Loyalty is as Loyalty Does

loyalty is a valued characteristic, especially when it goes both ways.Do you miss those days of company loyalty? Do you know people who have stayed with the same company for 10, 20, 30 years or more? Do you wish you had people like that? Believe it or not, loyalty is not a lost attribute. It IS still possible and how we think about loyalty is going to make the difference.

Are Millennials Disloyal?

The short version of this is not necessarily.
I have expressed before my dislike for generalizations based on age periods. it is almost always negative and non-productive. However, there is evidence to support that people in the workplace born in the time period defined as Millennials do not stay in jobs as long as others.
A Gallup Report from 2016 finds that 21% of ages 22-37 in the workplace have changed jobs in the last year. That’s significantly more than any other age group. It goes on to suggest that they are the least likely to stay in their same job for long and the least engaged.
However, it also suggests that the willingness to leave is not driven by whimsy but rather by the perception that the current job has nothing more to offer them.

Rejecting the Loyalty Scheme

This movement towards job hopping is not really that new. It started as far back as the late 1960’s and has grown since then. It has been born out of what generations have observed in the workplace over the years.
The Baby Boomers (1945 to 1964) were taught loyalty from their parents and grandparents.  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.
However, 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.
Something seemed terribly wrong with that and as other generations have come along that have increasingly rejected that concept of loyalty. It’s not a lack of work ethic. It’s an expectation of rewards and returns.

Changing Loyalty Landscape

The trend is shorter stays at one company – sometimes 3-5 years at the most.
Why? Because part of the new thought on loyalty is they expect it to be a two-way street.  If they are loyal to the company they expect some loyalty in return.
Their willingness to change jobs quickly isn’t because they are fickle or lazy or disloyal. It’s because they perceive that the company has nothing more to offer them, including loyalty. If they don’t see opportunity and don’t see your commitment to them, they are more willing today than ever before to pick up and move on. They will keep changing until they find what they are looking for.
As a leader, we must change your thinking to follow that theme.   Be willing to commit resources to help somebody become better at what they do. Have direct conversations -where you mostly listen – about what each person desires and hopes for. Look for how you can help them find that within your organization. Invest in them.
Do all this with the knowledge that they most likely will NOT be with you forever. They may eventually take what they have learned from you and go somewhere new.  That’s the gamble of investing in people.  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

Finding loyalty is searching for the 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?

Do you need help navigating the employee engagement landscape? Want to get started? Schedule your FREE Discovery Strategy Session today.

It Comes Down to Integrity

four failures in integrityIf you take a quick look back in history for the last 20 years or so, integrity in business has seemed to take a huge hit.





If any of these names seem familiar to you then you can relate to what I am talking about.  All four were giant, multi-national companies that had equally giant implosions due to a lack of integrity inside of the business.

Wells Fargo and Integrity

More recently, Wells Fargo Bank had a major issue as well.

Wells Fargo had withstood the economic downfall in 2009 but then in 2013 a L.A. Times article reported on a management and sales culture that created incredible pressure on employees. It was then uncovered that to meet quotas employees were establishing credit cards for customers without their permission. They were also creating life insurance policies and fraudulent checking and savings accounts. Estimates are close to 3,500,00 fraudulent accounts!

Customers had accounts they didn’t know about that carried fees. Credit scores were damaged. In the end, Wells Fargo had to pay back almost all the fees and pay damages to customers. All in all, it was over $110 million. In addition, they were fined over $185 million. Consequently, many major clients divested themselves of WF holdings

Integrity That Drives Business

For contrast, look at Johnson and Johnson, the makers of Tylenol.  One of the items in their mission statement is that they will do all things with “honesty and integrity”. They have placed a huge focus on the well-being of their customers as being vital to their success.  Executive management is asked to agree to and commit to all of this in order to be part of the organization.

