The loyal goose

Listening to two football managers this morning, the Red one who’s in control, the blue one who’s not, it wasn’t hard to see why Ferguson is the titan he is. He got his job the hard way and kept it in the early years by hard work. He’s enjoying the fruits of that hard work in his later years and I don’t begrudge him it – I don’t like him but that’s not the point. The young whippersnapper from Chelsea has it all to prove, I hope he is given time but nothing about Roman Abramovitch suggests he will get it. He is reaping the harvest of too much too soon, he has a belly of undigested suggest, he needs to do a Monty Panesar and go back to his roots, go off and manage in the lower leagues for a few years Andre.

Talk loyalty, talk Terry Skiverton, Yeovil‘s boss who stood down earlier this season to be come #2 boss , preferring to learn under “SirGary Johnson than walk away in a huff. He will become a better manager for the patience he is showing and Yeovil will I hope reward him over time for the loyalty he has and is showing us.

Career loyalty is a scarce commodity. Pensions were set up to reward it and still do, though the high water mark of that reward is past, it’s the loyal few who joined a company 30 or 40 years ago and are retiring from it now who are the big winners.

Few of us have the good fortune of that continuity of employment as employers like employees are quick to throw the platitudes surrounding the phrase “our people are our greatest asset” out of the window, when a strategic target is at stake.

But we all know – inuitively – that the continuity of service exemplified by Ferguson at United but present in every mature company, is what keeps that company on the straight and narrow.

I met a man last night who has served his company 32 years and hopes to serve it another 8. He is a role model for the many who have worked for him over they years and though I haven’t , he is an inspiration for me.

Companies have a nasty habit of judging people by measurables and blaming those who look the easiest target. The measurables in football amount to the last 450 minutes on the pitch, in business to the specific performance targets in place at any one time. Pensions too are judged by snapshots , accounted for on an annual basis, assessed strategically every three years.

I would suggest that football managers, business people and pensions are all tend to be assessed with short-term measures which ignore the soft values of experience and the measure of loyalty.

It would be good if we would allow loyalty to lay its golden eggs not just at Old Trafford but in our businesses and in our pensions. Less meddling with short-term fixes, more strategic planning and patience please.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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2 Responses to The loyal goose

  1. Pingback: Lower League Football – guest post from Oliver Tapper | Henrytapper's Blog

  2. Career loyalty in those terms is definitely unusual Henry but is it definitely a good thing? To a certain extent I can see an argument as to how it is but of course being a headhunter I have to argue the opposite case also! The advantages of loyalty and playing the long game within a company are obvious and you make an eloquent case however there are a couple of very strong arguments in favour of change also. Firstly diversity, if you work for one company throughout your career, while you’re likely to see a lot of change what you may not get is a diversity of experience that you would get if you had moved. Every company has it’s own quirks and ways of doing things and experiencing a variety of these gives you a broader and potentially deeper experience than staying with one company where that experience over the years may become stale and less challenging.

    Secondly I would argue that financially you may well be worse off also, people who have moved in their careers for larger more challenging roles tend to have increased their salary accordingly whilst people who stay in the one job often only increase that salary through regular promotion or the fairly minimal yearly raise. It often amazes me how poorly paid some people are compared to peers because they haven’t moved and made use of their true market value preferring to remain loyal to their original company. This isn’t always true and sometimes it could be argued some people have become more senior than they might have by dint of simply being at the company longest however in my experience this happens less often.

    Sometimes making a move isn’t being disloyal to the company it’s simply taking advantage of an interesting opportunity. However if the move happens cordially and your present company has good relationships with its alumnii there’s no reason that ultimately there couldn’t be some knock on benefit to them also as it’s not unusual for people to keep strong business networks with old colleagues and companies.

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