Welcome to “How You Living?” a transformative podcast featuring best-selling author, inspirational speaker and minister, Dr. Rick Rigsby—and, now, Dr. Rick.
Dr. Rigsby: Hello, friends. Thanks so much for listening today. I want to discuss the topic of loyalty.
I believe that loyalty stands for commitment and dedication. Customer loyalty is critical for any success in business. The companies I interact with place a high premium on the customer experience, which drives repeat business. Smart companies want customers who will stick, regardless of the times. [00:52.8]
My dad stuck with a very smart company for a long time. I'm not talking about his workplace, although he was loyal to California Maritime Academy. He was loyal to our family, of course, but he was really loyal to this other company, a company known as the San Francisco Giants. That's right, that Major League Baseball franchise located in the City by the Bay.
From the time they moved from New York until the day my dad passed away, he was “the” most loyal fan they had, I guarantee you. He paid his money for us to go to several games each year throughout our childhood, which was really no small feat considering the lack of disposable income we had.
He listened to every single San Francisco Giants radio broadcast. They could be losing 25-0, my father never turned the radio off. In fact, he listened to the pregame show, even listened to the postgame clubhouse report. He would watch every single telecast on television. They were rare in those days and usually only aired when we played against our hated rivals to the south, the Los Angeles Dodgers. [02:17.7]
We suffered heartbreaks, losing seasons. We never seemed to make it to the summit, but it didn't matter with my father. He was there. He stuck. He was loyal. He never missed a game. He never took a season off. Perhaps, this is why my brother and I cried on the telephone the night the Giants won a world series in 2010. It was their first in San Francisco. The championship came 13 years after my father's passing, but all we could talk about on the phone that night was Dad. What would Dad think? What would be Dad's reaction? What would Dad be doing? Friends, that's customer loyalty. [03:06.8]
So, the question becomes, why does loyalty have such a bad name? Some experts believe it's due to the emergence of a dynamic, energetic younger workforce who value meaning and purpose over loyalty. They're more loyal to themselves and the development of their brand than that of a company.
Other experts say it's due to corporate greed. We just don't trust anymore. We're jaded by corporations, and while there are exceptions, many companies no longer seem to be loyal to employees. Stakeholders are driven by profits. One article bluntly stated it this way, quote, “If loyalty is defined as faithful to a cause, product, or institution, there seems to be a certain amount of infidelity in the workplace,” end quote. [03:59.7]
In the 21st century, people are more loyal to their careers, not their employers. Rick Wartzman wrote a book about this. It's a great book. It's titled, The End of Loyalty: The Rise and Fall of Good Jobs in America. Wartzman states that the relationship between employee and employer has tensions that have produced pressures building over decades. Tensions over the last 40 years between employee and employer stem from automation, technology, globalization, the decline of unions, and pressure to maximize shareholder value that places the stockholders above the workers.
Wartzman says the tensions actually began in the ’70s. Shocks to the economy, exposed fundamental weaknesses here in the United States, left a lot of companies scrambling. Workers were affected. We experienced a lot of downsizing and many of those released workers were never rehired. [05:04.5]
These pressures against America's social contract with employees began building after World War II. Wartzman says in the late-40s, during post-war America, people looked for jobs that had security, that had pay, decent pay, healthcare and good pensions.
But by the late-50s, just a decade later, Wartzman says that the social contract began unraveling and he blames cultural norms. He argues that corporate culture is a reflection of national culture. For example, the generation of the Great Depression had a “we” mindset, but in the ’70s and ’80s, we shifted to an individual mindset, and thus began the era of jobless recovery. [05:56.3]
A generation ago when businesses would lay people off, they would bring them back when the businesses recovered, but in the ’80s, in the ’70s, recessions produced massive downsizing and companies did not bring the people back. Rather the companies restructured, thinking they could do more with less. Jobless recovery.
In addition to that, we have moved in our society from a blue-collar economy to a knowledge-based economy. Experts say it used to be that you could get a blue-collar job and it was your path to the middle class and a better life. That's no longer the case. So, is there any evidence of loyalty today? While we've seen a decline, corporate loyalty has always been there personally or relationally.
From a relational perspective, loyalty is a critical virtue. Loyalty lets people know you want them in your life, that they are important to you. Loyalty is important in friendship because it means that you're staying true to someone, that you're standing up for them and standing with them, regardless of the situation or the circumstance. [07:12.3]
Loyalty is important in relationships because it builds and strengthens those relationships. It reassures your partner that you're there, whether emotionally or physically. Loyalty means I can count on you no matter what. Friends, to me, loyalty means total and complete commitment.
Why is loyalty so difficult to achieve today? Perhaps a better question is, has loyalty or a lack of corporate loyalty affected our relational loyalty? No doubt it has. However, loyalty both in business and our personal lives is still relevant and I believe still important. If for no other reason, it's how we build trust and relationships. [08:03.2]
I read a fascinating article in Inc. Magazine by Peter Economy, the Leadership Guy. Yes, that's his real handle. Peter Economy, the Leadership Guy, stated that despite all the corporate greed, we need loyal employees who care about business. We need loyal customers to keep our businesses thriving.
Relationally, the Leadership Guy stated, loyalty is critical in our personal lives. It stands for commitment. It stands for dedication. It allows respect and trust to flourish, and while loyalty may not be a hot topic today and perhaps even an unpopular subject in certain environments, we should not diminish its virtuous power. [08:55.1]
Loyalty reveals commitment. Loyalty builds trust, and when you're trustworthy, your influence grows. As John Maxwell said, “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” Your influence grows. The kind of leadership that gives you leverage stems from and is rooted in loyalty. Pastor Andy Stanley said, “Loyalty publicly results in leverage privately.” When loyalty is demonstrated, your influence expands. You command more respect.
A great American, General Colin Powell recently passed away, but the General set on one occasion, quote, “Loyalty means giving me your honest opinion, whether you think I'll like it or not. Disagreement, at this state, stimulates me. But once a decision is made, the debate ends. From that point on loyalty means executing the decision as if it were your own,” end quote. [10:06.4]
Oh, friends, there is something genuinely authentic about Powell’s words. That authenticity speaks of the power of debate, dissension, civility, unity, respect, the elements, the core values of loyalty. Do you know what that says to me, friends? We don't have to think alike, but for goodness’ sakes, let's think together.
So, even though loyalty is not a hot topic today, I wanted to encourage you to develop loyalty. Your influence will grow. Your impact will be great. Your legacy will be powerful. It has been said that legacy is how you wish to be remembered, but impact is why people won't forget you. Developing the virtue of loyalty impacts. [11:00.0]
You'll be that person, both professionally and personally, who is worthy of trust and who commands the absolute highest degree of respect. You can accomplish all of this by simply being loyal. Being loyal makes an impact every single day.
Friends, that's going to do it for this episode. Until we meet again, this is Dr. Rick, asking the most important question I can ask, how ya livin’?
Are you ready to make an impact in your world right now? Do you want to stop existing and start living your best life right now? Dr. Rick wants to give you the first chapter of his bestselling book, “Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout”, absolutely free. Just go to www.RickRigsby.com/FreeGift to get the print or audiobook right now.
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