pried it out of him. Both Chris and Terri, in other words, let their actions and results do their talking. If anything, their recognition understates the caliber of leaders they truly are. How many leadership gurus routinely speak in front of tens of thousands of people in a community built with their own leadership materials? Few, if any, do.

The Bradys have built a huge community, leading groups across the US and Canada. They are currently Quad-PCs and accelerating quickly. They are two of the best speakers on the professional circuit. Their mix of humor, stories, and heart, impacts people’s lives internally and eternally. If you have not heard them speak live, you are missing out on one of the most profound experiences of your life. Laurie and I have enjoyed countless hours of learning as we have watched this couple grow into one of the best of the best communicators.

Beyond business, Chris and Terri have also become some of our best friends. With so many years of experiences together, it’s not unusual for us to get together and laugh for hours at a time as we recall humorous stories from our lives together. This, in my opinion, is the greatest joy of community building – lifelong friendships with people of character, integrity, and wisdom. This next statement may surprise people. In truth, it shocks me. For in nearly twenty years together, Chris and I have never raised our voices against each other in anger. We have addressed issues, sought to understand, and resolved conflict, but we never did so in a disrespectful way. We value each other’s friendship and partnership enough to courageously speak the truth in love.

Congratulations to Chris and Terri Brady – LIFE Founders and friends. Laurie and I cannot imagine building LIFE without you. Thank you, Chris and Terri, for giving your personal best night after night, year after year, and using your gifts to impact others. Your integrity, honor, and courage have been displayed before the watching world. Now it’s time to finish what we started and complete our mission. When LIFE reaches 1 million people, the Bradys will have played a huge part in making it happen. Here is to the future together! Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Family, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Chris & Terri Brady – LIFE Founders Part I

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 24, 2012

Chris and Terri Brady imageWhen I met Chris Brady in the AC Spark Plug lobby, we were 18 years old – kids fresh out of high school. Both of us had dreams, ambitions, and a willingness to work. After a brief introductory meeting with our student advisor, all of the students was sent off to various facilities for their specific assignments. Who could have predicted then what God had in store for two young men in that meeting? Even so, Chris and I met for the first time on that summer day in 1985, eventually leading to a business partnership that would launch a leadership revolution to change the world.

My second recollection of Chris was in our first semester of GMI-EMI, when I sat in front of him in our history class. I heard a young man behind me speaking boldly about the steps he had planned to climb the corporate ladder and achieve his goals and dreams. My first thought was: What 18-year-old already has his life plans laid out in that detail? Curiosity got the best of me, however, so I turned around to see who was speaking. Looking at Chris, I knew I had seen him before, but couldn’t recall where. One things was for sure. I knew then that Chris, at 18 years of age, was focused on moving ahead in life and leadership.

In truth, Chris Brady has been a dreamer and doer for as long as I have known him. For example, when I was working a full 12 week assignment in Wichita Falls, Texas, I lived in an apartment provided by the AC Rochester plant (one of the reasons I agreed to go to Texas, since I was dead broke.) 🙂 Chris was assigned to Wichita Falls for a six-week term to help launch a new product. Since the plant was already paying for an apartment, Chris crashed with me and several other students during his time in Texas. It was my six weeks with him in Texas that solidified by belief that Chris was different from the rest of us students. Specifically, when comparing his purpose and vision to the rest of ours. Simply put, I had never met anyone so young who was as driven to break free from mediocrity as Chris Brady. His determination and confidence was scary for a low self-esteem person like I was at the time.

However, with that said, his boldness and direction intrigued me as much as it intimidated me. Why did this guy believe so strongly in his purpose? How did he achieve this magical elixir so young? Whatever it was, Chris’s drive led to massive achievements throughout college. In fact, he finished second in his 1990 graduating class at GMI-EMI (not too shabby considering it is a school filled with brains.) 🙂 More impressively, after graduation, he qualified for the coveted GM scholarship program. GM selects only a few of the elite graduates for an all-expenses-paid masters program. Chris chose the prestigious Carnegie-Mellon Institute and graduated with a masters in manufacturing systems. Little did Chris know, however, that beyond his degree, he would gain something much more valuable – the love of his life, Terri (Estes) Brady, whom he met at Carnegie-Mellon.

