The importance of loyalty in leader-follower relationships is not new. However, Frederick F. Reichheld has elaborated this idea in the Harvard Business Review (July-August 2001). He has identified six principles of loyalty that apply to leaders and to companies in general.
As you read these, notice your reactions – thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations – any reactions.
Loyalty’s Six Principles
High loyalty companies, though extremely diverse, have several things in common: exemplary leaders who are committed to engendering and retaining loyalty, and relationship strategies that are based on the following six principles.
- Preach what you practice.
- It’s not enough to have the right values. You must clarify them and hammer them home to customers, employees, suppliers, and shareholders through your words and deeds.
- Play to win-win.
- If you are to build loyalty, not only must your competitors lose. Your partners must win.
- Be picky.
- At high loyalty companies, membership is a privilege. Clarify the difference between loyalty and tensure.
- Keep it simple.
- In a complex world, people need small teams to simplify responsibility and accountability. They also need simple rules to guide their decision making.
- Reward the right results.
- Save your best deals for your most loyal customers, and save your best opportunities for your most loyal employees and partners.
- Listen hard, talk straight.
- Visit call centers, internet chat rooms, and anywhere else customers offer feedback. Make it safe for employees to offer candid criticism. Explain what you learned and communicate the actions that will be taken.
> Russ Volckmann