The Importance of Loyalty
Colin Powell said:
“When we are debating an issue, loyalty means giving me your honest opinion, whether you think I’ll like it or not. Disagreement, at this stage, stimulates me. But once a decision has been made, the debate ends. From that point on, loyalty means executing the decision as if it were your own.”
This is a great way to live life. Debate the issues while the decision is under consideration, but once made, it all comes down to execution.
It also fits in with one of our favorite quotes from Thomas Edision: “Vision without execution is hallucination.” At the end of the day, it is about getting things done, not thinking about what could be or debating what should be. The world is run by people who show up and do something. Lots of people have problems in these two areas – loyalty and execution. Many people want to challenge what leadership has determined is the course of action, and even if they do buy in, it is lip service with little or no action.
This is evident in pretty much any kind of organization. Everyone wants it their way. And if things aren’t going their way, they go somewhere else. That is not what life should look like. No one will get their way all the time, and if you choose to be part of an organization, then you need to be willing to be loyal to the direction of that organization or get out. Staying involved by whining about the decisions that have been made or undermining the group is about as pathetic as it gets. Boards and leaders are in place for only one reason – to set direction and make decisions. That is their purpose. They are not there to please people and do what any one individual wants. Their responsibility is to evaluate the best for all involved and lead the organization down that road.
At some level this applies to our businesses too. We pay people to do things our way if we are owners, but at the end of the day, it really still boils down to loyalty and execution. If we have the right people working with us, they will line up and follow our direction. They should be providing input along the way as the decisions are reached, but once a course is set, they need to get on board and make things happen. If not, time to find a new job. That is the perogative of a company – to remove those that don’t discover what it means to be loyal.
I challenge you to consider all the things you are involved in and live the way Colin Powell describes above. If you have input, give it clearly and concisely during the discussion process. But once the decision is made, execute at the 110% level and stop the whining. Seldom is direction changed by that method, and it is a big red flag regarding your loyalty to the organization you are part of. The better approach would be to move on if you can’t be loyal and execute. The world would be a very different place if we lived this way.
Make the decisions of any organization you are part of your own, and then execute with a passion and effort that is second to none. That is how we make a difference around us. It isn’t by continuing to try and make things our way. It is by getting aligned with the direction and decisions and working tirelessly to execute. That is what prevents vision from being hallucination!