Putting It to the Test

Back in 1982, there was a big scare with Tylenol.  Several containers had been tainted with poison and several people lost their lives as a result.  Within hours of the discovery of this, the President of Tylenol ordered the immediate removal of all containers of Tylenol from store shelves across the country. This despite the fact that this would cost the company millions of dollars (over $100 million).  Someone later asked him how he could make such a decision so quickly in the face of the consequences involved, including the financial hit.  He responded that he was simply acting in accordance with the values they had agreed upon from the very beginning.
“It is not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” -Roy Disney

The result today

Tylenol is one of the most trusted brands and Johnson and Johnson is doing well.

Integrity Matters!

It is the foundation of creating long-term, sustainable success in your career or your business. If you don’t have integrity, it becomes clear to everyone sooner or later. It permeates everything you do, everything you say, and everything you say about what you do.

Build integrity to build success.

So here’s three things you can do to build or maintain your integrity:

  1. BE TRUSTWORTHY – It starts with honesty.  It continues with showing respect to everyone.  Give it before they earn it and until they unearn it. Be consistent in how you treat people, with caring, consideration, kindness, and politeness.
  2. BE RELIABLE – Don’t ever promise what you can’t deliver and always deliver what you promise, no matter the cost.  Let people know what and who they can count on.
  3. DO TOUGH, UNPLEASANT THINGS FIRST – The benefits for you is that it gets em over with, it makes the rest of the day better by comparison, it gives you confidence, helps people develop confidence in you, and identifies you as one who can get things done.

What are other qualities you can think of that demonstrate INTEGRITY? Share your thoughts here or contact me at psimkins(at)BoldlyLead.com.


The Message They Give When They Say It’s Not Personal

Michael Corleone Sets a Tone for Many a Businessman

It’s a well remembered piece from the movies. That scene in The Godfather when Michael Corleone comes up with the plan to kill the rival mob boss and the corrupt police chief in one fell swoop. His brother Sonny laughs it off and reminds him that it is business and he is taking it personally. Michael replies “It’s not personal Sonny. It’s strictly business!”

It’s Not Personal

Have you ever heard somebody tell you, “don’t take it personal, it’s just business!”  It seems to happen whenever does something that they know is going to upset someone else. It’s a popular way to justify treating others badly for our own personal gain. It helps to avoid the emotional aftermath of a highly charged exchange.

It’s hard to say if it occurred before The Godfather came out or not. Yet for a long time, there was an emphasis on separating your personal life from your business life. After all, business is business. When you are at work there is simply work. Personalities, lives, emotions, the things that make us human all have no place in the world of business. Right?

Don’t Buy the Lie

It is all personal. Image of New impersonal person in a minimalist corporate officeBut the truth is you spend 1/3 of your day involved in the work that you do. Think about that for a moment. A twenty-four hour day. Let’s say you sleep for 6-8 hours (lucky you!). There is from 1/4 to 1/3 of your day right there; leaving 16 hours. Therefore, if you work full-time then a minimum of 50% of your waking hours is spent at work.

So you are being asked to put aside everything that is happening in your life for that 8+ hours. The stress not only of your life but your career as well. And when someone does something that causes a well-up of emotion in you, you are being asked to squelch it because, after all, it’s only business.


Don’t believe it! You are emotionally invested in the work you do. If you’re not, you have a whole other problem. I recommend changing jobs. You cannot perform your best unless you are emotionally invested. As a result, the work you do cannot help but be personal.

But it’s not to be taken personally. And that’s the key.

The Fine Line

So if it is all personal but not to be taken personally, how do you do that? Admittedly, it’s not easy. Especially when we emotionally invested there is a tendency to think that anything that gets in our way was put there specifically to stop us.

There is where the development of emotional maturity comes in. When we are emotionally secure we learn to express emotion, to feel it, and yet not let it push out of control. We balance the rational and the emotionally charged.

How to Avoid Taking It Personally

Here are four steps that are going to help you along that way to developing emotional maturity.

Recognize your true value.

