Monthly Archives: July 2010

Who’s Loyalty is it anyway?

We hear these words every day. Who is loyal to whom and what and why!

The pronunciation of the Chinese symbol for loyalty is “jong cheng”.

It’s a universal value that we all seek and is often the worst and the best of people! It’s been around from the days of Adam and Eve, and it’s not always for ever~ many people know this to their sadness and detriment! It’s something you have to work to earn and then work harder to keep.

So I sat down with a friend and we discussed the different loyalties there are….

1. The Generational differences: Between Gen. Xers, Y’s, Millenniums’ and the Baby Boomers. They all have different loyalties whether to themselves, to the workplace, to family, their gadgets, their future, some want goals and targets some are so laid back they are horizontal, some want to be communicated with others want to be left alone. One thing is for sure they have different loyalties and being aware of those differences to achieve inclusiveness when you hire these folks is crucial for fit in your business to assure engagement.

2. In the workplace: Is employee loyalty to the manager, the co-worker, the CEO, the business strategy the mission or a faith-based philosophy. Best to find out what it is, so that you know what sustains their intrinsic motivation. It’s also important to understand in these difficult times when employee loyalty is being tested with pay reductions, benefit cuts, layoffs. How is employee loyalty rewarded when they have given 30 years of their lives and how is the loyalty factor affected of those that remain?

3. In the High Street: The grocery and retail stores we shop at, the car dealerships, the places where we eat, and the doctors we trust. It all comes down to the fact that we return to places where we feel “treasured”, well maybe I should not go that far, but we do want to feel special for sure. How fickle can we be when in one instance we lose that “feeling of being special”.  Oh Yes! Those retail loyalty cards that “buy” our loyalty is it us the stores want or our money?

4. Loyalty to your Country: The blind loyalty that gets people to do things for patriotic reasons sometimes against their own convictions. Often people die for this kind of loyalty- the supreme sacrifice.

5. Loyalty for a cause: The passion for Fundamental Rights and Freedom, Charities, a Church, a Club, or a Cause so unshakeable they will lose friendships for. History is littered with people who stood up for Freedom, Racial Adversity and Oppression.

6. Loyalty to friends and family: Blood is thicker then water so sometimes we stick by those we love just because… and we do so no matter what because we love them.

So how fickle is loyalty? I leave that for you to think about? Why is it often an uneven balance with one giving more then the other?

One thing is for sure having different loyalties does not mean you are disloyal to something else.

Being loyal to something different represents richness of difference and of inclusiveness of the people we are, and it’s not wrong to think or be different. What is wrong is not embracing those differences.

So is loyalty a one or two way street?  I believe it’s a highway! A highway that asks us to drive together in our different “loyalty vehicles” of choice and our challenge is to ensure we reach the same destination- together without crashing into each other!

Picture by Foxie, guarding the body of her master Charles Gough, in Attachment by Edwin Landseer, 1829


“Outstanding Business Performance will only be achieved through effective communications” – A Model for Business Success.

Some time ago I worked with a friend of mine and developed this “Outstanding “– a quote from client” model behind which we were able to develop the organizational and individual competences in the organizations we worked with.

Recent discussions led me to present the outline of what was an extremely novel, creative and “one of a kind ’ tool.

The basis of this competency-based communication model-tool was in the  “reverse engineering ” from the National Occupational Standards in the UK.

The purpose was simple.

To design a model that ensured information was accurate, timely and fully understood within the context of the business goals. And


That Monitoring, Evaluation and Assessment of communications and “people” competences within the business would be an integral part of the communications’ model!!

The communication model, process and audit we created covered the strategic, operational and individual levels of a business! Specifically:

1. That all information received is clear, effective, accurate, relevant and timely.

2. There are effective communication delivery mechanisms within the business and there is access to all.

3. There are effective feedback mechanisms to assure; full awareness and understanding, including performance reviews, listening and sharing  sessions ,and complete employee inclusion to develop informed decision making.

I was asked to share this.. So I have! In sharing though I must mention the co-creator of this exciting model. Thanks Janet, I know you want to stay anonymous so that’s all I will say!


Performance Reviews that Work- Performance Through People!

