The sequence in which events unfold impacts the ethics of those events. The impact is on the ethical load the events create and the impact these have on the individuals connected to the events.
An example of how a shift in event sequence shifts ethical load is the simple process of purchasing something at a local store verses online. In the traditional process a customer goes to the store, visually inspects the product, they may even test the product before purchase. The customer then takes the product to the cashier and in exchange for payment the customer is allowed to walk out of the store with the item.
Because the sequence of payment and receipt of the product is simultaneous, the risk to the customer is limited. As a result the ethical load in the event, and on those connected to the event is also limited.
But shift this sequence and/or delay an event in the sequence, and the ethical load shifts.
When a customer purchases product over the internet, there is a delay between the payment and the receipt of the product. This shift in the sequence shifts the risk and thus the ethical load. The product may never be shipped. The product may not be what was advertised. The product may not work as the customer thought it would.
So in order to address the increased risk, additional safe guards are built into an online ordering system to deal with the shift in ethical load caused by the shift of event sequence.
Using this as a guide, lets apply this to the ethics of building an Arbonne business.
Ethics of the Arbonne Traditional Business Building Sequence:
In the Arbonne traditional business building systems of Group Presentations and One-on-Ones, as a new Consultant does presentations the Sponsor receives a commission of these sales. The Sponsor is only compensated when the new Consultant is successful.
The sequence of events in this process is so important to the "Culture of Arbonne" that during Arbonne Opportunity Presentations, in EOA stories, in Blogs and in published trainings, Consultants often use the following quote:
"We become successful when we make you successful."
This statement is directly connected to the ethical sequencing of events in the Group Presentation and One-on-One systems. Only as the new Consultant has success selling product is her Sponsor compensated. Thus the sequence of events in Arbonne's traditional business building system not only makes this an accurate statement, but substatiates the truth of the ethic.
Arbonne Results Approach Sequence Shift, Althers Ethic:
In the Arbonne Results Approach a new Consultant purchases Result Kits. These Kits are then dropped off to potential clients and business builders so they can use the product. At first glance this simple change in the process would appear to be insignificant. But a closer look reveals it drastically shifts the ethical load.
Arbonne's Traditional Business Building System
Group Presentations & One-on-Ones
Sponsor signs up new Consultant
|New Consultant books Presentations||New Consultant holds Presentations||Sponsor & New Consultant become successful & both earn income.|
|This chart shows the traditional business building process where the Sponsor signs up the new Consultant, helps him/her book and hold the presentations. Only after the Sponsor helps the new Consultant through steps one, two and three and the new Consultant becomes successful, is Sponsor compensated.|
Arbonne's Results Business Building System
|Sponsor signs up new Consultant. New Consultant purchases Result Kits. Sponsor gets paid on income from Result Kits.||New Consultant books Presentations||New Consultant holds Presentations||New Consultant becomes successful & earns income from sales.|
This chart shows how the purchase of Result Kits at sign-up allows the Sponsor to be compensated before the new Consultant is successful. This shift in sequence causes a delay between sign-up (red arrow) and the success of the new Consultant (green arrow). This shift and subsequent delay shifts the ethical load. What fills this void in this delay?
Results Approach Training:
The following is taken from a Results Approach training:
- Sign Up: Consultant Registration Fee
- Place Order: Personal Product & Business Tools (2, 4, 6 or 8 kits)
- Set Up Auto Ship: Minimum for Active Status
Notice that Step #2 has both "Personal" & "Business Tools" in the order. That is because in order for a new Consultant to start her business using the Results Approach, she must purchase Result Kits. Since Result Kits are comprised of RE9 sets the Result Kits have retail volume attached to them. So at the moment these Result Kits are purchased by the new Consultant, the Sponsor is paid on this volume just as if they had been sold to a client.
An even greater issue is the Sponsor gets paid on the volume from these Result Kits even if the new Consultant can never move the kits or create volume sales them. So this "simple" shift in sequence" changes everything.
This shift is similar to what happens in the shopping example above. When the time span between payment and the delivery of the product shifts creating a delay, this also shifts the risk and the ethical load. As a result additional procedures are implemented to provide legal safe guards and realign the risk and thus the ethical load.
