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When Should Loyalty Give Way To Innovation?

By 02 February, 2015 No Comments

I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones – John Cage , Composer

The other day a friend of mine told me how his young son came home from pre-school with a rash on his skin where his arms touch the desk . I explained that this sort of reaction could come from cleaning chemical residue on the desk. It’s a problem I see and hear about quite often.

I decided to contact the cleaner, who had already been notified of the issue , to find out if I could offer a solution to his heavy-handed cleaning. What I offered was a chemical-free solution that would be safer for the children and the environment.

This was his response

I have loyalty to my current cleaning chemical supplier and so am not looking to
change what I am using.

The next excuse for his loyalty had me gob-smacked! He said

My supplier is very good . He has very strong chemicals. I like using strong chemicals because I know that when the children lick the floor they are not going to catch any bacteria and get sick because my strong chemicals would have killed them …….the bacteria, not the children.

Now I am a person who believes very strongly in loyalty. I have used the same doctor, butcher, dentist, florist to name a few for over 20 years! I am sure this cleaners intention was good. But where does his loyalty lie? It certainly isn’t with the children. In his opinion, strong, good quality chemicals equals a healthy , safe environment. The “loyalty” he has to his supplier meant he was not open to change.

My experience with this particular cleaner made me think about loyalty. Obviously it is very important to him. Without giving a sales pitch, I forwarded my details and asked him to contact me whenever he was ready to consider safety over loyalty. I’m not expecting a call.

The definition of loyalty is “The quality of being faithful to someone or something else “

Here are my thoughts on loyalty when it comes to business:

  • If you’re being offered something better than what your current supplier is offering and you don’t want to change , loyalty is holding you back
  • If you give your long-standing supplier the opportunity to match an alternative offer , ensure they’re comparing apples to apples . This isn’t being disloyal. You can move on guilt-free if they can’t match it; at least you gave them the opportunity
  • Is your reason for loyalty that you enjoy a persons company? You have a coffee or beer with them and you feel guilty talking to their opposition? What if their ideas/products are out-dated and they’re living in the past? Doesn’t that mean you’re living in the past as well?

The loyalty the cleaner of the pre-school is showing to his supplier is not only putting his cleaning contract in jeopardy but also the safety of the children.

Suppliers owe it to their customers to keep up-to-date with the current market and if they’re really good they will be searching for innovation and staying ahead of the pack. This way the customer is being rewarded for loyalty.

Loyalty over innovation…what are your thoughts?

Nora Potter

Tersano “Changing The Way The World Cleans”