"I will follow thee to the last gasp with truth and loyalty."
--- William Shakespeare
When John D. Rockefeller began his oil business, he was surrounded by men who were loyal, not to the paycheck or the security of the job, but to Rockefeller himself. They believed in the cause and would work day and night for the man. They believed in the company and what was to come in the future and gave their all to make the company a success.
In return, these bold, hardworking men became very rich. Their loyalty paid off in large paychecks and stock options that are still taking care of their great-grandchildren to this day.
"I'll take fifty percent efficiency to get one hundred percent loyalty."
--- Samuel Goldwyn
We don't see the same loyalty that was exhibited in the early industrial days. Partly because so much opportunity is out there that the temptation to jump ship is great. It is estimated that the average worker will change jobs an average of nine times in their lifetime and change careers an average of four times!
Another reason that loyalty to one company is not as it use to be is because of how company owners treat their employees. Rockefeller was known to visit his employees at home and if there was a sick child of one of his employees, he would see that the child was given proper medical care. He took responsibility for their lives and they returned the favor in kind.
"Loyalty to petrified opinions never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world-and never will."
--- Mark Twain
Blind loyalty can be dangerous, both for the employee and employer. Communication is the key to keeping everyone loyal to the success plan. If the entire team knows the direction that is being taken, then there is more of a chance for loyalty to settle amongst the troops. It is the guessing or being left in the dark that causes people to dream up their own resolutions regarding the company.
The wondering increases the risk of disloyal employees. To keep this from happening, offer regular updates for all those involved with the company. Depending on your size, you could send out a simple email notice letting everyone know the status of the company or a monthly newsletter to their homes. Anything to keep the communication flowing and to increase company loyalty.
"The game is my wife. It demands loyalty and responsibility, and it gives me back fulfillment and peace."
--- Michael Jordan
Rewarding the loyal following is one sure way to keep them that way. Finding even the smallest successes to reward will give you back huge amounts of dedicated service. Seek out those who have suffered with you through the start-up phase and have given extra hours for nothing to see the company grow. Give them something in return. Maybe a small portion of the company is not a bad idea. Just think of the amount of loyalty that will create.
"The General has dedicated himself so many times; he must feel like the cornerstone of a public building." (Said of President Eisenhower)
--- Adlai Stevenson
Finally, remind your team that the company is not a one-man show. Everyone contributes and everyone should feel ownership for the successes as well as the failures. Keep them, and you focused on the goals and the rewards that are to come and eventually the loyalty will follow.
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Sign in downtown Detroit:
"Caution: Automatic Door (push to operate)"
On a marquee of jewelry store in Charlotte, NC:
"We buy old boyfriends jewelry!"
Hand-made sign on roadside in Tennessee:
"Fire wood for sale to go."
Have you seen any funny signs lately? Why not share them with the world? Send your comments, suggestions, and hysterical observations to: firstname.lastname@example.org.