Personal Loyalty

The Critical Mass of Loyalty

Some form of loyalty factors into every level of our lives:

  • our business or career success
  • our leadership
  • our personal relationships
  • our spiritual growth

IMG_20130911_154341Often loyalty is the missing factor that helps lead us to success in many endeavors.  Without loyalty, we cannot gather and lead effective teams and success eludes us.  Without loyalty,  we cannot lead or be lead by anyone because loyalty is what creates the dependent bonds that allow us to follow or care enough to lead.  Without loyalty all personal relationships fail because they drop to the level of simple transactional relationships instead of the caring and devoted connections that become permanent.  Without loyalty, we cannot devote ourselves to enlightenment and growth because we will never to open to having our heart touched or our soul fulfilled.

So critical is loyalty as a factor that the author of Think and Grow Rich and many other self-improvement tomes Napoleon Hill once said,

“Lack of loyalty is one of the major causes of failure in every walk of life.”

Loyalty Out Leads to Loyalty In

loyalty_memeThe best way to garner loyalty is to give loyalty freely.  By freely I mean that you build relationships and award loyalty without reservation once trust has entered in.  What you don’t want to do is wantonly through your loyalty around to whomever is the flavor of the week.

What are some qualities that demonstrate loyalty.  Use the word LOYALTY to remember to practice these qualities in your life.

Love others before they deserve it or earn it.  Care enough to want to add value to them.

Open your mind to the positive attributes of others.  Too often, we look for reasons to not enter a relationship instead of the reasons to enter.  If you are looking for a reason to be unhappy or dissatisfied, you will always find it.  EVERYONE has positive qualities, the question is how do you bring them out.

Yield to the needs of the other over your own.  It’s hard to be loyal to others when you are too busy putting yourself first.  A loyal person always puts others first.

Accept others as they are, warts and all.  Realize that YOU can’t change them.  Be prepared to take them as they are or not at all; and in most cases not at all is a choice that causes you miss out on anything positive that could come from the relationship.

Live to serve others.  Seek to add value in every encounter, with no expectation of receiving value in return.  Relationships, whether business or otherwise, are not always transactional; it’s not always a trade.  Be prepared to accept value when it is offered to you, but don’t expect it.

Trust others.  This is critical.  You cannot give loyalty unless you trust and you cannot receive loyalty unless you are trusted.  In an interesting twist, people who don’t trust are generally not trusted.  Think about it, how many people do you trust who quite clearly do not trust anyone else?

Yearn to spend time with others.  In a busy world, we too often have a tendency especially with business relationships to want to go in, conduct our business, and go out.  Big mistake.  Take the time to build.  Get personal.  Ask questions beyond the sale.  Build friendships, not just business partners.

When you apply these principals, you will develop loyalty to others and earn loyalty from them.  You will build mutually beneficial, symbiotic relationships that touch the heart.  They enlighten and enrich and are profitable; sometimes financially, sometimes spiritually, sometimes relationally.  They add and receive value.

That’s the key to a successful life.


Loyalty to Your Business

“I learned from Mr. Wrigley, early in my career, that loyalty wins and it builds friendships.
I saw it work for him in his business.”
Ernie Banks

Loyalty to Your Employees

In yesterday’s post, we talked about building employee loyalty.  We emphasized investing in them, building relationships with them, focusing on growth,  focusing on giving loyalty, focus on empowerment.  When we focus on what we give to the employee of today then most will give loyalty in return for however long they are with us.  Some won’t, no matter what we do.  That’s the risk we take.

Loyalty to Your Customers

loyaltyHow is it any different with our customers?  We HOPE to build customers for life.  The reality is that most will leave us at one point or another for a variety of reasons.  Some may abandon us for the lowest bidder.  Some because what we provide is no longer necessary for them; they have outgrown us or simply no longer need what we offer.  That said, building customer loyalty is still possible and could be boiled down to this simple statement:

Treat your customers like you treat your employees.

The same things we focused on to build employee loyalty make a difference to your customers as well.

