Heart on your sleeve

Loyalty in relationship to other values, such as justice

David Brooks just published a NY Times opinion piece where he praised American philosopher Josiah Royce (1855-1916) for developing a meaningful way to relate loyalty and tolerance. (See money quote below.)

About 5 years ago I started studying customer retention practices and became fascinated with loyalty programs. Many marketers these days worry about 'true customer loyalty' versus loyalty which is bought through financial incentives. So I decided to look at loyalty as an abstract human value and made many surprising discoveries. 

Loyalty is usually perceived as a conservative value, but the abstractness of the concept opens it up to many interpretations. Progressives are naturally reluctant to say loyalty doesn't matter because it clearly builds community. 

My own view is that loyalty is a natural impulse which is subject to abuse. I resist the idea that we should 'redefine' it. Loyalty has given me great benefits but I exercise it with a strong consciousness that it often comes in conflict with other values such as justice and truth. We each have to figure out what loyalty means in our lives. 

NY Times: Your Loyalties Are Your Life, 2019-Jan-24 by David Brooks

We should despise those causes, based on a shared animosity, that destroy other people’s loyalty. If my loyalty to America does not allow your community’s story to be told, or does not allow your community’s story to be part of the larger American story, then my loyalty is a domineering, predatory loyalty. It is making it harder for you to be loyal. We should instead be encouraging of other loyalties. We should, Royce argued, be loyal to loyalty. 

Qv190130mp


Defining and maintaining our communities

As people get busy they are unlikely to maintain their community, so if you want someone in your IRL community, you have to take responsibility to get them out there. I recently began scrolling through my contacts and reminding people to come to events with me, or to see me for coffee, wine or a walk. The response level is surprising. I used to focus too much on specific people. Now I'm finding out who shares my desire for more community. 

Outside: It's Okay to Be Good and Not Great, 2018-Oct-16 by Brad Stulberg

Foster an “In-Real-Life” Community

Perhaps one of the most detrimental consequences of digital technology is the illusion of connection. We think that if we can tweet, post, text, e-mail, or even call someone, we’re good. After all, digital relationships save us the time and coordination of meeting in person, which in turn allows us to be überproductive—or so we tell ourselves. But here’s the thing: nothing can replace in-person community, and our failed attempts to do so come at a grave cost.

In their book, The Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the Twenty-first Century (2010), Harvard psychiatry professors Jacqueline Olds and Richard Schwartz profile the rise of loneliness and decline of meaningful relationships. An increased focus on “productivity and the cult of busyness,” they write, has led to a sharp decline in deep communities and a rise in social isolation and related mood disorders. Other research shows that physical touch itself is critical for happiness, comfort, and belonging. In-person community is also key to performance. Multiple studies show that wearable technologies don’t come close to the power of “in-real-life” friends when it comes to making positive behavior changes. And this is true at all levels. Defending New York City Marathon champion Shalane Flanagan has repeatedly credited her training community (not her Instagram followers) for her longevity and success. “I don’t think I’d still be running if not for my training partners,” she says. “These women support me through both highs and lows.”

Bottom line: The extra effort it takes to regularly be with others “in real life” is worth it.

Qv181120mc


Why business owners take action: GEMPS

Remember GEMPS! The decisions made by independent business owner/operators are driven by a need for Growth, Ethics, Money, People or Self-fulfillment... and I bet the order of importance varies by person and probably over time. And I suspect these drivers don't much apply very much in larger businesses where decisions are made by teams. 

Flux Studio Notes: Stop Talking and Start Listening: Behaviour Change at Scale, 2018-Aug-15 by Ariel Lerner

So it’s not that these business owners don’t care about the environment, it’s just that there are other things they care about more.... 

...we uncovered five broad motivations that drive business owners and office managers: business growth, self-fulfillment, people, ethics and money. We also discovered that the financial savings to be made by individual businesses are so small that most don’t bother pursuing cost-cutting energy initiatives.... 

Few people would admit that they don’t care about the environment, so if a survey asks why an individual isn’t energy conscious, they’ll answer that they haven’t learned about what they need to do, or say they don’t have the money to make improvements.
These aren’t barriers, they’re excuses.

Because, ultimately, no one wants to feel like they’re being judged. The best way to encourage energy efficiency is to shut up about energy efficiency and start talking about the things that actually motivate people. 

Qv181010gs


Prime issues with Amazon

Amazon Prime is one of the most popular loyalty programs in the country, and Amazon customers enjoy very high satisfaction levels. However, it seems that people are sorting themselves out into pro- and against-Amazon, as they are in so many other areas. (The 'against' group is definitely the minority.)

Amazon prides itself in operating on the edge of innovation, and that means breaking lots of rules. I don't object to that behavior in general, but Amazon often ignores human values which are core to me, such as fairness and protecting the vulnerable. That's why I don't buy from them if I can avoid it. 

The Verge: Why I'm never signing up for Amazon Prime, 2017-Jul-11 by Vlad Savov 

I don’t expect anyone to follow or join me in resisting Amazon’s primal pull toward Prime. You’ve got your own priorities in life and, in all honesty, nobody’s going to fix global injustice by disregarding Prime Day and taking a nice walk outside instead. But it makes me feel good to do exactly that, and so — in the ultimate expression of consumer choice — I’m opting not to consume Amazon’s enchanting deals elixir.

(By the way, this article has one of the best comment threads I've ever seen.)

Tq170719ap

 

 


The real key to customer centricity: people taking care of people

When people inside a company are kind to each other, they will be kind to the customers. 

Harvard Business Review: Trust Your Employees, Not Your Rule Book, 2017-Apr-20 by Bill Taylor (new book, Simply Brilliant)

The entirety of the Nordstrom Employee Handbook fits on a single 5×8 card and involves exactly one rule. Here is Rule #1: “Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.”

No wonder Nordstrom’s image and brand is built on heroic stories of above-and-beyond service and problem solving. Sometimes those stories even involve the airlines. In one case, an employee discovered that a customer had left her luggage (along with her flight itinerary) in the parking lot of a Nordstrom store in Connecticut. So he hopped in his car, drove her luggage to JFK, and reached her before the flight left. There’s no rule that can foresee that kind of problem or response!

Truth be told, life inside most giant organizations is much closer to the rules-obsessed culture of the big airline than the common-sense freedoms of a high-end retailer. Have you ever tried to explain your special family circumstances to a health insurance provider?

Tq170429mr


How to keep going when the project gets all tangled up

People tell us that good planning will lead to project success but that's a lie. Good planning can keep your friends on your side when the project is completely messed up. Good planning can help you track where things went off the rails. Good planning can lessen your guilt, but wait, maybe we have nothing to feel bad about... 

Psychology Today: Big Projects, Big Mood Swings, 2016-Jun-30 by Jim Stone

In general people feel far too much shame when one of their projects fails due to unforeseen complications. It happens to nearly everyone who bothers to take on large projects at all. And no one is so smart they can anticipate all complications from the outset of a project. Perhaps just knowing this will help you set aside that all-too-natural irrational shame that comes with a failed project, and you can get moving on to even greener pastures.

Tq160715id