Title Page

Fiercely Loyal

How High Performing Companies
Develop and Retain Top Talent

Dov Baron


We all know; life is short, but for most of us it doesn’t really hit home until we lose a loved one.

This book is dedicated to the memory of Shishu Pal Sharma. He was a man that I had the honor of connecting with during the last year of his life. Shishu was my wife’s favorite uncle.

When she was a child, his home, along with his loving wife Sheila and their three children was a place where the door was always open, and food was always available. This was also a place where as a young girl my wife could always go because Shishu uncle’s house was a safe place for her.

Shishu and Sheila moved from Fiji to Canada as a young family. Their hopes and dreams, similar to that of most immigrant families: to create opportunities and better lives for their children.

I believe that immigrant families often work harder (and longer) than native workers because they see everything as an opportunity, while native workers often take those same opportunities for granted.

However, there is a cost to this immigrant work ethic. All too often the children of the ambitious grow up experiencing very little of their parents as two people who guide them and they can laugh with.

One thing I am sure of is this: What we do while we are here echoes in the lives of our children and all we have touched.

As we sat with uncle Shishu at his deathbed and discussed the things that his life had taught him, we spoke about the legacy he would be leaving. Not the legacy of assets or finances, but rather the legacy for his children, grandchildren, family, friends and the community he was part of.

What follows is a summary of his message; I share it with you in hopes that it will resonate with you as you contemplate the value of all your relationships and your commitment to them.

In a world that can seem dark and overwhelming,
many work hard to attain the things they hope
will bring them laughter, light and love.
We may think that by doing all the things we do,
we will be loved. But in order to be loved,
we must first love!

I know that I have worked hard, and at times
I may have been hard. However, at this time,
I’ve come to realize that it is through the softness of
love shared, that I know the true value of my life.

And so I leave you with this message.

Work is important.
Resentment is a waste.

Ultimately, it is love that is the
jewel in the crown of your life.

It is the love you give and the love you
allow yourself to receive that truly matters!

~ Shishu Pal Sharma
1943 – 2014


List of Chapters

Acknowledgments_ _____________________________________iii
Introduction ___________________________________________ 1

Chapter One


Notable Leaders__________________________________ 7
Dead and Disgraced______________________________ 8
Genuine Involvement_____________________________ 9
Lasting Loyalty__________________________________ 9

Chapter Two

WHAT CREATES LOYALTY?________________________ 13

What Happened to Connection?____________________ 13
Changing Workforce_____________________________ 15
Two Challenges_________________________________ 16
Loss of Morale_ ________________________________ 17
A Driving Example______________________________ 18
The Reciprocity Principle _________________________ 21
The Power and Pitfall of Reciprocity________________ 23
What’s Next?___________________________________ 25
The Need to Bond_______________________________ 26
What Generates Loyalty?_________________________ 27
Money Money Money _ __________________________ 29
Autonomy_____________________________________ 31
Mastery_ ______________________________________ 34
Purpose_______________________________________ 36
Purpose and Profit_______________________________ 39

Chapter Three

THE IMPORTANCE OF MEANING_ _________________ 41

Money Isn’t THE Answer_________________________ 42
A Case Study_ __________________________________ 42
Chapter Four

CHIEF RELATIONSHIP OFFICER___________________ 51

What’s a CRO?_________________________________ 51
Why Good People Leave Good Jobs_________________ 52
The Party Line__________________________________ 54
Not the NICE Boss_ _____________________________ 54
Potential_______________________________________ 55
Power Struggle_ ________________________________ 57
The Next Stages_ _______________________________ 58

Chapter Five

COURAGE AND VULNERABILITY_ _________________ 61

Real Courage Requires Vulnerability_ _______________ 61
The Requirements of Relationship__________________ 62
Individuals as Individuals_________________________ 64
A Leader Goes First_ ____________________________ 67
Caring, Compassion and Vulnerability_______________ 71
Leadership is Uncomfortable_______________________ 73
Creating Emotional Safety ________________________ 73
Fear of Conflict is the Root of Resentment___________ 75
Number One Fear_ ______________________________ 76
Misconceptions About Vulnerability_________________ 78
Corporate Culture_______________________________ 79