Be always aware of what it is you add to a situation to make it better. When you understand what your true value is then you are less likely to take things personally.

Understand that no one really targets you personally.

Most people are way too wrapped up in their own lives to spend much time thinking about you. So when you think that someone is out to get you, actually they are probably not. I’m sure you have probably had your kids come to you and tell you, oh this teacher hates me. And the teacher probably isn’t giving them a second thought when they get home.

Take the time to communicate and listen with your leaders.

Communicate to them what your desires are, what your concerns are. But also listen to the input they have for you because you are going to find that a lot of times the reality is a lot different than your perception.

When you talk, avoid hyperbole.

Avoid saying things like “you always do this” or “you never do that”. Also avoid the negative people that are going to affect your life.

If you take these steps, you are going to get closer to being able to emotionally invest in your life and not take things personally.

What are your coping methods? How do you separate being personal and not taking it personally? Leave your comments here or email me at psimkins(at)BoldlyLead.com.

2018 Has to Be Better, Right?

Depending on how your 2017 went, you may be happy or sad to see it go. But go it must and we enter 2018 with new hope. To maximize that hope, we look back at 2017. It’s not to be nostalgic but rather to learn the leadership lessons that events have to teach us.

With that in mind, let’s look at some critical moments of 2017 that we can learn from. This is by no means an exhaustive list. In addition, it is by no means THE most critical moments. They are, however, vital for what we can learn from them.

Leadership Lessons from 2017

Solar Eclipse

leadership lessons from the solar eclipse of 2017On September 21, a solar eclipse occurred and swept across the United States. People from all over the world flocked to “ideal” locations for viewing the full eclipse. Many spent hundreds and thousands of dollars for this opportunity as they may never see it again.

Where is the leadership lesson in this? Know that most people live in the moment. Hundreds of thousands of people took off work for this event. Those who traveled invested money, some probably more than they actually had, to go to location in the path of the full eclipse. They did this to experience a moment that lasted all of 7.5 minutes.

Therefore, while part of a leaders role is to give hope it’s not just to look at the future. It is also to help make the present better. If your people are living in the now, you have to determine how you can improve the current situation.  Help your people live in the now as well as hope for the future.

And if you missed it, the next U.S. solar eclipse is April 8, 2024.

Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinsteins scandal teaches us valuable leadership lessons.The New York Times in October published an article detailing allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein. He was a producer and his company was behind numerous movies, as well as television and radio programs. Many known actresses came forward and detailed the allegations of offense. All in all, over 30 years of alleged harassment.

Weinstein at first publicly acknowledged and apologized that he has caused a lot of pain. Yet he denied the harassment. His lawyer even threatened to sue the New York Times. And the allegations still to this day continue to mount up as more employees and actresses come forward.

There are indications that his exploits were known as far back as 1990 when he was with Miramax. Despite that, it appears that other than occasionally settling with someone who threatened to go public very little was done about it. What has happened since is that Weinstein has lost his company, his career, and any connection with the industry. He has a lifetime ban. His wife left him and his family has practically disowned him. Further, it’s still not over.

What is number two in our leadership lessons? Well, first I think the lesson for a leader is that when you mess up you gotta fess up. Would his early confession and apology have made things any easier? Who knows? However, it is likely that at least some relationships could have been saved. Helping people move towards healing faster.

For others involved, the lack of timely and appropriate intervention exacerbated the situation. Think of it, lack of response prompted 30 years of damaged lives. As leaders we cannot ever stick our head in the sand, no matter how awkward or unpleasant the circumstances. Courage is a necessary component of leadership.

The Oscars

The Oscars Best Picture mix up in 2017 revealed important leadership lessonsBack in February the highlight of the awards ceremony by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is the OSCAR for Best Picture. To present the award legendary actors Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty come onstage. The nominees are presented, the envelope is opened and the OSCAR goes to…La La Land! Producers, directors, and actors flock to the stage to accept the award. And then, on live television it’s discovered that in fact the Best Picture OSCAR actually goes to Moonlight, not La La Land! Confusion and embarrassment wrack the stage for several minutes.

