Loyalty has become a rarity nowadays. Maybe, it’s always been a rarity. What does loyalty even mean? It means being steeled in your commitments or obligations. Whether it be family, friends, business, country, causes, etc. Of all the attributes someone can have, loyalty is at the top of the list. Loyal people are true to their commitments no matter what anyone thinks, says, or does. Not in a blind loyalty manner, but in a way that allows them to stay within their own personal integrity. At the end of the day, loyalty is not grey. It's absolute. You are either completely loyal, or not at all. There’s no room for conditionality. Loyal people do not allow opportunity to determine their loyalty. They are emboldened in their commitment to do the right thing no matter the external influence or pressure.
I’m a big proponent of loyalty, but I also understand it’s hard to come by. We used what we call the “three strike” rule at S3G, the company we had prior to GlobalStar. If a consultant went out on assignment and for whatever reason they were unsuccessful, we would give them three opportunities to overcome their shortcomings. Also, it wasn’t like we just threw them to the wolves. They were provided a lot of guidance and instruction. They also had a direct line to managerial staff, including me. Many managers within S3G felt the three-strike rule was more than fair, and it happened so infrequently that I felt every incident needed to be considered as a standalone.
We eventually did have one memorable case where an individual reached the three-strike mark. This individual had two things working in his favor. He was very smart, and had a fantastic attitude. Prior to his manager pulling the proverbial trigger, I summoned him into my office. When he arrived, I could immediately sense his embarrassment. I got the impression that he felt he let me, the company, and himself down. As a leader, you need to be able to see into people. While I had heard the litany of reasons as to why we needed to jettison this individual, I ultimately knew that it was ultimately my decision and I chose to intercede. This is where the old saying, “It’s lonely at the top” comes from.
As he explained himself, I began to see what we had in him. In one of my video posts entitled “The attributes of top services companies in the US," I discussed three philosophical disciplines companies adhered to—one being that they operated with a lot of heart. As I allowed him to finish his explanation, I began thinking with a more idyllic mind. I began by explaining how we have this unwritten three-strike rule and how he was on the other side of his third strike, but I was going to make an exception in his case. Of course, I was stepping out on a limb, because his manager was very upset. I told this individual that I am sort of a closet idealist and that based on what I’ve seen throughout my life, people need second chances. There are some individuals in this world that have never been given a break. People have continued to walk away from them for their entire lives. I did want to be a company that did not stand by its people to the bitter end.
He seemed semi-shocked, but extremely grateful. From that point on he was a model employee and beloved by his peers. There will be those times when the pressure is on and you must choose how you will proceed. Loyalty is standing your ground while others are pressuring you to do something that is outside of your personal integrity. It’s like if someone asked you to do something you didn’t agree with, and said “don’t worry, no one will ever know…” You would know and that’s all that matters. At GlobalStar, we have a culture sustained on loyalty. A culture where we all have each other’s backs. No matter what. Our culture permeates everything we do, whether it be with a client, a partner, or one another. I have found that people will run through walls for you and your cause, if you have their backs. Consistency is the key.