  • Customers are interested in doing business with people they believe care for them, can help them, and can be trusted.  They more than a product from you, they want a relationship.  Treating your customers as your friends takes the relationship beyond the exchange of goods and services into something more meaningful, effective, and profitable.  If your thought is “well I wouldn’t want to be friends with my customers!” then you either need to change customers or (most likely) change YOU.
  • Customers want to be treated with respect and regard.  They, like employees, want to feel that they are important.  That their contribution counts.  That they make a difference in your life.
  • Customers want you to help them grow.  Whether you help them grow their business, grow their profits, or grow them; customers want what you provide them to add value beyond the product or service they purchased.  They are looking for you to look out for them and help move them closer to their goals.
  • Customer are looking to be empowered by you.  It makes anyone uncomfortable to feel totally dependent on someone else.  It makes them feel helpless.  If you teach them to develop enough knowledge and ability to make intelligent decisions and provide input, you make them feel in control and loyalty will develop as a result.  My family doctor has worked with me enough to where I can ask intelligent questions.  He welcomes my questions and input.  We make treatment decisions together.  He makes me feel in control of my healthcare.  That’s why he is still my family doctor for 15 years.

Your Actions

  1. How many of your customers would consider you to be their friend?  How would they define that?
  2. Think of your best customers.  What can you do TODAY to show appreciation?
  3. How can your empower your best customers to deepen your relationship?

A Summer of Fears

It’s a time of apprehensive moments for the entrepreneur.  Some many things happen during the summer that can cause the small businessman a lot of stress.  As people vacation, they may be buying less of what you have to offer; unless of course your business revolves around tourism.  You yourself may be contemplating time off.  Holidays like July 4th in the U.S. almost force you to take time off.  The stress from all of this for the entrepreneur is that so much of ourselves is wrapped up in our business that we hate to leave it for even one minute.  Taking a whole day off is almost unheard of.  And taking off a week?  Forget it!

On a side note, I have had to come to terms with the fact that I am an entrepreneur.  I didn’t see it that way for a while, I think mostly because I don’t sell products as much as I do services.  The more I looked at it, however, the more I realized that I am still very much so in the entrepreneurial spirit.  So, like others, I stress during this time of year.

Off to Camp

Summer Camp Sign PostAs I am preparing for the July 4th holiday, I am also preparing to leave this Saturday to take 19 Boy Scouts to Summer Camp at Camp Raven Knob in Mt. Airy, North Carolina.  Great camp!  So extremely well run that after visiting last year we immediately voted to go again this year.  As a leader within the troop, I must go to make sure there is appropriate adult supervision.  Who’s going to supervise me, I don’t know.  : )

This decision to go did not come easy.  I worry that I should be working, generating income, developing new programs; all kinds of things that keep my business going.  Lost productivity time.  The expense of making the trip, especially critical in the face of unforeseen expenses in other areas this year.  I toyed briefly with bowing out.

In the end, I decided to go.  I don’t know if my reasoning will help you in your decisions or not, but here’s what I came up with.  The value of what can come out of this camp for the boys and the influence I can have adding to that value in my opinion far outweigh potential losses.  These opportunities are rare, particularly with my own children growing older.  I also had my integrity to think of, both my integrity with others and with myself.  I had made a commitment that others were counting on.  It’s important, again both for myself and for what I teach the Scouts, to fulfill my commitment no matter the cost.  If you don’t have trust, you have nothing.  Even more so, I needed to trust myself.  As an entrepreneur I decided that I simply needed to trust in my ability to produce, trust in what I have to offer, and in my resolve to survive and even thrive no matter what.  It won’t be easy and it will mean a lot of hard work when I return, but I was planning to work hard and smart anyway.

So, breathe!  Take a few moments and re-charge!  Trust yourself and your abilities!  Enjoy the moment!

P.S.  I will confess that there is a Scoutmaster’s Hut there with wi-fi so I won’t be completely disconnected and I am going to take some time doing some necessary planning and working on my book; so the week won’t be a complete loss.

What about you?  What fears are you facing this summer?

Beware Your Workplace Zombies!

disengaged employees are becoming zombies in the workplace

Are you worried?  Even if you don’t believe in Zombies (and I don’t) you should be worried.  A Forbes Magazine article ( released this week summarizes a Gallup survey recently conducted that found that 70% of US workers are “disengaged” from their employment. In other words, they have become mindless zombies at work, going through the motions of their jobs.  Now the poll defines engagement as being actively involved with the company goals and vision, feeling passionate about what they do, and working to innovate and improve the company.  I would add working to improve the company bottom line as well.  So by contrast disengaged means that they are simply doing the minimum; showing up, doing what is required and nothing more, not applying any creative thought.  And the extreme is worse; they are UNHAPPY in their job and more than likely exhibiting that in a variety of ways, including a reduction in productivity.  They estimate that this is costing us collectively HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS through lost revenue and lost productivity.  The real concern is that the trend seems to be growing instead of shrinking.  And it is not relegated to simply large corporations.

