In this provocative yet practical book, Fred Reichheld argues that loyalty provides the acid test for leadership in today's volatile business environment, and that most leaders deserve failing grades. In fact, the author is quick to highlight that less than half of today's employees believe their company deserves their loyalty. Reichheld's 1996 international bestseller, The Loyalty Effect, set out his theory and convincingly established the link between loyalty and bottom-line profits. In Loyalty Rules!, he moves from theory to practice, using vivid stories from many of today's most successful companies to illustrate how superior leaders create networks of mutually beneficial, trust-inspiring partnerships between customers, employees, suppliers, and investors. Reichheld's research demonstrates that effective leaders build relationships upon six bedrock principles of loyalty: Play to win/win: profiting at the expense of partners is a short cut to a dead end; Be picky: membership is a privilege; Keep it simple: complexity is the enemy of speed and flexibility; Reward the right results: worthy partners deserve worthy goals; Listen hard and talk straight: long-term relationships require honest, two-way communication and learning; and Preach what you practice: actions often speak louder than words but together, they are unbeatable.
It's trendy these days to decry a lack of loyalty among employers, employees, customers, and even investors, and blame it for everything from drops in business profitability to the decline of civilized society. But Frederick F. Reichheld, a Bain & Company director emeritus, insists that loyalty lives--and, in fact, remains a major reason for the success enjoyed by some of the leading names in both the Old and New Economies. Loyalty Rules, his follow-up to 1996's The Loyalty Effect, shows how practices that built such relationships in organizations like Harley-Davidson, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Cisco Systems, and the U.S. Marine Corps help improve the atmosphere for all concerned and aid in producing better bottom-line results. The bulk of the book focuses on specific, real-world applications of Reichheld's Six Principles of Loyalty: in "Preach What You Practice," for example, he outlines various ways that "loyalty leaders" can articulate relevant concepts while clarifying "how these same philosophical foundations are ... not just feel-good platitudes." Reichheld also includes sample questionnaires from his Acid Test Survey, a critical part of the prescribed diagnosis-and-remedy program that is freely available on the author's Web site. --Howard Rothman