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What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
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RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
10/10/2013 | 1:58:44 PM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
Most companies, at least the public ones, are only as loyal to their good people as their current financial situation and financial overseers allow them to be. Very short-term thinking.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
10/10/2013 | 2:01:37 PM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
Maybe Michael Dell is on the right track then.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
10/10/2013 | 2:00:40 PM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
Essentially, people need to stop looking to their jobs for identity. Trading talent and effort for money and a reasonable retention rate is only a bad deal if you also expect some sort of spiritual or social fulfillment from your employer.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
10/10/2013 | 6:57:42 PM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
Your 4 points for where the career jump should start sounds a lot like what a good mentor provides. Find a mentor who believes in you and has contacts outside Big, and you're off to a good start, right?
Coverlet
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Coverlet,
User Rank: Strategist
10/10/2013 | 8:16:50 PM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
It certainly can't be the kind of corporation-sponsored mentoring programs at are in vogue. Participation in those is a tricky balancing act for both mentor and mentee.

If you're lucky enough to find a mentor outside of your company's context (function 1)-- the problem is that they can't perform function 3 -- negotiation/representation with your future employer.

We ultimately have to create structural incentives for recruiters (super-connectors) to represent the employee, not the employer.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
10/11/2013 | 4:22:50 PM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
I am a big believer in outside-the-company mentors. In some cases, they can introduce you directly to potential employer.
MyW0r1d
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MyW0r1d,
User Rank: Strategist
10/15/2013 | 8:43:15 PM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
So you have an outside mentor that steals you away from Big (loyalty intact to mentor). But now you have to find a new mentor because he is no longer outside the company. You find one and he professes the benefits of Upstart. You jump ship again. Loyalty to the mentor is intact, but your now past mentor? Last I heard we go through a dozen jobs and half a dozen companies in our professional careers. You now have a lot of past mentors especially if you are a "geographic" employee. So where does this leave loyalty (the topic of the article)? Looks like to ourselves.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
10/16/2013 | 7:03:07 PM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
Who said the mentor "stole" me? I am talking about the power of introductions. You can meet mentors through professional and alumni organizations who will never steal you, but can advise you and connect you.
2sense
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2sense,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/11/2013 | 1:42:07 PM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
If you want loyalty, buy a dog!
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
10/11/2013 | 5:46:49 PM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
Really? Is loyalty just for canines? I expect it of people too, understanding that today's commercial realities will allow only so much of it.
pbuhr537
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pbuhr537,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/11/2013 | 5:21:01 PM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
Anything can sound edgy if you use enough half-truths and run to the next before the first one is seen clearly. Provocative (as intended, I would imagine). Some good insights, but mixed with a lot of noise. Then again, you did acknowledge it as a rant. The fact that "what have you done lately?" is the way a company will look at you shouldn't be a surprise and isn't all bad.
Coverlet
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Coverlet,
User Rank: Strategist
10/11/2013 | 6:29:58 PM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
Fair points. The easy answer is to say that I'm ranting, not writing a book or dissertation. But I'm not sure that it would be any better, deeper or more thoughtful in book form.

These posts are the start of a discussion. Up until recently they never made it past my laptop. If there are half truths, I'd be interested in having them pointed out. Not because I yearn for debate but because it could steer my thinking to a better place.

Opinions (and I mean mine) do a disservice when they're framed as authoritative.
DAVIDINIL
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DAVIDINIL,
User Rank: Strategist
10/14/2013 | 5:00:52 PM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
Great article Mr. Meshing. From a "normal" human psychological POV, people yearn to find a long term relationship w/ an organization that rewards their service and loyalty to that org. Most all of us want to align ourselves with something that is meaningful and bigger than just ourselves. There seems to be no place for that in today's bottom line driven world.
Coverlet
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Coverlet,
User Rank: Strategist
10/14/2013 | 6:45:23 PM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
David- Call me Coverlet. Mr. Meshing is my pseudonymous Dad.
GIGABOB
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GIGABOB,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/14/2013 | 6:50:00 PM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
Employee loyalty was never dead...just misguided in an era where the value of the employee has moved from qualitative to quantitative in the eyes of the organization.
ANON1255450178610
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ANON1255450178610,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/15/2013 | 4:30:07 PM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
Have you considered creating your own job (i.e. company?)
Coverlet
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Coverlet,
User Rank: Strategist
10/15/2013 | 7:20:01 PM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
Yes. And that option is tied (for me) to the two alternatives for loyalty that I intentionally left off this piece because they each deserve their own light.

They are loyalty to clients-- something that can happen within Big but shines brightest in Small. And loyalty to employees-- and I mean those that you pay with your own money.

Starting a company offers something very special at the intersection of those two.
C6Silver05
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C6Silver05,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/15/2013 | 5:53:16 PM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
I think what is missing here is a definition for GǣloyaltyGǥ and how one views real loyalty versus self/business interest in name of loyalty.

If you are an employee and you have worked for the same company for 20-years does that make you loyal? By the same token if that company has allowed you to work for them for 20-years does that make them loyal to you? I would suggest that the vast majority of the time what we think is loyalty is really self or business interest. In my view for loyalty to have meaning it has to come with actions that rise above self/business interest and stem from a more emotional place where someone elseGs interests are put above your own.