Chapter Six


Number One Priority____________________________ 84
Important Questions_____________________________ 84
Digging Deeper_________________________________ 88
Bringing Your Leadership Team on Board____________ 91
Knowing What Really Matters_____________________ 92

Chapter Seven


The Cost of Being Purpose-Driven_ ________________ 96
The Real Cost of Business_ _______________________ 96
The Bottom Line________________________________ 99
A Case Study_ _________________________________ 100
The Rest of the Story___________________________ 101

Chapter Eight


Cooperation and Collaboration____________________ 106
Intrapreneurship_ ______________________________ 107
Contribution and Community_____________________ 108
A Case Study in What Not to Say__________________ 109
Non-negotiable Goal____________________________ 112
The Advantages of an
Authentically Focused Community_________________ 114
True Happiness________________________________ 115

Chapter Nine

WHAT IF?_______________________________________ 119

The Hawke Effect______________________________ 120

Chapter Ten

POWERFUL—AND VULNERABLE_________________ 129

The Power of Vulnerability______________________ 130
The Courage to be Imperfect_____________________ 131
You are Worthy________________________________ 132
Pairing Vulnerability and Leadership_______________ 133
Leadership is Service____________________________ 134
My Own Vulnerability___________________________ 135

Chapter Eleven

COURAGE IS NOT OPTIONAL_ ____________________ 141

Lessons From a Crab____________________________ 141
What We Learned______________________________ 144
Change Requires Courage________________________ 145
You Have to Let Them in_ _______________________ 146
The Time of the Vulnerable Leader________________ 147

Chapter Twelve

THE HERO’S JOURNEY_ __________________________ 149

Taming the Dragon_____________________________ 150
The Heroic Journey_____________________________ 151
Why Bother?__________________________________ 154
Changing the Face of Business____________________ 155
My Journey_ __________________________________ 155

Chapter Thirteen

IDENTITY AND LOYALTY________________________ 163

The Desire to Belong ___________________________ 163
Identity Crisis_ ________________________________ 164
The Bond in the Beginning_______________________ 165
Survival of the Fittest?__________________________ 165
The Bond that Binds____________________________ 167
Lessons From the Delivery Room__________________ 169
Becoming an Individual__________________________ 171
I’m Not You___________________________________ 172
I Don’t Believe What You Believe__________________ 172
I am not who I Believed I was_____________________ 173
Generating Fierce Loyalty_______________________ 174
Your Leadership Style___________________________ 175
Peer Level_____________________________________ 176
Consequences vs. Punishments____________________ 177
A Personal Example____________________________ 177

Chapter Fourteen

THE POWER OF STORYTELLING _________________ 183

Off the Island_________________________________ 183
Attachment, Meaning, and Loyalty_________________ 184
How Bonds are Formed__________________________ 185
A Secure Base__________________________________ 187
What it Means_________________________________ 188
A Practical Exercise____________________________ 188
Stories Cement Bonds___________________________ 189
Our Story_____________________________________ 190
Bonding, Loyalty, and Meaning____________________ 193
What Millennials Really Want____________________ 194
Meaningful Work_______________________________ 196

Chapter Fifteen

FULL MONTY STORYTELLING____________________ 199

Key Elements to a Story_________________________ 200
A Full Monty Story_____________________________ 200
Story vs. ‘The Numbers Have to Make Sense’_ _______ 202
What Makes a Story Effective_____________________ 203
Humans are Social Beings________________________ 204
What are we Looking for?________________________ 206
If You Don’t Feel it, We Can’t Hear it!______________ 207
Rocky________________________________________ 209