Measuring Performance seems to be such an issue with many people I thought I would add some ideas that might help support my previous blog The Seven Virtues of Performance Reviews

Traditionally and even today I note too narrow a focus on how Performance Measurement and Reviews are handled in organizations.

Learning Point #1 In order to achieve effective communications, team building, results that work, motivation and engagement we need to have effective performance measures in place.


Learning Point # 2 Performance reviews and measures must be part of a strategic leadership and management system AND not simply be focused on maximizing future profits.


Learning Point #3 We need to move away from the traditional approach of it all being down to financial results and outcomes, that’s too narrow!

Learning Point #4 Reviews need to focus on the strategic outcomes of the business and in turn develop the person along those lines,


Learning Point #5 The information used needs to be relevant and contribute to good decision-making. Too much focus has concentrated on what has already happened and looks backwards rather than forwards!


Learning point #6 Reviewing performance is about meeting the needs of the future!


Learning point #7 Performance reviews are about “building” not “destroying” the people in your organization.


Leaning point #8 Performance reviews are not an extension of your accounting system; they are part of your business culture.


Learning Point #9 Crucially performance reviews were viewed as influencing behavior- failure to perform was seen as punishment thus stifling innovation and creativity.


Learning Point #10 Performance Reviews, are there to develop not to punish your employees!

A great way to look at the basis of the new approach is the Business Performance Through People – Review Pyramid – see picture on this blog!

Adapted from Institute of Management Foundation and the work of R.L.Lynch and K.F.Cross 1991


The Seven Capabilities that deliver results!

I recently wrote about the seven sins and then the seven virtues of performance reviews, now I write about the Seven Capabilities that employees must have in order for the business to strive for the very best it can be.

* Problem Solving and Planning

The ability to solve problems and find solutions systematically; finds the best conclusions as a result of inclusive conversation with co-workers at all levels; Produces specific, measurable and achievable plans in order to deliver solutions.

* Forecasting

Realistically predicts outcomes based on an objective review, evaluation and analysis of evidence; obtains the evidence and data which enables forecasts to be made; decisions not made randomly but on sound evidence and business insight.

* Financial Awareness

Understands and interprets numbers and makes the connections that lead to conclusions and decisions that form the base of actions.

* Communication skills

Be a great listener – listen to understand, competent on computer, paper, and telephone, good on their feet and constantly attempts to improve the skills of persuasion and connecting with others at all levels of the business.

* Entrepreneurism

Constantly seeks out improvement opportunities and seeks change for improvement to grow the business and the people who work there. Does not accept that Status Quo is necessarily the right thing for the business.

* Team Work

Are reliable and collaborative and supportive team players who look for opportunities to help; ask questions to advance understanding; participates in meetings; doesn’t wait to be told what to do- offers ideas and solutions.

* Customer Excellence and Quality Care

Knows the internal and external customer, anticipates their needs and requirements; produces realistic plans and programs to deliver results; constantly looks for way to delight the customer and improve quality of service. Displays a personal commitment to the customer.


With all the talk about loss of confidence and trust of senior leaders. Is HR part of the problem or the solution?

I asked this question and had the following comments. They varied as you can see what would your comments be?

1. The HR function should assume a role of being the custodian of the business strategy and associated Values and Behaviors and never vary the standard even if it means a job loss.

2. HR practices should be applied consistently to make sure that the current generation of leaders be replaced systematically by a new generation of emerging leaders with no trauma for an organizations’ viability.

That way entrenchment does not occur.

3. A mentoring culture where experienced leaders work share the consistency of the values and behaviors to the next generation of younger professionals. Mentor –Custodian- Champions are created.

4. HR should handle *only* that which they are best suited to handle: recruiting (getting the human resources in) and benefits. (So to directly answer your query – nothing.

5. I think HR is responsible only in that perhaps they hired the wrong person into a leadership position. (However, the individual who accepts that responsibility is ultimately responsible for his actions.)

6. HR “As change leaders” is responsible for developing the culture of the organization and understanding why this is occurring. We “HR” may be part of the problem!

Well there you have it what do you think? Is HR part of the problem or the solution and what would you do?



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