In the example of the 20-year employee I would first really want to explore why that person remained with that company or leader. Do they really view that person or company in a way outside of self-interest? If you dig you are likely to find other factors that really led to their staying. Perhaps the burden of looking for a job was
not palatable, perhaps there wasn't anything out there perceived to be better,
perhaps the known has become so comfortable that starting over is unthinkable, etc. On first blush it is easy to say this employee is loyal but dig deeper and it is self-interest that has kept this person at this company or with this boss for so long. On the flip side, what does it mean for the employer? If they promote a long-time
employee or choose to lay someone else off it can easily be perceived as the
company being loyal to their longer-term employee. Yet, if you look closer do you find that it was perhaps easier and less costly to promote someone they know versus the cost and unknown of a new hire? Perhaps this employee was spared in the RIF process because the value they produce is actually greater than the value of the person they eliminated? Is the company really taking an action out of
loyalty or is a cost/benefit analysis that is then packaged and sold as loyalty?

In the business world loyalty has always been more marketing and perception than reality whether you are coming from the employee or employer view. While I am sure there are cases of true loyalty my guess is those are far rarer than realized. Every day you are making decisions about what is in your best interest and companies are also making decisions about what will most benefit it. If the results
come out to value both parties it can be called loyalty. If the results benefit one party it can be considered disloyalty. Neither is true. Loyalty doesn't need to be replaced in terms of employee/employer, it just needs to be exposed as a cost/benefit analysis. If we frame it that way than decisions can be quantified and explained rather than becoming emotionally irrational.
Coverlet
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Coverlet,
User Rank: Strategist
10/15/2013 | 7:13:16 PM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
First, appreciate your thoughtfulness and what was obviously an investment of your time. 500 words is almost a column. :)

I wasn't trying to explore passive loyalty (if that's even a term). The idea of staying at a firm for 20 years because you don't want the rollercoaster of career changes doesn't (for me) qualify as loyalty. Loyalty is an active virtue and metaphorically, like a muscle (ie., grows with exercise, atrophies without it).

That said, your first point still resonates because you're essentially saying that "intent is important." Can't argue with that.

I'm on the fence with your second point because of the emotional complexity to that cost-benefit analysis. As much as I like to believe that I'm a rational person (and I'll speak just for me), my experiences demonstrate otherwise. And I suppose that's part of the problem: only one side of the loyalty-to-company relationship can act without emotion.

Good points. Will have to reflect on them.
C6Silver
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C6Silver,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/16/2013 | 4:25:20 AM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
It would seem my record of never being called pithy stands. It's a lifetime achievement...

I actually wrote another few sentences which I decided not to publish but will come back to here. My concern was that my statements around cost/benefit would sound too mechanical and give the wrong impression that we should consider the relationship within business to be ripped directly from the planet Vulcan playbook. I believe this is what you are keying on within the final paragraph of your reply. I do want to suggest that while it comes down to a cost/benefit that doesn't mean that the relationship needs to be cold and inhuman. Even our most quantitatively based decisions can be handled with dignity and grace and we are allowed to have an emotional opinion.

Having said the above and employment is a contract between the employee and employer. It is our duty as employees within that contract to act in the best interests of the company as long as it does not cross moral or legal bounds (that is part of their side of the contract). So within the framework of a contract just what role does loyalty have to play? My definition says none. Once you get past the idea you have friends at work or people you look up to at work or people who look up to you, there still remains a contract. As a result loyalty is just a warm and fuzzy way to say that the benefits I or the company are receiving right now outweigh the costs and therefore the contract remains active.

To come back to my original question though, what is your definition of loyalty? I loved the article but I didn't get that one key aspect and as long as we may have different definitions, it is hard to discuss what should replace it.
Coverlet
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Coverlet,
User Rank: Strategist
10/16/2013 | 1:32:53 PM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
For me loyalty is about the long view, faith and trust-- an understanding that long term human relationships are more important than short ones (or institutional ones) and that history is as relevant in decision making as present and future concerns. This is why a lot of examples of disloyalty (in every context) are classic replays of short term gratification winning over long-term objectives.
jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
10/30/2013 | 4:02:37 AM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
Interestingly enough, Spock was highly loyal to his captain and to Starfleet (but they were equally loyal to him). Indeed, Vulcans, as portrayed in Star Trek, don't strike me as very good mercenaries.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
10/17/2013 | 11:52:41 PM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
Good rant. Most companies are not in the business of personal fulfillment, no matter what the HR folks say. The best ones treat you fairly and give you opportunities to learn. Your job/company will never fulfill all aspects of your life, and that's ok. I've seen friends let their jobs become their identities and they change. Loyalty to company strips away the sense of humor they had in younger years. But this can happen to the most self-aware, independent-minded people too, without them even noticing. Coverlet makes a great point that your job becomes your identity almost through osmosis because it leaves you so little time to create an identity in other areas.
jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
10/30/2013 | 3:35:22 AM
re: What Should Replace Loyalty To Company?
I think it's perfectly reasonable and proper to be loyal to one's employer when that loyalty is reciprocated. But if the company is focused exclusively on the bottom line; employees and customers be damned (I don't think I've ever seen a company that treats its customers better than it's employees), then you probably don't want to be working there anyway, and if you do, then it's only fair to see to it that you are paid the absolute maximum that the market will bear (one good mercenary deserves another). After all, loyalty to one's family and self are important too. And loyalty up never exceeds loyalty down.


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