19 April, 2009

Loyalty versus ?

I have a hard time with questions of loyalty versus just doing what's best for me. I am not sure if it's a value judgment, as to which is the way to be, or if it indicates an inherent selfishness on my part. But the trend seems to track not only in relationships and friendships, but also in other arenas of my life. It is not to say that I do not value loyalty, because I do. Deeply. But I think that loyalty to me, while appreciated, can only be reciprocated (by me) if it is warranted on the merits of the situation. I have walked away from friendships, bands, relationships, and other non-personal situations because they no longer served me. I guess you could say that I operate in a mode of perpetual upgrade possibility. But that's not to say that I am not loyal, or cannot be loyal. Just that I am not always.

I had a conversation recently with a dear friend about loyalty, and some choices they were making that were clearly stemming around that attribute. And I reflected on how, in similar circumstances, I had chosen the opposite - namely, to turn my back on a situation, because the list of other positives (as short as it may have ever been), was dwindling further. And it made me wonder, "Am I a bad person?"

Another realm in which loyalty has recently been on my mind relates to products that I use. Because of my place of employment, there are a number of products that I should be using, because they would be consistent with company loyalty. To use the competitor product would not only be putting money in the pocket of the competition, but would also be sending a message that did not reflect well on the company. And in this area, I am conflicted. Because it is not as simple as choosing Mobil versus Shell; two indistinguishable entities. In some cases, one of the products is, at least in some ways, better than the other (read: the competitor product better than ours). So what do I do? In the name of "efficiency" it would make most sense to use whatever tools are best. In the way of "loyalty" I should use only my company's product. In addition, understanding my company's product could enable me to offer suggestions for its improvement, or explain to others how to get the most out of it.

Perhaps a compromise is to use both my company's product, and the competitor product. Because then, I am doing a bit of both: supporting my company, while at the same time, knowing what the competition can do (and, the added benefit of getting things done efficiently). But the split between which is primary, and which is secondary is the one that challenges me.

Back to the original topic, because I think that both are related; there needs to be a reason to stick with something. Not to say that I have not stuck with some things that I should not have.

1 comment:

  1. I think you should purchase the products that perform the best, and those which are best suited to your needs.

    If you purchase a product that is inferior only because you work for that company, it is almost as if you're providing dishonest customer feedback and skewing the sales figures. Like a parent telling her son that he is the best player on the team just because she is his parent.

    The sales figures should speak for themselves. Perhaps you could help your company by providing specific feedback as to why you did not choose their product, and work on strategizing about ways to make their products worthy of the competition. This will provide them a true slice of what the average customer is really seeking. This may cause them to improve their product and attract numerous customers, while simply buying the product only serves to bring their sales numbers up by one.