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Personal loyalties are also valued in life. These relationships are built and earned on years of mutual trust between the parties. Some examples may be between a husband and a wife, father and daughter, a mentor and mentee, or maybe just between colleagues at work. It may develop between individual people, groups of people, or even entire organizations. Loyalty to a person, group, or organization is often tested in times of change, upheaval and difficulty. This requires a person, group, or organization to step up to higher responsibilities to help an individual through the present situation at hand.

I have seen many examples of loyalty shown over the years. First, I would like to share a personal example:

My wife is one of the most loyal people I know. She has been my partner in life for the past 28 years. She has supported my efforts passionately over the years. During this time, she also has been a great mother and teacher of life to our two daughters. One example of her ultimate loyalty has been supporting her mother. Her mother was suffering from advanced dementia and three years ago it became evident she needed around-the-clock care. My wife took her into our home and cared for her needs 24 hours a day until she recently passed away. By necessity, this work required my wife's full attention while her mother lived with us. She tended to her mother's needs cheerfully and wanted no praise or attention for it. Her sole concern was for the comfort and happiness of her mother. I am grateful for this experience as it has taught my daughters and me great life lessons in being loyal.

Next, I will address how loyalty can benefit one in the work of reliability in industrial plants. Several examples of applying the loyalty principle to the world of reliability are outlined below:

  • Customer Supplier Partnerships: It is important for a customer to be honest, upfront and have no hidden agendas. The customer needs to create an environment in which suppliers can honestly express their thoughts (positive and negative) to strengthen the partnership and create win-win agreements. Being loyal to the agreement and partnership is paramount for the long-term success of both parties.
  • Employees and Employers: The job-hopping and downsizing culture in today's workplace is alarming and detrimental, I believe, to the long-term success of the employer and employees. Employees should strive to be team players, actively support the goals of the organization and work to create value for the employer. There should be an effort to make the pie larger, as opposed to fighting for the same piece of the pie. As the organization becomes more successful, the employer can invest in new ventures. This provides future opportunities for employees to grow and have new roles and jobs.
  • Peers and Colleagues: I believe helping one's peers and colleagues meet their collective goals is the ultimate way to show loyalty. This positive role replaces the negative behavior of backstabbing and backdoor politics to "get ahead" of one's colleagues. Helping others succeed will be noticed, appreciated and reciprocated when in need.
  • Acquaintances, Competitors and Others: A popular phrase is, "Today's foe is tomorrow's friend." I have experienced this several times in my career. Treating all people with courtesy and respect is not only the right thing to do, but it also pays back in the future when paths cross in business. Your reputation will precede you and people will remember.

In summary, loyalty to others is the right thing to do morally and has a long-term payback. People will remember and pay it forward when you are in need of help.

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Timothy Goshert, CMRP, has 33 years of experience working in the food processing industry. He has extensive experience in plant operations management, project engineering, construction management, and maintenance & reliability management. Tim holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. Tim is an active member of the Society of Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP) and has served on its Board of Directors for the past eight years. He has served as SMRP Chairman in 2008. He has represented SMRP on the establishment of Global Forum on Maintenance and Asset Management (GFMAM) and has served on the executive committee as treasurer and vice chair. Additionally, he has served as Chairman of Society of Maintenance & Reliability Professionals Certification Organization (SMRPCO) in 2005. Tim joined the Allied Reliability Group in 2012 as Principal. He is responsible for strategic customer account satisfaction.

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