I’ve talked about Ryze in the past as a place I’ve enjoyed going to. In the beginning, there was a vibrancy to it, and people were joining in numbers of hundreds a day. I remember reading about it in a Lockergnome newsletter I was receiving at the time.

Ryze was great. There were all these different networks around where people could talk to each other on all sorts of topics. Everyone got a home page where they could talk about their business, and there was this box where people could leave greeting messages to each other. You could even send private messages to each other. You could even start your own network, though you had to be a paying member for that, but it only cost $10 a month, and you could have more than one network; life was pretty good. I belonged to at least 12 to 15 networks myself, and went almost religiously a few times a day.

Then, at some point, something happened. It wasn’t fresh anymore, and management seemed not to notice, or want to do anything about it. There were many suggestions made to management via a network only for network leaders, and it seemed we were being ignored. Someone started another network for network leaders only, and its purpose was to complain about what management was saying and not doing.

Suddenly, networks stopped working, as some owners gave up their paid memberships, and Ryze never had a plan for how to pass a network along to someone else once the leader left. Many long time participants who had tons of “friends” on the site left. Ryze’s answer to this was to set up different paid levels of service, take away some options that had been given to everyone at a period in time, and still not address the problems that people were talking about.

Finally, Ryze started getting more and more competition, and its audience was younger or more focused. LinkedIn, Ecademy, and some others started up, geared towards business owners who had nothing to do with MLM, a negative buzz phrase that probably gets more terrible reactions than it deserves, mainly due to a few people who are over the top, including the ones on Ryze who constantly badgered you with offers to join them in making money when you already had your own business. You had MySpace, then Facebook, and now Ning, different platforms that offer different things that Ryze can’t offer.

Ryze is still in the picture, but it’s fading fast. Just this past week four long time network owners announced that they were closing shop and moving on. Basically, they’re not going to pay for it anymore, and at some point the network will remain, but it’ll be dead. That’s a tragedy and a shame, and these days I’m down to 3 networks that I still belong to, but which I rarely visit. If I get to Ryze once a week it’s a miracle.

Here’s the thing. Just like the premise in the book Squawk, which I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, management has to be ready to change with the times. Old answers that were perfect in the beginning don’t always get it done in the present, and may not work in the future. If you as a leader is more interested in looking good or being right rather than getting things working and moving in the right direction, you’re going to end up with failure. Not that you’ll never recover, but odds are that by the time you’re ready to finally address things the end is pretty much upon you.

The only tried and true thing that I know of that continually works in this world are the abilities to listen and the abilities to adapt and change. If you can’t do that, then you and your business might be the next entities hoping for help with a government bailout.