Cure for Zombie Nation

The good news is that there is HOPE!  There is a CURE FOR ZOMBIFICATION!  And it begins with the LEADERSHIP of the organization; whether the executive level of a large corporation or the owner of a small business.  You can re-engage your employees and turn this around.  The secret lies in FIRE.  No, not firing them all and hiring someone else; you are simply getting rid of a known in favor of an unknown; not to mention the expense involved in recruiting and hiring a new employee.  It also doesn’t lie in lighting a fire under them.  Threats and intimidation has proven time and again to be highly ineffective in both the short and long-term in today’s workplace.  In fact, I don’t think it was ever truly an effective tool.  The real solution lies in LIGHTING A FIRE IN THEM!  The employee who finds their own motivation and passion will awake from their zombie slumber, re-engage, seek performance excellence, improve their productivity, and as a result positively impact YOUR BOTTOM LINE. In fact, the Gallup poll strongly suggests that the highly engaged employee leads to the kind of growth you desire for your organization.  But you cannot provide this motivation, it has to come from within the person.  All you can do is provide the environment in which an employee can find that motivation.  Employees find motivation and passion when the feel hope; hope for their future, hope for the future of the organization.  If you can provide that, you will begin curing the zombification process.

Administering the Cure

So how do we get there?  Here’s a some things to consider that have been proven over time in many situations to provide the right environment for employee engagement.


For too many managers and business owners, the extent of their communication with their staff consists of mumbled good mornings and “how are sales today?”  Employees respond to open communication; this is especially true if you employ GenX and GenY people.  You need to do more than just acknowledge their presence, you need to acknowledge their impact….to them directly and also indirectly by going public with it.  You need to communicate your vision to them.  How can they have hope in their future and the organization’s future if they don’t know where it is you want to go with it?

They also need to know that the door is open for two-way communication.  They need to have confidence in the knowledge that their opinion and input is valued.  They need to know they have room to make mistakes and to take responsibility for those mistakes and learn from them.

Mostly, they need to hear that they matter to you and the organization.  If your attitude is that employees are a dime a dozen, be prepared to set aside those dimes because it will be all you will be able to pay because it is all you will have left.


Confidence in open communication occurs when you have made a connection to your employees.  When you take the time to talk with them, learn about them and their situations and their hopes and dreams, then you are able to connect with them and build that confidence in a relationship.  Building that relationship does not necessarily mean going out for beers together, but it does mean recognizing that there is, beyond all the titles and roles, a person there who feels things just as personally as you do.  You are invested personally in what you do which is why YOU are productive; how is that any less for your employees?

Focus on Strengths

This was mentioned in the article but has been a mantra of mine for some time.  In job interviews and performance evaluations, the topic of strengths and weaknesses is brought up and then never addressed again.  In the evaluation, we identify what we think their weakness is and then tell them to work on it.  STOP!  If you make an employee focus on their weaknesses you are creating two negative situations; one is that you have placed focus on their deficiencies instead of on where they make a positive impact and the other is they will ignore bolstering their strengths to focus on improving their weaknesses.  Where are they the most productive for you, in their strengths or in their weaknesses?  And let’s say they do work on their weakness, by how much?  At best, they move from poor to mediocre.  Meanwhile, their strengths are not improving and their productivity is lower and they are unhappy because they are not in their sweet spot.  Find ways to increase their strengths and team them with others (inside or outside) to overcome their weaknesses.

Reward the Behaviors You Desire

Too often, we only focus on employees when something is wrong.  So we emphasize the wrong behaviors because that is the only time anyone pays attention.  It’s the same with your kids; if the only way a child gets attention is when they do something wrong (and they CRAVE attention) what do you think they are going to choose to do?  You can’t ignore bad behaviors, but you can minimize the attention spent on them and spend more time focusing on the positive impacts.  Spend time EVERY DAY catching them doing right.

Immediate Action

This is especially a challenge for small business owners but I have found it is often a challenge for corporate management as well.  The time to act is now.  Go to your calendar and open up some time to casually sit and talk with your employees one-on-one.  Not in your office, but in a breakroom or on a bench somewhere or take them to a coffee house.  Talk about where they feel they are most effective and ask them how you can help them be more effective.  Assure them that they have value.  Do it today, because the longer you wait the less likely you are to do it.  What you don’t want to do is look back and say, “I shoulda…”

Make YOUR day more productive by applying the zombie cure.