By Olumide Durotoluwa
“At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the twelve and asked, “Are you going to leave, too?” Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You alone have the words that give eternal life. We believe them and we know you are the Holy One of God” – John 6:66-69 (NLT)
That’s a conversation between a great leader and his followers. A display of loyalty. Loyalty is when your employees or customers are ready to suffer some inconveniences to continue working with you or doing business with you. You have been able to make them believe in a higher cause and have simply inspired loyalty in your customers and employees.
Price, quality, peer pressure, promotions, fear, can motivate and manipulate us to buy certain products/services. But it’s only our believe, culture, personality that can inspire customers to make purchase independent of competitive factors.
Motivation can cause a transaction, inspiration commands loyalty. Apple early adopters are loyal, simply because they believe what the company believes – to think differently. The company’s objectives, have been converted into their personal goals, drives and ambition.
Just as Simon Sinek mentioned, it’s beyond the letter “i” behind their products. They are a company that champions the creative spirit of an individual, and their products, marketing and services simply prove that consistently.
In fact, Apple insiders and their die-hard users are often referred to be part of the “Cult of Steve”. The word cult implies that we can recognize a deep faith, something irrational, that all those who believe share. His employees, loyal customers, exist to push boundaries, to think differently, and challenge the convention.
This is in line with what Peter Drucker described as Management by Objectives (MBO). According to him, “MBO relies on a process of self-control and seeks to achieve alignment between individual needs and the goals of the organization. MBO thus seeks to meld individual freedom and responsibility with organizational performance and results. It rests on a high concept of human motivation and behaviour. It is the underpinning for a highly-spirited organization.”
There is a popular illustration to this, an old story tells of three stonecutters who were asked what they were doing. The first replied, “I am making a living.” The second kept on hammering while he said, “I am doing the best job of stonecutting in the entire country.” The third one looked up with a visionary gleam in his eyes and said, “I am building a cathedral.” The third man is definitely the one who sees beyond his daily task. He has a sense of purpose. He comes to work to be a part of something bigger than the job he’s doing. These are inspired employees who are more productive and innovative, and the enthusiasm they bring to work charms other people eager to work there as well.
The job of a leader is not to bring up all the great ideas. The role of a leader is to create an exciting environment that can stimulate great ideas, and make them happen. Great leaders give their employees a purpose or challenge around which to develop ideas rather, than simply instruct them to be better at their job functions. Companies that offer great customer services, focus first on their employees. It is the trust, and cultural fit between the employees and the management that produce great customer service, and thereby, returning more profits to shareholders. The management inspires the employees to execute great ideas, while the customers and shareholders benefit from the execution.
Until your customers and employees are ready to suffer inconveniences, just to remain with you, they are not loyal. Remember in the opening conversation, Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? We believe and are sure that you are Christ, the Son of the Living God. This event took place after the miraculous multiplication of five loaves of bread and two fishes to feed over 5,000 people. Loyalty can’t be bought with extra incentives or discounts, it can only be obtained by giving your employees/customers a higher cause to believe in. Not every hardworking, committed manger can fit the CEO position. The CEO is a leader, who can inspire, and command loyalty. Not everyone leading is a leader.