The Mrs. and I are truly enjoying our latest binge-watching obsession, Game of Thrones. Amidst some of the more ridiculous developments polluting the main story lines of the “rightful” assumption of the throne, is the lecherous (and humorous) switching of alliances that occur on an hour-by-hour basis. You know, I’m beginning to doubt the historical accuracy of this show, but I digress….

The knights, the stewards, the banner-men, the King’s “Hand,” his council ~ all of them bound by loyalty and honor to serve their true king.

Until someone gets whacked, and they all move one seat to the left.

“Loyalty,” in this sense, is worthless.

Don’t get me wrong – I value loyalty. It’s true, just ask my dog.

he’s right, I’m a good boy.

But let me put it in another perspective – my wife, my kids, my brother, my friends – are they “loyal?” They are not “loyal” to me; I may have earned it, but I’m also expected (as are they) to continually validate my trustworthiness, respectability, and likability. To me, “loyalty” indicates a much blinder allegiance to person or thing, not always to the benefit of either party.

“Loyalty” has become a catch-all for many things. We confuse “loyalty” with tenure. How many people do you know who are quietly and proudly suffering away the years in a bad relationship in part because of some misguided interpretation of being “loyal?” How many times have you seen individuals either “grand-fathered” or “legacied” into a position within the company because of “loyalty?” During performance reviews, haven’t we all seen “loyalty” (i.e., tenure) confused with actual accomplishments? That kind of loyalty sucks.

You know who else hates that kind of “loyalty?” Your high-performing successors in waiting. They see this kind of loyalty as weak-handed management. The loyalty they are interested in comes as a result of reward via performance. Quid pro quo.

Love ain’t blind, loyalty is blind. Love is a commitment made with eyes wide open, loyalty is a contract often embraced because of guilt.

So, if you want loyalty….buy a dog. You can’t have mine ~ just look at that face!