Ethical Shift Impacts "Ends" Verses "Means to an End":
In Arbonne's traditional system, because the Sponsor is only compensated as the new Consultant becomes successful, this forces the Sponsor to treat the new Consultant as an "ends in themselves".
But in the Results Approach, because the compensation comes before the new Consultant is successful, this shift in sequence allows the Sponsor to treat the new Consultant as a "means to an end".
As Immanuel Kant wrote:
"Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end and never merely as a means to an end." (Kant, Immanuel; translated by James W. Ellington  (1993). Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals 3rd ed.. Hackett. pp. 30. ISBN 0-87220-166-x.)
Safe Guards to Close the Ethical Void in the Results Approach:
In the store example above, when there is a change or a delay in the sequences and it increases the risk in the system, additional safe guards must be implemented to keep the process ethical. The same is true with the shift in sequences in the Results Approach. The delay in the sequence opens a void in the Results Approach that can shift events from ethical to unethical. As a result, safe guards must be implemented to close this void in order to keep the Results Approach ethical.
What safe guards would close this void?
- 45 Day Money Back Guarantee
- Buy back Result Kits (this is recommended by the DSA)
- Result Kits Testers that are business building aids (this removes the retail volume from the Kits)
Let’s examine each of these.
45 Day Money Back Guarantee:
Some Sponsors actually attempt to use the 45 Day Money Back Guarantee to reduce the risk to the new Consultant. They tell new Consultants that if they cannot move the product within 45 days they can return it to Arbonne. The 45 Day Money Back Guarantee was intended to eliminate the risk to the consumer who was ordering online and receiving their product days later. If the product caused a reaction, this policy allows the customer a full refund. It was never intended to be used by Consultants to reduce their risk of building the business. To use the 45 Day Money Back Guarantee in this way is unethical. Thus this is not a viable solution.
Buy back Result Kits (this is recommended by the DSA):
Another way to resolve this risk is for the Sponsor to offer to buy back the Result Kits if the new Consultant cannot sell them or generate sells with them. But this creates such a huge upfront financial exposure to the Sponsor that it makes building the business via the Results Approach too risky. As a result, those Consultants who use the Results Approach withhold this option which is very interesting. If the Results Approach is as good a business building system as the proponents claim it is, then they should not hesitate to offer this. The reason they don't is because it would be too difficult to sign up new Consultants if they are exposed for the total dollar amount of the Result Kits.
An interesting fact about the buy back is, the DSA recommends this procedure to prevent pyramid scheme and protect prospects from this risk. Why? Because the buy back process places the Sponsor at risk rather than the new Consultant. As a result the Sponsor will be less inclined to push the new Consultant into purchasing product that according to the averages cannot be moved. See my posts on this topic at:
- The Ethical Dilemma Caused by the Arbonne Results Approach
- Options to Make the Arbonne Results Approach Ethically Viable
- Ethical & Unethical Use of the Arbonne Results Approach
Result Kits Testers that are business building aids (this removes the retail volume from the Kits):
The final option is the only ethically viable one. To offer Result Kits that have no retail volume attached to them. This way when a new Consultant is signed up and places their personal and business tool order, the Sponsor would not be compensated at that moment in time. The Sponsor would only be compensated when the kits are sold to clients or clients order their own product.
This would eliminate the temptation for Sponsors to have their new Consultants front load. With no retail volume attached to the Result Approach Testers, there is no compensation, and thus no incentive to push Result Kits.
In addition to the above, the elimination of compensation also takes away the incentive to treat New Consultants as a means to an end (retail volume) rather than as an ends in themselves (a potential business builder the Sponsor will be paid on as the Sponsor trains the new Consultant to be successful).
Unlike the DSA's buy back procedure, the "Testers", rather than being a safety fall back procedure, totally elimnates the possibility of up front loading. Here, for the first time those who use the Results Approach could say, "we become successful, when we make you successful" and this would be a true and accurate statement 100% of the time. Only here can the Results Approach treat all as an Ends rather than a Means to an End. In this the Results Approach is finally ethically pure.
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