"Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence."
--- Colin Powell
Most of us know the recipe for success and strive to attain all the ingredients in order to create the perfect dish. One of the most often overlooked ingredients is loyalty. It is that word we hear in old war movies, in romance novels of yesteryear, and in saved Hallmark cards. It is not a common ingredient used today, which is sad because it is one of the binders needed to take a company to greater heights.
Loyalty isn't just from your team members to you and the mission of the business. It is also your commitment to vendors, suppliers, employees, peers, associations, and of course, customers. The feeling all of these people should have from you, is that feeling of coming home to the tail-wagging dog waiting at the door ready to show love, affection, and obedience.
"I have a loyalty that runs in my bloodstream, when I lock into someone or something, you can't get me away from it because I commit that thoroughly. That's in friendship, that's a deal, that's a commitment. Don't give me paper - I can get the same lawyer who drew it up to break it. But if you shake my hand, that's for life."
--- Jerry Lewis
Showing loyalty to those around you will typically produce the same response in return. It is true that some folks just don't get it, so the same loyalty won't be shown, but you are loyal anyway. The point is that the more loyalty that you give, the more your team members and those around you will return.
It would help if we define loyalty first: It is the total commitment to someone or some idea without backing down because you believe in it. It is an employee staying late to finish a project because that employee is loyal to the company's raison d'être, or reason for existence. It is the employer helping the employee to succeed because we are all in it for the same cause. That could mean allowing the employee to take time off for a family matter even if you don't offer sick time or PTOs, because you are loyal to that employee.
"Employee loyalty begins with employer loyalty. Your employees should know that if they do the job they were hired to do with a reasonable amount of competence and efficiency, you will support them."
--- Harvey Mackay
One sign of loyalty you can give to your team members is to simply keep your word. If a weekend retreat or family picnic was promised and now you can't see yourself spending the money on it, you've just broken a loyalty bond. Warren Buffett once said that 20 years of a good reputation can be ruined in five minutes by not keeping your word.
"When people show loyalty to you, you take care of those who are with you. It's how it goes with everything. If you have a small circle of friends, and one of those friends doesn't stay loyal to you, they don't stay your friend for very long."
--- John Cena
The flip-side is also true. Once burned by an associate or team member, it is hard to believe anything that they say again. Take every opportunity to express the importance of loyalty to those around you. Show a clip of the Jimmy Hoffa movie or an old WWII film to get the point across. (Mafia films work too, but just be careful you don't send the wrong message!)
"Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it."
--- Mark Twain
We can all choose what we are loyal to. We can be a loyal fan to a football team, loyal to family, and loyal to a belief system. We can also choose to be loyal to those in our work circles. You don't have to cut your fingertip and share blood, but it should be taken as serious.
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In an East African newspaper:
"A new swimming pool is rapidly taking shape since the contractors have thrown in the bulk of their workers."
As seen on a billboard ad for a safe company:
"If your stuff is stolen, it's not our vault"
Advertisement found near college in Indiana:
"Get a Little John -- The Traveling Urinal: Holds 2-1/2 Bottles of Beer."
We need those funny signs you've seen in your travels, come on, we know they're out there.
Send them to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.