Chris and I went our separate ways after graduating from GMI-EMI. Basically, it wasn’t until after I began seeking another career path to success that we were reacquainted. In truth, I was not planning on contacting Chris for my community – not because I didn’t think he could do it, but rather, knowing his drive and mission, I believed he already had his path to his dreams. Providence, however, intervened. Thankfully, when I began community building with another engineer, he strongly recommended we share our plan with Chris. He said he could line up lunch together for the three of us.

When Chris and I met for lunch, it didn’t take five minutes for Chris to begin dream building me on the possibilities of getting out of corporate America. Hold on a minute, I thought! I am supposed to be dream building Chris on our options, and instead, he has me imagining flying around the Caribbean, talking about owning a local island business, and living the high life. What gives? I was so discombobulated, that I never showed him anything. Only later did I realize that Chris had recently returned from his honeymoon, and no longer wanted to sell the best 50 years of his life working for someone else. Corporate America’s rose-colored glasses, in other words, had been cracked for both of us. Eventually, Chris and I had another lunch appointment that formed the foundation for a life-long business partnership.

Even though our businesses didn’t grow that fast, our friendship and trust for one another did. To be sure, we worked hard, but we never seemed to get the growth we expected from working so hard. Indeed, after nearly five years of tireless effort, both of us combined could barely gather 200 people within our community. Those were less than overwhelming results, to say the least – especially compared to our business today, since we recently had a brand new couple accomplish more in fifteen months than the Brady’s and Woodward’s did in five years! This couple went from zero to over 300 people in their personal community, achieving the RT level in just fifteen months. In Chris’s and my defense, however, it was a different era. We had to deal with overpriced products, an under-rewarding compensation plan, and a meddling myopic management team.

Our businesses may not have grown, but we did, both personally and professionally. We both came to faith in Jesus Christ during our five-year desert experience. It is immeasurable the impact this has had on both of us in all areas of life. Actually, looking back, I am thankful our businesses didn’t grow during this time, because if they had, we might have been inclined to take the credit. Instead, we struggled for years, building and replacing groups repeatedly. The lessons we learned about ourselves and others, realizing not all people follow through on what they say, were essential for our future success. In reality, many people start in community building with selfish motives, but over time, if they stick around, we see them change and grow into servant leaders. Chris and Terri chose the change and growth route, becoming top servant leaders.

Stay tuned for Part II. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development, Orrin Woodward | Tagged: , , , | 11 Comments »

George and Jill Guzzardo – LIFE Founders

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 10, 2012

George and Jill Guzzardo photoGeorge and Jill Guzzardo are  LIFE Founders and leaders of leaders. When I first met George, he was living as far away from civilization as humanly possible. Indeed, George and Jill moved from the hustle and bustle of Chicago to the backwoods of the Michigan Upper Peninsula, just outside Ironwood. The Guzzardo’s goal was to get away from people and enjoy time together working in the health field and enjoying nature. Man, however, may make his plans, but it’s God who directs his steps. In other words, destiny intervened.

Ed, Jill’s older brother, happened to be my engineering mentor and best friend. Ed and I worked together on multiple engineering projects. When I started listening to CD’s on community building, I realized the potential and shared this with Ed. Ed agreed, driving 10 hours in the same state (that’s how far into the backwoods the Guzzardo’s lived!) to share the idea with George and Jill.

Jill was interested immediately, George however, was another story. 🙂 He ignored Ed,  watching the hockey game as Ed shared the concept with Jill. I remember Ed sharing his thoughts, saying, “Jill is excited, but George is going to take some work.” This is a common response. Inside of everyone is a dream pilot light. Sadly, though, most people’s dreams have been rained on so much, they believe it’s safer to bury their dreams than risk further disappointment.

