I spent a large part of my career working for large corporations in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods world – think Fortune 500. When I finally arrived at the level of managing people directly, one of the first things I would tell them is this:
“The company we work for does not care about us. They don’t care about me, and they don’t care about you. I’ll try and help you, as a person in your career. If that means that you need to work elsewhere, I’ll help you get there, to a better place. If that means that I need to be more loyal to you, than the company we work for, I’ll do that too. In the end companies will come and go, we’ll be inside one for a period, and then we won’t. And the company won’t care once we’re gone, it’ll be as if we never existed. The thing that really matters, while we are here working for this company, is each other. Our relationships will last through and beyond the companies we go through, so let’s look after each other first. And if we do this, the companies we work for will be the ultimate beneficiaries anyway.”
This sounds counterintuitive, maybe even disloyal, but in my experience it’s the starting point of true loyalty and better outcomes in any size business or project. Sometimes it’s worth knowing what really matters as we play this ‘unreal’ game of economics.