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?

Loyalty Is…..

Loyalty Generations

loyalty - Boy Scout

Technically, I am a Baby Boomer, although I am right near the end of that generation and in some ways identify with Generation X‘ers as well.  So call me a Boomer X.  I mention that because early on, Baby Boomers were taught what the previous generation shared with them in terms of work and loyalty.  You left school, went to work for a company and stayed with them your entire career (at their discretion).  Very rarely did you have any control over what role you filled, whether or how you advanced, how you grew, when you retired, etc.  You were expected to be loyal to the company at all costs.  Very rarely was that loyalty returned.  Some organizations rewarded loyalty by returning loyalty to their people, but most focused on punishing disloyalty and showing very little appreciation for those who were loyal.  One of the reasons I identify with Generation X as well as the Boomers is that Generation X started to reject that.  Generation Y and Millenials even more so.
This topic is also covered in the Ah-Ha! Moment of the Week!

Changing Loyalty Landscape

The landscape of what loyalty means in the business world has changed.  Most people don’t stay with an organization more than about five years before they move on.  You can attribute that to poor work ethic if you wish, or lack of loyalty; but the reality is simply that today’s worker refuses to buy into the one-way street of loyalty.   They expect loyalty to be a two-way street.  If they are loyal to the company they expect some loyalty in return.  Since as a manager or business owner you will almost inevitably have to hire at least some people from Gen Y, you must change your thinking to follow that theme.   Change your focus on what you expect out of loyalty.  You have to be willing to commit resources to help somebody become better at what they do with the knowledge that they most likely will be with you forever and may eventually take what they have learned from you and go somewhere new.  That’s the gamble of investing in people, but the alternative is a bigger gamble with consequences even more significant if you lose (and you will).  So think in terms of how you can maximize your investment over the short term and long term.    If you can get somebody up to speed, maximize what they can produce for you, and maximize their potential over the time period they are with you, then it’s a win-win.

Encouraging Loyalty

So here’s some tips to help you along.
  1. Focus on Relationships — Building relationships with your employees.  Understand their desires, understand their dreams so you can help them move towards that.  Remember the three questions you must answer for them are do you care for me, can you help me, and can I trust you.
  2. Focus on Growth — Invest in your employees with formal training, modeling, mentoring, and providing them with challenges to push them out of their comfort zone.  The more you can help them and move them closer to their potential, the better they are going to produce for you.
  3. Focus on Empowerment — Equip them and authorize them to take the steps they need to take to produce for you.
  4. Focus on Communication — Communicating with them at all times.  ALL TIMES!
  5. Focus on NOW — Forget about forever.  Work on building loyalty for the time they are with you, allowing them to give you the best return while you are giving the best to them.

Here’s the Bonus

goldWhen you invest in your employees and give them time, resources, training, caring, and influence –  show them loyalty – then many of them will be loyal in return.  Not all of them, maybe not even most of them.  But the ones who count.  Remember you are looking for the golden ones anyway; the ones who will yield greatest returns for you.  You are mining for gold.  As Dale Carnegie says,
“Developing your people is a lot like mining for gold.  You have to move a lot of dirt to get to the gold.  But you don’t go looking for the dirt, you go looking for the gold.”

Your Action

  • What will you do today to begin looking for the gold?
  • How can you best invest in your employees for the short and long term?
  • What are you willing to give up to reach that?

work and more work

Work and Motivation

“It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is miserable.” –Benjamin Franklin

It’s a sometimes popular thing to complain about how much work we have to do.  Or the type of work we have to do.  Or even the fact we have to do work

at all.  “Man, I got so much work to do, I don’t know when I’ll ever finish!”  “Wow, I’ll sure be glad when the work is done!”  We have the wrong attitude about work and it can be hazardous to our employment outlook and our mental health.

Made to Work

The truth is that we were designed for work.  Our bodies, our minds, everything about us is designed to toil and sometimes sweat.  Some work with their hands, some with their heads, some with both.  However we work, we were created for it.  Work benefits us as much as we provide benefit through the work we do.

And the type of work doesn’t matter.  Someone who labors at farming or construction or janitorial services provides obvious benefits to their people or organizations they serve.  So does someone who manages those functions, or even consults with leaders to help them get better results.  The key is to recognize that someone is benefiting from the work you do.  I am reminded of a TED Talk from Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs and an Eagle Scout) a few years ago.  In it, he talked about some of the dirtiest jobs he shadowed and participated in.  The common thread he saw was that the people doing that work were almost always happy.  They went about their job whistling and went home tired but content.  (view about 10 minutes in).

Work Benefits Us

Work provides benefits beyond the paycheck.  Beyond what we earn, work benefits us by

  • Providing a sense of purpose and self-worth
  • An avenue for creative expression of ourselves
  • Focus on others
  • Development of social skills and contacts
  • Development of new skills
  • Opportunity to direct our giftedness to the benefit of others


I realize that not all those benefits are provided to everyone in every job; but that’s more a factor of the job chosen than the job itself.  Or perhaps even more to the point, it’s a factor of choosing NOT to find the benefits rather than the benefits not existing.

But overall, the function of where we spend at least 40 hours of our 168 hours in a week (roughly 25%), should and potentially can provide benefits that extend past the printed slip of paper (or direct deposit) we receive regularly.

It helps make us what we are and shapes our identity.

Work Crisis


The challenge we face in a time of high unemployment is that for many it takes this potential fulfillment away.  We have young adults fresh out of college with all the ambition and even arrogance that comes with being a college graduate who quickly lose heart when they find that the perfect job is not sitting on the other side of dais waiting for them.  We have people 50 and over who lose jobs because of cutbacks who are deemed unemployable because of age discrimination.  All have something of value to give, yet do not have a place to share that.