Thankfully, George loved Jill enough to check it out. After reading his first book, he became a man obsessed with the idea of getting free. True, the odds were stacked against him in so many ways, having isolated himself in the backwoods where there were hundreds of trees for every person. Moreover, George and Jill were already extremely busy between jobs, hobbies, and raising their son. But, when a person wants something bad enough, the obstacles must give way.

The Guzzardo’s are champions today, not because everything was easy for them. On the contrary, if I were to define the Guzzardo’s with just one of my resolutions, I would offer Adversity Quotient because everything was a struggle for them. With that said,  nothing keeps this couple down! Several times, in the early days (before team approach), they would start groups and lose them. On top of this, Jill’s brother, and my best-friend, died suddenly of a pulmonary embolism, blocking oxygen into his lungs. This was a tragic loss of a great man. Most people would have become bitter, instead, George and Jill, became better.

Laurie and I had front row seats watching the transition of this couple into the leaders they are today. When the Guzzardo’s made mistakes, they read more, listened more, and applied the principles to grow. Many will listen to CDs, less will read consistently, but only the few will apply the principles learned. The Guzzardo’s were part of the few. I watched George go from barely reading to reading mighty tomes on history, theology, and government. This is on top of his personal development reading and listening! In fact, the rest of the PC refers to George as the professor for his amazing ability to read and comprehend the classics.

As the Guzzardo’s began to grow personally, they also grew professionally. Despite driving several hours or more to share the opportunity, the Guzzardo’s teams grew. Their teams spread quickly into Wisconsin, eventually across the USA and Canada. Today, the Guzzardo have thousands of people attending events across North America and George and Jill reside in a beautiful house in Tuscon, Arizona. They are living their dreams – the same dreams shared many times to Laurie and I as they were growing on their way to victory.

Reflecting back, one of my proudest George Guzzardo memories was during our costly litigation with our former supplier. I watched the Guzzardo’s propose surrendering their dream property, rather than surrender their involvement with TEAM. This is nothing short of modern-day heroism. In today’s pragmatic world, where nearly everyone does everything for their own perceived advantage, I watched the Guzzardo’s voluntarily sacrifice for the good of the community. This story, thankfully has a happy ending! As it turned out, with the TEAM’s settlement of all disputes, the Guzzardo’s were able to retain their dream property in the mountains overlooking the Tuscon valley.

Laurie and I are proud to have George and Jill Guzzardo as life-long friends and LIFE Founders! Their commitment to growth, change, and leadership is nothing short of inspiring. By setting the example for their team, the Guzzardo’s have attended many job-optional parties across North America. There are many blessings from our business, but in my opinion, by far the greatest rewards are the relationships formed with true leaders like George and Jill Guzzardo.

Thank you George and Jill for having the courage to become better when others became bitter. Thank you for setting the pace and cutting a trail for others to follow. Here is to a blessed future together. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Leadership/Personal Development, Life Training | Tagged: , , , | 33 Comments »

Bill & Jackie Lewis – LIFE Founders

Posted by Orrin Woodward on January 16, 2012

Bill and Jackie Lewis coupleHow does an inner-city kid and a single-mom team up and break out of the mold to become a millionaire couple? More impressively, how do they do this while developing into some of the top speakers and leaders in one of the fastest growing leadership companies? The short answer is through reading, listening, and associating with those who had the results they desired.

Bill and Jackie Lewis are two of the Founders of LIFE. Their amazing story is shared on several CDs that are best-sellers in the TEAM system. Indeed, both Bill and Jackie had to change the way they viewed themselves and this only occurs through improved information and association.

Recollecting back to Bill’s first time ever speaking on a TEAM stage, he was so nervous, that he made me dizzy watching him pace back and forth.  Be that as it may, he did it anyway, displaying courage and resolve to electrify the crowd with his speaking. In fact, it’s only through the small repeated victories that people change how they view themselves. Jackie went through a similar journey, going from a tentative speaker on stage to one of the most impactful of lady leaders.