It turns out that somehow the wrong envelope was given to the presenters. It was actually discovered and corrected onstage by Jordan Horowitz, the producer of La La Land. PriceWaterhouseCooper (PwC) oversees the whole process of envelope management and someone simply made the mistake of pulling the envelope from the wrong pile.

So number 3 in our leadership lessons is a positive one. PwC owned up to their mistake – in fact took total ownership of it – and took steps to make sure it did not happen again. They didn’t focus on spin or making the best of it, they simply confessed, apologized, and worked to fix it.

Travis Kalanick and UBER

I talked about this story back in June and a lot happened since then.

Ok. On the surface this seems to be the same leadership lessons as before. However, there is more to be seen and learned. Like being a celebrity, being a leader means you sacrifice certain things. You no longer have the luxury of angry tirades. Your behavior is seen and evaluated every day. Being dismissive is no longer an option. Consistency in your character and behavior are crucial to successful leadership. It creates safety.

United Airlines

Where to start with this! It was not a good year for United Airlines.

First, in April United Express flight #3411 out of Chicago was allegedly overbooked (United later denied this). I talked about that story here.

This was two weeks after an incident where United made two teenage girls go change clothes before they could board a flight. Apparently they were on employee family passes and as such were representing United Airlines. United considered leggings as inappropriate clothing. Those incidents were followed by the death of a giant prize rabbit and a family dog in the hands of United. A couple heading to their wedding in Costa Rica are removed from a United flight due to conflict over their seats.

It’s all about culture here in number five of our leadership lessons. When culture places a greater importance on the bottom line over employees and over customers, it’s a recipe for disaster every time. Focus on treating employees well, equip and empower them to do the right thing, and everyone wins. Don’t believe it? Look at Southwest Airlines. Do they always get it right? No, but apparently they do more often than others. That says something.


I also wrote about Google’s biggest faux paus last year. Of course, added to that is the revelation that despite the intent to create a safe workplace they apparently consistently pay female employees less than male counterparts.

As a result, number six of our leadership lessons stays the same as before. Leaders must consider how actions to manage behaviors and attitudes factors into first creating a safe workplace and second supporting or suppressing opposing viewpoints. In their attempts to create a safe workplace, Google ended up quieting someone who opposed some company policies and stances. The result was to create an unsafe workplace for those with opposing views.

Do you agree with the lessons here? Disagree? Are there lessons here I missed? What is your favorite leadership lessons of 2017.

Share your thoughts here or email me at psimkins(at)BoldlyLead.com.

Leaders Focus on People, Not Generations

Understanding generations help us communicate. Stereotyping them hinders our communication.There is no denying that there are generations in our history. Also no denying that we have undergone huge social upheavals, especially in the last 100 years, that define those generations.

And certainly there is some benefit to being able to identify cultural impacts on a certain age group. It helps to understand perspective and reference base.

Culture Impacts Generations and Understanding

For example, every year Beloit College puts out what they call The Mindset List. For each year of incoming freshmen, they detail things the students have and have not experienced in their lifetime. It helps staff and faculty better understand where they are coming from. Some examples from this year’s list, the class of 2021, are:

  • Students coming in this year were likely born in 1999.
  • They are the last of the Millennial Generation
  • They are the first generation for whom a “phone” has been primarily a video game, direction finder, electronic telegraph, and research library
  • Zappos has always meant shoes on the Internet
  • Bill Clinton has always been Hillary Clinton’s aging husband
  • Justin Timberlake has always been a solo act

Things like that can be useful information. Things they have known to exist and what has ceased to exist. Knowing a little bit about perspective can be helpful and identifying generational data serves that purpose.

Dangerous Assumptions Based on Generations

Where we run into trouble is when we attach stereotypes to a generation. Trying to predict behaviors based on a generation leads to assumptions. And as a leader, making and acting upon assumptions can lead to dangerous consequences.

baby boomersI am a Baby Boomer, which in some eyes makes me old. In my defense, I am on the tail end of it.