Chapter Sixteen


The Secret Formula_____________________________ 212
Moving Around the Circle_______________________ 212
Remembering the Past___________________________ 214
Relating a Personal Nightmare____________________ 215
The Impetus to Change_ ________________________ 216
Life Becomes Something Better ___________________ 217
A Battle in Three Parts__________________________ 217
Life transitions into Something Better.______________ 217
Karen’s Battle__________________________________ 219
The ‘Much Worse’ Stage_________________________ 219
The Final Part of the Battle______________________ 220
The Bridge____________________________________ 221
The Top of the Circle___________________________ 221
Deep Trust____________________________________ 222
Why a Full Monty Story is so Effective_____________ 223
Creating a Movie_______________________________ 225
Two-Movie Mind______________________________ 226
The Importance of Tension_ _____________________ 227
Don’t Rush____________________________________ 229
Respect the Audience____________________________ 230
Emotional Revelation Results in Trust______________ 231

Chapter Seventeen

FIERCELY LOYAL!________________________________ 235

About The Author____________________________________ 241


There’s a creeping crisis facing companies today, a crisis that over the next twenty years will affect the bottom line harder than the recession of 2008! The average company spends 1.5 to 2 times the annual salary of an employee training and developing them. The average Millennial employee is only looking at a tenure of 1.2 to 2.4 years, at the outside. That means you will see that expensive employee walk away before your investment ever pays off. What’s worse is, the employee you have invested in will take the skills and training that you paid for, and leverage them into a better position with your competitor.

Why is this happening?

In the following pages I will clarify why everything you’ve been told about leadership over the past thirty years no longer applies.  Everything! The world has changed, and so has everything we know about becoming—and remaining—an effective leader
when it comes to keeping your Top Millennial Talent.

I’ve been working with leaders around the world and have had the opportunity to witness these changes first-hand. I’ve seen what works and, more importantly, I’ve seen what no longer works.

Successful Leadership Requires Fierce Loyalty

Over and over, I’ve seen that the single most vital aspect to successful leadership and keeping top talent is developing loyalty from those you work with. Not just loyalty, but FIERCE LOYALTY! The kind of loyalty that means your star players would stand up and fight for your organization because it represents something far greater than a job or even a career to them.

My main intention in writing this book is to help you develop a leadership style that will have your top Millennial talent become Fiercely Loyal. So the question becomes: how do you develop that kind of loyalty?

It is worth noting that very few books in the category of leadership are about developing loyalty by developing other leaders. In fact, most leadership books focus on how leaders can manipulate people into being better followers rather than focusing on the real problem—how to become a great leader who creates more loyal leaders.

In March 2014, Time Magazine published its list of which professions have the most psychopaths, and top of the list was—wait for it—CEOs! To be clear, we are not taking about the movie versions of psychopaths but rather the behaviors and thought processes as explained by the medical profession.

Psycho CEOs

As the article points out: “Psychopathy is a personality disorder that has been variously described as characterized shallow emotions (in particular reduced fear), unusually high stress tolerance, lacking empathy, cold heartedness, lacking guilt, egocentricity, superficial character, manipulative, irresponsibility, impulsivity, and antisocial behavior such as parasitic lifestyle and criminality.”

If the list above describes you, then you can close this book and go back to looking in the mirror and telling yourself how wonderful you are, and that everyone else is just some peon pawn in your greater plan for world dominance, because this book is not for you. If you are looking for ways to manipulate those peons (or as I like to call them—“pee-ons”—into being better followers, then once again, this book isn’t for you.

I will do my very best to clearly lay out for you to see how the old model of leadership, and with it the role of CEO, has significantly changed. What’s more, those changes are only going to increase over time. The role of CEO without doubt offers an environment that is well-suited to a psychopath, and certainly such a person would be drawn to such a role, where their sense and need for power can thrive. That being said, I am sure you know that being a CEO and or a top-tier executive often requires the ability to make objective, clinical decisions in which they must at least try to divorce themselves from their feelings.

