SLA 2011 Closing Endnote

James Kane

The closing endnote was by James Kane, an expert on loyalty and author of The Loyalty Switch and Virtual Loyalty.   He began by introducing himself at some length by telling his life story along with many other details about himself and  the minutiae of his life.  He explained that this first lesson of loyalty.  He does this because something that he shared might be familiar to you, and you would then think “I like him because he is like me”.  You may think that if we like one thing in common, we will like many other things in common.

Our brains are constantly looking for shortcuts.  They find patterns, which is how we build relationships as well.  We are not good about making predictions about the future, even though we like doing it.  When someone in authority makes a future prediction, we all believe it.  We tend to base our predictions on the present.  When we are born, our brains have no information in them.  We spend our lifetimes in gathering information from people (like librarians). We do not need to be above average, just be good at building relationships.  Most of want to have our lives fulfilled and have the people around us care about us.  It doesn’t matter that you can connect to the rest of the world.

Humans do not have claws or fangs, cannot run very fast, and our skin is thin.  Yet we dominate the planet because we have learned to work together.  We are social animals.  We have had to develop skills and emotions to tell us who we trust.  From the moment we are born, we need other humans to survive.  We cannot take care of ourselves very shortly after we are born, like animals can.  We do not have instincts; our emotions protect us and help us get through life.

Loyalty is not made up.  It is about making our lives easier and better.  If I have you in my life and you do these things then I want you around.  It does not come out of a competitive edge.  We do not need to be loyal to want someone to make our life easier.  You need to eliminate choice.  We trust things that can simplify for us.  Control is what makes us happy.   Your brain hates losing control; too much choice will paralyze your brain.  The real challenge is to develop relationships that are not simply about making lives easier, but also making them better.  Making lives better is the core of what you have to do.

Trust is competency, character, consistency, capacity (can you fulfill the objectives?).   It is an expectation.  We trust people until we learn that we cannot trust them.  What do your relationships already expect of you?  If you do those things, you will not need to promote your value.  The only way to fix a trust issue is to manage expectations of your boss, client, etc. (recognize that it may be unrealistic).  That will force you to interact with people.

Purpose is vision, fellowship, and commitment and what we do for each other.

Belonging is made up of these characteristics:

  1. Recognition.  Do you know who I am?  Am I just another number?  If you want loyalty, you must know who I am.  If you do not know which people are most valuable, you must recognize them, who they are, and what they care about.  Remember things people tell you so you can learn something about them and develop a relationship.
  2. Have insight into what I won’t tell you and the challenges I face. Understand the other person, show some empathy and find what causes them to act that way.  If you have insight, you become more valuable to that person.  That is why they stay loyal to you.
  3. Proactivity.  Once you have insight, you can solve their problem before they ask you.  Anticipate their needs before they ask you and solve their problems.  We collect information from people all the time.  Do we collect what matters to us or what matters to them?
  4. Inclusion is a very powerful motivator.  If you include people in your circumstances, they will be loyal to you.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

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