The result is that frustration builds, malaise sets in, and even the most powerful speech by Tony Robbins or Zig Ziglar can make an impact.

Forget the Economy.  The only saving grace for it is that we have to get people back to making a contribution, whether they are 25, 55, or 75.  When we are making a contribution, our self-esteem rises, our confidence surges.  When we are confident, we are more likely to spend.  Consumer spending boosts the economy.  A rising economy benefits everyone.

Did we just solve our problem?

P.S.  If you are one of those jobless in the economy, don’t let yourself sink into the abyss of self-pity and discouragement.  Take at least some of your time each week as you search for employment volunteering in your community.  The social relationships developed and the opportunity to express yourself will keep your spirits up for campaign, while providing a sense of contribution to your community.  I know, it can seem like you are wasting time you should be spending looking for a job, but in the long run it will give your a better outlook and more positive attitude so you can make a better impact in that interview.  And it shows you are a person who gets things done and doesn’t just sit around idle.

Workin’ 9 to 5

It may be a way to make a living but it’s not a way to make a career.  Or a life for that matter.

Quote of the Day on Hard Work

Hard Work WinsI shared the following on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as my thought of the day:

“Hard work spotlights the character of people;
some turn up their sleeves,
some turn up their noses,
and some don’t turn up at all.”
-Sam Ewing

It’s important to note that it doesn’t speak to building character as much as revealing character.  It’s similar to how many say that a crisis builds character; but it doesn’t, it simply reveals it.  Hard work reveals character by the way in which we react to it.  When we have been trained that hard work is a part of life and a vital part of getting things done, we are apt to dive in and lend a hand when the time comes.  Even more to the point, if we jump in without first being asked, it speaks to our character even more.

Hard Work is Beneath Me

As the quote also points out, some refuse to be a part of it.  Hard work is beneath their station or status.  This is especially prevalent in the workplace.  The manager who deals out the work assignments, closes the door to their office, and focuses simply on the end result.  Now, I will point out that thinking is very hard work as well.  When you are looking ahead, anticipating problems, mulling solutions, brainstorming ways to move your company and your employees forward, searching for new, innovative ways to add value to those you work with; all of that requires, even demands, a managers attention.  It is a hard working manager or leader who spends time in the hard work on thinking.  The problem is that in most cases management generally doesn’t do much of that either.

Those who think that hard work is below their station or their position are not really in touch with the reality of their business.  It also misses that most of the most successful businessman and entrepreneurs spend their time in both mental and physical hard work.

  • Sam Walton was well-known for going into the trenches, visiting stores, working with and talking with employees on all levels; stock persons, truck drivers, greeters, and all.  He spent time paying attention to the details, thinking of  new ways to offer more and create a better experience for his customers.
  • Mark Cuban was a dot com sensation, but few know that in his first startup he worked long hours and didn’t take a vacation for seven years.
  • Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsico, worked overnight shifts as a receptionist while completing a degree at Yale.  She often puts in 13 hour days in the office, takes mail home to read (not recommended), and, by the way, raises two daughters.
  • William “Biff’ Comte, CEO of Accentcare, habitually “job shadows” employees and asks questions about their work to understand what he can do to best serve their needs and provide the best experience for employees and patients.  In addition to all those other CEO duties.

Hard work is essential to our success.  Sometimes that is get the hands dirty work and sometimes it is put the mind in high gear work.  In fact, the most successful spend more time in the mind in high gear part than the other.

It’s Hard Work Time, Where’s Fitz?

Then, of course, there are those who simply don’t even bother to show up when it’s time for hard work.  Having in the past worked for a few government organizations and enterprise-level companies, you will find quite a few there.  They seem to be everywhere but at their desk; not because they are engaged in work but because they are engaged in anything BUT their work.  Curiously enough, they are typically the most negative people you will work with.

Avoid them.  They will just suck the life right out of you!

The Hard Work of Thinking

So, as we discussed, our most productive hard work and the work that will be help us fulfill more of our potential is the time we spend in thought.  Here’s a few ways to be more effective at thinking:

  1. Block out time on your calendar for “Thinking Time”.  Guard it ruthlessly.
  2. Have an agenda for what you plan to think about.  Otherwise, you will just have random thoughts
  3. Always be positive.  Think positive.  Look for positive lessons and results from your experiences.
  4. Think in gradual time frames.  Think a week ahead, a month ahead, a year ahead, five years ahead.
  5. Focus on what you are doing right and should continue to do and what you need to change

Your hard work on thinking your way through things brings clarity, focus, and purpose.

Not Seth Godin.  At least I don't think it is.Seth Godin said that you should have something interesting to say about your business every day; if not, you better find out why.

So Here’s the Start of Every Day

In the interests of that, I am going to attempt to blog every day.  At least, every weekday.  I will do my best to keep it relevant, useful, and most importantly, short.  I am going to talk about what I learn, what I know, and mostly, what I think will be of interest to you in your every day living and working.  After all, the purpose of this blog is to help YOU achieve success in your career and your life.

What Should You Be Doing Every Day?

I think one benefit of this is establishing habit.  We have our greatest success by the good habits that we establish and maintain; daily growth, reading, Bible study, calling clients, and so on. So while I try to establish this daily habit of blogging, why not join me?  Of course, you don’t need to blog every day, but pick some positive habit you want to develop and resolve to do it every day.   You can share it here if you want and we can help keep you accountable.

Keep me posted on how you are doing. And hold me accountable here for keeping my habit.

By The Way

One quick note on what you read here.  I attempt to add value to you with what I write.  I choose my topics based on

  • what people tell me
  • what I think I would like to hear
  • what I read
  • what I need to hear myself.  I figure if I need to hear it, perhaps you do too!

If you want me to talk about a topic you haven’t seen or go into more detail about one, drop me a message.

See you tomorrow.