Creating Company Loyalty

If this was truly a post about creating more loyalty for your organization it would be done now. That’s because people will never be loyal to a company or an organization. People are loyal to people. They are not loyal to things. Companies and organizations are things.

Some people become “loyal” to a product because it has benefited them in someway. Other people may be “loyal” to a product or service because some famous person they like recommended it. Some of those people feel a sort of kinship with that famous person if they drink the same beer or eat the same food. Seems silly to me but companies don’t use celebrities in their ads for the heck of it. 

But Authentic Loyalty requires some emotional attachment and that requires human interaction. The actual definition of loyal is “faithful allegiance.” 

Loyalty rarely happens by accident. Loyalty is the result of intentional actions. Earning someone’s loyalty means you’ve taken specific actions to show them you are worthy of another person’s faith…hence the “faithful” reference, 

Earning loyalty begins by always doing what you’ve said you would do. When you’ve said you would do it. The foundation of loyalty is built upon trust and reliability. If you skip those, your foundation will collapse at the first sign of trouble. 

You must honor every commitment you make to the people you lead. Anything said in confidence must remain confidential. If you tell even one other person, it is no longer “in confidence” and you have broken a trust. Loyalty floats away on the river of broken trust. 

Judging people is a part of leading. Leaders need to weigh their people’s strengths and weaknesses to make certain they are placing people in roles where they can excel. Leaders with a loyal following make judgments about their people without being judgmental. 

Judging someone is a rational process based on the individual’s performance, both past and present. Being judgmental is rushing to judgment without reason. If you’ve ever said “all” anything or “all” any group then you’ve been judgmental. Because “all” people with tattoos are not the same. “All” republicans and all democrats are not the same. All white people and all black people are not the same. If you want to build loyalty then stop being judgmental and start seeing people for who and what they are. 

Since people can only be loyal to people you need to be the real you at all times. You need to walk your talk. You need to admit when you’re wrong. You need to be okay with admitting you don’t know it all. You must give credit where credit is due. You must hold yourself to the same high standards, or higher standards, that you hold everyone else to. 

Finally you must understand that you can’t do the heavy lifting of building loyalty while you’re holding a grudge. Let past slights and offensives go. To build the loyalty of your team you will need to accept every apology, even the ones you weren’t actually given. Petty grudges and past grievances, real or imagined, put walls up between you and the people you would lead. Walls that loyalty simply can not penetrate. 

Building loyalty amongst the people you lead is not easy. Authentic Leaders work at it because they know absent loyalty they run the risk of disengaged people who do only what’s required of them and never more. Disengaged people have always been around, looking for someone they could be loyal to. The only difference is, these days we call those folks “quiet quitters.” 

If you’re in a leadership position and you have quiet quitters in your organization then maybe it’s a loyalty issue. If it is then that’s on you, not on them. 

So lead. Lead Authentically. Authentic Leadership doesn’t fix everything but it sure does seem like it does. So lead, LeadToday.

A Daily Dose of Learning

I’m mildly impressed with people who have lots of formal education. It depends a bit on why they continued with their education. I went to college with a guy who was still in school 10 years after we graduated. He kept getting one degree after another because as long as he was in school he didn’t have to start repaying his student loans. 

The problem with that strategy was obvious to everyone but him. I bet I don’t even have to tell you. But here’s a hint…all that extra schooling wasn’t free. 

So I’m not as impressed with all his degrees as I would be with someone who was trying to educate themselves for the benefit of others. But generally speaking, I’m impressed with anyone who never stops learning, no matter where their education comes from. 

Cause the reality is the odds of them being highly successful is much greater than the people who decide they know enough. 

I graduated from college with an engineering degree. My first job out of college was with a company designing high tech currency validation equipment. I wasn’t all that good at design but I could fix anything that broke. Better and faster than almost anyone. I almost instinctively knew that if this was happening with a piece of equipment then this component was causing it. 

But I was not a repair technician, I was a design engineer. One who didn’t much care about designing. I just wasn’t curious enough about how stuff worked to design new technologies. I could “reengineer” design faults and make improvements to other people’s designs but I had little interest in designing something from scratch. So, through no fault of my own I found myself selling the stuff other people designed. 

It turned out I was very curious about the purchase decisions people made and the way they made them. That curiosity about people and their buying habits led me right to where I am today. While I had learned enough about electronics to last me a lifetime, I discovered will never know enough about people to stop learning. 

People are often given career advice that says they should follow their passion. That sounds much better than it works. Many people who try to turn their passion into a career may make themselves a career but way too often they fail to make themselves a living. 

Better career advice might be find something someone needs and figure out a way to deliver it to them. If you can do that you’ll have plenty of time to pursue your passion and you’ll have the money to do it with too. 

Some people are indeed lucky enough to be able to blend their passion into their careers. I believe I’m one of those. I help people in the areas of sales and leadership. Both heavily involve people and I’m passionate about knowing everything I can about how people act and what drives them to do the things they do. 

I do everything I possibly can to learn something new about people every single day. Many days I’m surprised by what I learn and some days I’m even shocked. But it is that learning that allows me to stay relevant. It is that learning that allows me to help other people. It is that learning that keeps me interested in learning even more. 

Whatever your career path, you will do it better if you provide yourself with a daily dose of learning. You may even find a career that is more suited to you. You will likely have better relationships, at work and at home. The drive to learn will help you meet new people. It will help you understand people so you’ll have far less need to judge them. 

A daily dose of learning is your stepping stone to success. But it’s something no one can do for you. You can sit in a training class but the presenter cannot make you learn. You need to have the desire to learn. 

If you have that desire no one can stop you. If you lack that desire, no one can help you. Give yourself that daily dose of learning for this one simple reason…you deserve it! 

Everyone can use a “nudge” towards success. I’m trying something on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.