How loyal a friend are you?
When my dad was alive, he was intensely loyal, often to his own detriment.
He didn't seem to care if a guy was suddenly out of favor at the company. To him, this guy was more than the company, he was his friend.
So, he'd still go out to lunch with him, still joke with him and still hang out with him.
One time I remember one of his friends getting sacked in a management reshuffle. My dad protested, saying the firing was a mistake. He said he would still do his job, mind you, but it was sad that his buddy no longer could do his.
I remember asking him then how much it was costing him at work then. I'll never forget his answer: "Jobs come and go, Neil. Friendships shouldn't."
Perhaps a career counselor would have advised my dad that he was letting his friendship blind him to the corporate reality. My dad would likely counter — in his inimitable Italian frankness: "Screw your corporate reality!"
There was a sense then — and still a sense now — that to get ahead you must play the game, and go through people like tissue paper. Tissues you need one moment, then discard the next.
You'd think it was gospel. I don't think it is.
I'm more impressed with people who stand for something, than fold on anything.
They say the Bush family is an intensely loyal bunch: Loathe to fire subordinates because they're fiercely protective. It hurt the president's father. Some say it's hurting this president now.
I don't know. But this much I do know: It’s better to have someone in your corner when things are hitting the fan, than to have a fan who avoids you when you are in a corner.
The best CEOs I've ever known and the best presidents I've ever admired have all taken brave stands sticking up for their people even when their people have let them down.
Sometimes their careers have suffered, but never something more valuable: their character.
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