Becoming great – part 1 loyalty

Over the following months I will share some thoughts, ideas and I hope inspirations on skills you should develop that help those of you who are looking for that next job, or deciding that maybe going into business yourself is a good move (and it probably is) but truly want to become great.

Where do these ideas, thoughts come from?
My experience, the books I read that truly resonate with me, and the people I meet on a daily basis that help me better understand myself and the different perspectives they have on the world around us.  The ideas I share with you I believe are universal and if you start the journey to developing these skills, you will be on a very positive path.

Skill – Loyalty
You may not think it is a skill, but if you can develop anything, to me is a skill.  In the case of loyalty, it is not just a great skill it is one of those attributes that will gain you lifelong respect and help you get through the tough times when those around you whom are less loyal choose to falter.

Wikipedia describes “Loyalty” as;
Loyalty is faithfulness or a devotion to a person, country, group, or cause. Philosophers disagree on what can be an object of loyalty as some argue that loyalty is strictly interpersonal and only another human being can be the object of loyalty.

The idea has been treated by writers from Aeschylus through John Galsworthy to Joseph Conrad, by psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists, scholars of religion, political economists, scholars of business and marketing, and—most particularly—by political theorists, who deal with it in terms of loyalty oaths and patriotism. The subject had received “scant attention in philosophical literature”. This he attributed to “odious” associations that the subject had with nationalism, including Nazism, and with the metaphysics of idealism, which he characterized as “obsolete”. He argued that such associations were, however, faulty, and that the notion of loyalty is “an essential ingredient in any civilized and humane system of morals”. Kleinig observes that from the 1980s onwards, the subject gained attention, with philosophers variously relating it to professional ethics, whistleblowing, friendship, and virtue theory.

Now here’s my simple definition;
Loyalty is the act of faith and devotion to environment, humanity, your community (town, city, region and country (and in that order), to your workmates, business partners, team mates, boss’s, customers, clients, suppliers, family and friends and most of all to yourself.

In my personal case it also means loyalty to my Iwi, Marae and extended whanau.

Loyal ‘people’ are the ones you depend on whom never let you down, they are always there when you need them, the people whom give you good advice, whether you like it or not, and these are the people you should always be loyal too.  Loyal people are positive people; negative people should be avoided where possible.

Loyalty is not like love, although if you truly love someone you will work hard to be loyal to them.

In all cases – It has to be reciprocal or it will surely fail.

The one measure of true loyalty is time.

A change in loyalty?
Yes I believe loyalty can change, and the key to developing Loyalty as a skill is to ensure it does not fail due to your actions, thoughts or intentions.  You need to work at Loyalty, you need to be conscious everyday as you make decisions that affect those you are looking to be loyal too, and this is not the easiest skill.  The way to be effective is to make sure you take the time to think about how your actions will affect those you wish to be loyal too.

You should be loyal to yourself, if organisations, people or teams you are associated with are not loyal to you then by the simple fact that there is no reciprocation the loyalty (based on trust) is broken and maybe for you it is time to move on.  In saying this you can be loyal to organisations, people and teams and they can still be loyal to you, but you both understand the need to move on, which means the loyalty can remain intact – this is achieved through good communication and using simple tools like the “rose compass” which I will talk about another time.

With loyalty comes trust and together these skills will help you in many ways throughout your life.  In the work situation it may mean a promotion, and more freedom to make decisions (empowerment).  With loved ones the trust should be explicitly intertwined and if strained can be rebuilt, but that is a decision you will make when the time comes.  With teams it will mean “mana”  prestige, authority, control, power, influence, status, spiritual power, charisma – “mana” is a supernatural force in a person, place or object.

Benefits of being loyal
The major benefits of loyalty are already described above, but the other benefits you will find appear at the most appropriate times, like all trained skills often it will kick in automatically when needed I.e. To stop a child running onto a busy street, or to make the decisive pass that wins you the game, or to put in that extra effort and time at work because you know your business or your bosses business needs it, to help out a neighbour or to consciously support the local store.

The statistics
Loyalty is linked to success, a friend of mine has spent years tracking the formula for successful sports teams around the world.  These clubs include some of the greatest Football, Rugby, Cricket and other teams he has an interest in.  The fact that he keeps finding is that clubs and teams that are loyal to their players (and academy players) around the world are those that are most successful, on a regular basis.  Those clubs and teams that constantly throw big money at players struggle to win leagues and championships on a regular basis.  Those that develop talent in an environment that is mutually loyal succeed and when they are at the top of the game, keep on top using this same formula.  Yes many of them still import players with skills they do not possess but always they retain and nurture a core group of people they are loyal to for long periods of time.

I suspect this is the same for businesses that last the longest and grow the strongest balance sheets.

Making the world a better place through loyalty
When times get tough, those most loyal to us are the ones we depend on to help us through, and to reciprocate (And we should do this) we should ensure we share in the good times with them.  The same should apply to our customers and if you ever need a reason to be loyal to your locally owned stores and businesses look at those in your community who most support the community (not just market about it) but actually step up and support the community, financially, physically and passionately.

One of my many passions is to see my local businesses thrive, where investment decisions into our local community are not made by marketing managers based in other cities or even other countries, especially in our western word where many corporates are very much driven by profit and loss, and those profits are stripped from your community to prop up a lifestyle and economy thousands of miles from your own.  Not all corporations are like this but unfortunately I think the majority are not really that loyal to you and your community.

Moving forward- being great
So I hope you get the “iho” of this message.  Iho = heart, essence, inside, inner core, essential quality, nature.  Start consciously thinking about building your success foundation on Loyalty, reap the benefits described above and make yourself that person everyone wants to hire or purchase from.

It will not always be easy (nothing really worthwhile is), and at times being loyal can be challenging, you most probably will have to work on it daily, but it will be worthwhile and the benefits are truly great.




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