Loyalty is not a byproduct of trust.

We fundamentally miss this fact in human interactions.

Trust occurs because a relationship builds over time into a state whereby transactional withdrawals can be made from the invisible account of engagement.

Loyalty occurs when people choose to engage with each other out of habit in an unthinking, uncritical way. This fact makes loyalty a particularly pernicious state because when the fundamentals underlying the engagement change—but the thinking about the fundamentals remains habitual and uncritical—the parties are forced into a place where they must shift their focus.

Media interactions, brand interactions, organizational interactions, and even some individual interactions rely on the posture that loyalty = trust or that trust = loyalty, but the fact is, most interactions are based on neither trust, nor loyalty, but instead are based in authority, ambivalence, storytelling, habit, and other factors.

When the bonds of loyalty are broken, without a commensurate rethinking of the bonds in the first place, situations and conflicts arise that lack the drivers of ethical clarity and moral fiber. And then, anarchy reigns, trust erodes, and loyalty becomes a relic of a naïve past.

Work on trust first.

Worry about loyalty not at all.



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