What separates the winners from the rest in life? It’s Adversity Quotient – the ability to endure the pain inherent in the change process. The Lewis’s win because they have a near limitless AQ. By combining AQ and unimpeachable loyalty, this couple bought into the goals and vision of the TEAM, exploding through the Team levels and achieving PC in 2006. Through numerous hardships, the Lewis’s never wavered, maintaining the dream of reaching a million people.

I can remember Bill writing a check for hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to cover legal expenses and keep the TEAM together. Heroes are heroes because they sacrifice for what they believe in. It is modern day heroes like Bill and Jackie that make Laurie and my leadership journey so worthwhile. When so much of the world is giving up on their dreams, there are still a few willing to sacrifice for their dreams. Bill and Jackie are part of that select few.

For example, if you have ever played competitive sports with Bill – the TEAM’s basketball wars are legendary – you quickly discover that Bill hates losing at anything. He will push himself to his limit in order to achieve victory. It’s this characteristic that has led Bill to achieve massive results, despite his humble beginnings. For example, I am not shocked that Bill is a single digit handicap golfer because his quest for excellence accepts nothing less. I love competing against Bill in sports, for I know that whoever wins will have earned it.

Today the Lewis’s live in an impressive Tuscan mansion, raising their four children and enjoying the fruits of their labors. The Lewis’s team is one of the biggest and most dynamic in the LIFE business, providing a dream lifestyle for the young couple. Dreams come true to those who are true to their dreams. Bill and Jackie were true to their dreams, becoming top leaders in the TEAM and Founders of LIFE. Laurie and I congratulate our friends and Co-Founders, Bill and Jackie Lewis, for their impressive leadership accomplishments. We look forward to a blessed future together. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , | 25 Comments »

Dan & Lisa Hawkins – LIFE Founders

Posted by Orrin Woodward on December 9, 2011

Today’s blog will spotlight LIFE Founders, Dan and Lisa Hawkins. Their story of overcoming ought to be shouted from the rooftops of every village, town, and city across the world. Typically, mechanics and daycare providers are pigeonholed into non-advancing careers, not speaking on stages of ten thousand plus people. However, Dan and Lisa are not your typical mechanic or daycare provider.

What’s the difference?

It isn’t talent, as everyone has the talent to develop into a leader. It isn’t connections, as Dan and Lisa didn’t have any. In fact, Dan may be the shyest person I have ever personally witnessed build the business to the PC level. (He attended four phone calling sessions without calling anyone!)

Then how did they do it?

Simply put, courage. Dan and Lisa had the courage of their convictions to go against the grain, refusing to listen to the naysayers of life; instead, they chose to pursue their dreams. They disciplined themselves to read, listen, and apply the leadership training, falling in love with the learning process. Because of their courage, because they confronted every goliath in their path, the Hawkins are now TEAM PC members and LIFE Founders.

However, their life certainly didn’t start out as a fairy tale. The Hawkins family struggled to pay their bills for years. In truth, Dan was the last person looking to get started in a people business. His quiet, shy, reserved nature was not a natural fit for community building, but his desire to win helped overcome all obstacles in his path.

Lisa, although not as shy, had to learn to complete her husband, not compete with him. Instead of criticizing her husband’s fears, she fed his faith, encouraging him on what life could look like on the other side of his fears. Isn’t that what a great marriage is about? Two people who bring different strengths to the table, learning how to complete one another? I know this is true for Laurie and me.

It took years for the Hawkins’ working chemistry to gel properly in the home and business.  Indeed, this quality is what makes them so special to the other Founders – the willingness to invest the time, effort, and love to finish what they started.

The Hawkins PC run became the Bannister effect for the entire TEAM, permitting many other couples to let go of the past and seize their victory. Congratulations to Dan and Lisa Hawkins for a job well done. You have taken two lives of “quiet desperation” and changed them forever, lighting a flame on the success path for others. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Finances, Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , | 21 Comments »