By generational stereotyping I should be……..well, that’s the problem. In my research it was difficult to find any kind of consensus on what characteristics define a Boomer. By some accounts I am a workaholic, not very tech savvy, out to get mine, and very rules driven. By other accounts, I am simply looking forward to retirement, stay in one job for an extended period of time, and am independent and even revolutionary.

in truth, I am anything but a workaholic (actually I could probably use at least a little of that attitude). I consider myself very tech savvy (background as a technical trainer), but also very relationship-driven. Most would tell you I am not exactly known as a rules follower. Personally, I said no to retirement long ago. I have changed jobs often. I enjoy mentoring, adding value, and sharing fame and fortune. I’ll stop before it sounds too much like a dating profile.

But if you rely on the stereotypes, your treatment and expectations for me would certainly create conflict. I would most likely not behave or produce the way you envisioned. Which doesn’t mean I wouldn’t produce, just not necessarily the way you expected.

Millennials have the same issue.

Who Are Millennials?

Millennials in the workplaceTrue to form, there is some variation in the time period for the Millennial Generation. Some say from 1982 to 2000; others say from 1980 to 1996. Bruce Tulgan, who authored the book Not Everyone Gets a Trophy, actually defines it in two waves – from 1978 to 1989 and then from 1990 to 2000.

As a result, most Millennials in the workplace would roughly be between 18 and 37 years of age with the last remnants about to enter the workforce.

To discover the stereotypes of MIllennials, I performed a Google search starting with the words “Millennials are” and here are some of the words that appeared

  • Lazy
  • Entitled
  • Selfish
  • Disloyal
  • Tech Savvy
  • Need work to babysit them

Most M’s I know are far from lazy; if anything they are too busy. Entitlement is not the exclusive territory of M’s and is more cultural than generational in my opinion. Again, very general statements that stereotype an entire generation of people. And companies pay consultants thousands of dollars to learn how to engage with them.

Why the Stereotypes Don’t Work

Here is why relying on these assumptions about generations creates problems for a leader.

Very (Sometimes Extremely) Overgeneralized

As seen in the above list of Millennial stereotypes in order to create a “profile” means we often point to the extreme behaviors over the typical. Extreme behaviors stand out and are the ones most noticed. So when we find it necessary to try to predict behavior, we opt for the far side.

Highly Inaccurate

Generational Theory came about in 1923 by Karl Mannheim. Emphasis on theory. Mannheim himself even admits that there are wild variations in his theories about generations. Part of that is caused by location, heritage, and other factors. What we know about a Baby Boomer from Florida may be different than what is true about a Boomer in Montana.

Despite the empirical data surrounding Mannheim’s study, it is still just a theory and as yet to be proven as scientifically provable. However, like evolution, we have taken an unproven theory and made it science.

Arbitrary Classifications

The only one really well-defined is Baby Boomers, which is from 1946 to 1964. They were well-defined because statistically there was a huge increase in births during that time period; likely brought about by people returning from the war. World War One, Two, Korean War – pick one.

Other generations, even the ones preceding Boomers, have been somewhat randomly created to suit a purpose. For example, the generation leading up to 1946 is called The Greatest Generation. How did that term come about? Newsman Tom Brokaw coined it because it made a good book title. Actually, I’m sure he really felt that way. But the fact that it did sell a lot of books certainly doesn’t hurt. Realistically, it should be called the World War Generation because that’s the period that defines them the most.

Yet as noted before, there tends to be dissension over generation names and time periods for most of these generations. And most of the definitions appear to be entirely self-serving. If your book or product serves a specific segment, it’s good to have that segment be more inclusive.

What does understanding generations do to help you? How do you overcome the stereotypes?

Share your thoughts here or drop me a line at psimkins(at)BoldlyLead.com.