Collaborative Commodities – Loyalty.
Openness and honesty get talked about a lot in collaborative arrangements. Because they have been compromised so many times, too many, they have lost their credibility. The good news is openness and honesty are not the issue.
They are in fact functions of something else and pursuing them as the end goal is a misplaced strategy.
Openness, transparency and all that good stuff fall out of the most powerful commodity, loyalty.
Where loyalty exists to the individual, the group, the brand, the project, real honest conversations can be had, relationships generate leverage and transparency lives large.
Myself and my best mate are pretty loyal to each I’d venture. We’ve been buddies for over 35 years. A recent misunderstanding by me had me put my heart in my mouth and my bottle in my hand and have a real difficult, honest conversation with him. I did that because I’m loyal to the bigger future of our relationship versus being stopped by the immediate pain to be overcome.
One of my clients has had a big boss in his organisation approach his team with very lucrative job changes, the team members declined very candidly and informed the big boss they are not going anywhere unless it’s agreed with their leader. That is loyalty in action. It can’t be taught at an alliancing workshop – it has to be earned. (I can teach how it’s earned, won, lost, earned, won, lost, and won at the workshop – you have to do the work!)
Loyalty is not all about liking someone or something. It’s earned by being true your commitments and declarations. Apple customers are loyal because Apple tell them they have the most finely designed products and they happen to deliver on that promise.
I’m ‘more’ loyal to customers who say they’ll pay me on time or be great to work with and then do that – versus those that promise and don’t deliver. Loyalty pushes people to the front of the queue for favour and engagement by actions and behaviour.
If you are truly loyal to a cause, an idea, a person there will be times where you will put yourself out, take a hit, and put your needs or standing second to that which you are loyal.
Loyalty to a bigger future is greater than the present discomfort. This even extends to yourself and what you stand for.
I say I stand for working with people who value loyalty, enjoyment and mutual gain. If I have to walk away from a client to maintain my loyalty to my own integrity then that’s what has to be done. (Twice in 15 years BTW!)
Developing loyalty Top 10
- Be loyal. Act like you mean it.
- Stand by your words, keep your promises.
- Stand behind people when they (inevitably) mess up, let you down or fail. This is massive in Alliances.
- Clear up misunderstandings the moment you get wind of them.
- Be clear on what you, your team believes in and therefore will be loyal towards.
- Don’t step over perceived lack of loyalty. Enquire with grace and rigour.
- Ask loyalty questions to imbed it in the ethos. “If we as a single collaborative unit were loyal to the project how would we show up each day, where might we have to put the needs of the collective others before our own?
- Ask your customers what you could stop and start doing to demonstrate your loyalty and have it reciprocated.
- Answer public challenges publicly.
- Give the reason why you want something done – not just the what. Extends meaning and purpose to people.
Being open and honest as an ambition is not that exciting. Creating unstoppable loyalty is something compelling and worth working for.