However, each of us should note that all of that is only one part of what we do. Great leaders, Authentic Vulnerable Full Monty Leaders, require the ability to develop deep human connection. As you will discover, knowing how to empathetically deal with feelings offers a completely different and significantly more fulfilling power that directly connects with your top talent and makes them Fiercely Loyal. This is, in fact, the direct opposite of the psycho CEO style of yesteryear.

Generating Fierce Loyalty

This book is for those of us who are leaders because we believe we can, and must, make a difference through what we do. This book is for those of us who truly get it that “no man (or women) is an island.” Therefore, this book is about how to have your top players become Fiercely Loyal by training them and teaching them how to be authentic, empowered, and empowering leaders by YOU demonstrating that model of leadership for them.

As Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines said so well: “Train people well enough that they can leave you, and treat them so well that they won’t want to.”

Let’s begin by looking at what leadership really is and why loyalty is the single most essential ingredient in every successful organization.

Chapter One

Characteristics of a Notable Leader

What’s a leader? You might be tempted to say, “Someone who leads” and while you wouldn’t be entirely wrong, you wouldn’t be right either because the idea of leadership has changed over the years. What used to be thought of as “leadership” no longer works. But—and this is a big but—what makes a true leader has and always will remain the same. And when a leader fails to exhibit this one lasting characteristic, his or her leadership is bound to fail.

Notable Leaders

To explain, let’s go back and look at a few notable leaders over the centuries. Now I’m not here to judge if they were “good” or “bad.” The fact that they had thousands, even millions, who were willing to die for them makes them notable leaders.

One is Alexander the Great. He came to power at age twenty, and by age thirty, he was ruler of an empire that stretched from Greece to Egypt and into present-day Pakistan. Undefeated in battle, he is still considered one of the world’s greatest military leaders. His men followed him for years, literally to the ends of the earth, until one day they simply refused to go any further.

Then there was Julius Caesar. He rose to the highest office in Rome and ruled the entire known world until that fateful day in March when his fellow senators and former friends stabbed him to death.

Or take Hitler. You might consider him the embodiment of evil, but there is no denying that he captured the imagination of a nation who blindly and obediently followed his orders, even to the executions of millions and millions of innocents. Where did Hitler end up? Committing suicide while cowering in an underground bunker.

Dead and Disgraced

These men and countless others like them enjoyed enormous power and prestige and were considered great leaders of their time. But ultimately, they failed to keep the loyalty of those under them, and they ended up dead and disgraced. Why? What made their leadership fall apart?

Part is, of course, that their styles of leadership no longer served. This is true today when authoritarian “I am the boss and I say so” leadership is proving ineffective with the next generation of workers.

Genuine Involvement

But what really doomed those leaders, and what dooms leaders today, is the lack of connection the leader has with his or her followers. All of the leaders I mentioned earlier started out by being genuinely involved and concerned with the people they were leading. (Or at least they did a good enough job of pretending to be concerned that they were able to fool most people.)

Alexander the Great was a man’s man, who fought—and drank and whored—alongside his troops. Julius Caesar was at the front lines of battle, inspiring his men to cross the Rubicon and face their foes with his own courage. Hitler made the Germans feel as if he cared personally about each one of them and their lives. Then each of these men stopped doing the very thing that brought them to power.

Alexander the Great isolated himself with a few friends and ignored the hardships of his men. Julius Caesar became captivated with the riches of Cleopatra and Egypt and was no longer engaged with his troops in an intimate fashion. Hitler became a mad megalomaniac who exposed his lack of care for anyone but himself.

The result was that their followers (except for a few sycophants) left in droves. The brilliant comet of their leadership crashed and burned.

Lasting Loyalty

The same thing happens today when leaders fail to exhibit the characteristics that create lasting loyalty.

So exactly what does create loyalty? That’s what we are going to explore in this book.


Loyalty is what keeps a leader at the head of the pack … not to mention alive.

POINTS TO PONDER From Chapter 1 . . .

  •  All notable leaders start out by being genuinely involved and concerned with the people they lead.  It’s when they stop being involved and concerned that their leadership fails.
  •  Loyalty is what keeps a leader at the head of the pack.