One of the things you can expect while being a consultant with UBAM, is receiving a weekly newsletter on Tuesdays. The first section is written by CEO, Randall White. This is where he gives his “pep talks” about the company.
In January, Randall and his Advanced Leaders had their annual leadership retreat in Atlanta. Most, if not all leaders were posting back on their respective team pages on social media about how inspirational and motivating the weekend was. They got free books, a sneak peek at the mid-season releases, sat around and sang Kumbaya (ok, maybe not), but some authors did show up and put on a performance for their respective books. The other popular thing that was done at this advanced leadership retreat was figuring out what color you are outlined in the book: Life In Colors, which can determine your personality in 217 pages.
Randall is a rather outspoken guy, and this retreat was no different. One of the things he spoke about was their upcoming partnership with Chick-Fil- A. Usborne’s Shine A Light book series would be featured in their kids meals sometime this fall. This news spread faster than sitting in the drive-thru waiting to order your #1 with a sweet tea and a kids 4 pack nugget with a lemonade. Leaders were encouraging their teams to get in touch with their local Chick-Fil-A to ask about availability to sell, recruit and perhaps do a story time.
Sell, recruit, and story time?! OHH MY.
Can you guess what happened next?
I’ll tell you.
As information was released on a Saturday and Chick-Fil-A locations are closed on Sundays, consultants bombarded their local establishments Monday morning and started soliciting managers to sell books. To the dismay of many, managers did not know such a deal with Chick-Fil-A and UBAM even existed, and calls from franchise owners to cooperate headquarters in Atlanta were placed asking, “What are these people doing here and why are they trying to sell books?”
This was a train wreck you could not look away from. Many were asking, “How is this going to help ME?” “What will this do for MY business?” After all, how in the world was anyone who got a Shine A Light Book in a kids meal going to be able to get in touch with their local consultant?!
I’ll give you three guesses and the first two are wrong.
They weren’t. And anyone with half a brain should have known this deal was never meant to help that struggling consultant make any money. A week or so later the UBAM Newsletter came out with the following announcement:
I’ll say this often, but many consultants miss the memo, or simply do not care what their CEO says, or what the CEO of a multi-billion dollar business says either. Despite being told to stop going to Chick-Fil-A restaurants to promote their business, it happened anyway:
Here’s what makes Chick-Fil-A brilliant and UBAM such a disaster. Dan Cathy knows how to run a business. Anyone who works in his restaurants goes through hours and hours of training. This is why there is consistency at every Chick-Fil-A you visit, be is a standalone restaurant or at the mall. You will always be greeted with “How may I serve you?” And when one says “Thank you,” it is always replied with, “My pleasure.” The customer service is impeccable, and families visit because the food is good, the restaurants are clean, and the staff has good ole southern hospitality. At UBAM, as long as leaders “positively promote Usborne Books & More and Usborne Books & More products, provide regular leadership, training, motivation and guidance to your group, leader override payments will be paid.” The training? Leaders tell you to check the back office or the files section. Formal training, especially the art of selling a product, does not happen on a regular basis and is out of date.
I can’t say if the CEO of UBAM is aware his consultants and leaders are conducting their business as they please and disrespecting his request and that of those from Chick-Fil-A. I also have to wonder why there has been a 14 year lull in doing business with Usborne. Here’s what I do know. Come fall and if this deal is in place and I happen to be solicited by a UBAM consultant, I will say, “Thanks, but no thanks” while eating my #1 with a sweet tea.
That’s my take. Tell me yours.
2 thoughts on “Lord I Was Born A Ramblin Man”
I personally do not support Chick-Fil-A as their values conflict with mine, and so I was pretty annoyed when I read this in the Newsletter while still a consultant. For a business that says it’s secular, I didn’t understand why they were partnering with a well known Christian business. Maybe it’s the only one that would take their shitty books. Who knows. What I do know is that what you’ve said is true. I witnessed firsthand the post about the woman going to Chick-Fil-A for a “story time” session and just thinking “weren’t we told not to do that?”
Seems everyone is all about “guidelines and rules” until they’re, you know, NOT.
Ironically, I came across this post while researching the Shine-a-Light promotion with Chick-Fil-A. Consultants have been asking about the promotion without any answers from anyone at the book company’s headquarters.
I am betting the contract between the book company and Chick-Fil-A is null and void. I cannot find any press releases about it. Considering an email had to go out from Randall White’s son to tell consultants to stop soliciting business from Chick-Fil-A chains, I am guessing the book company violated part of their contract with Chick-Fil-A. It will be interesting to see if Shine-a-Light books are made available from the company for Chick-Fil-A to offer in their kids meal selections in September.
Considering the many shipping complications from its warehouse to consultants and/or clients, I can’t see the company being able to keep up with printing millions of copies of these mini-books to distribute to all of those chains. It doesn’t seem possible when the company has dropped the ball on so many deadlines communicated to its consultants. The book company has yet to stick to a single date given to fix any single problem within its organization. I can’t imagine the company being able to stick to a signed contract with another organization.
I’m interested to see how the drama unfolds…
Side note: I noticed you haven’t posted anything new recently. I’d love to see your opinions about other aspects of this business…