Life Changing Conversations for Entrepreneurs

Stories From the Book: Lesson #1: Loyalty

Thanks to Professor Verinder Syal, I was recently guest lecturer for a portion of the Principles of Entrepreneurship class at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Sophomore Lisa Guo emailed afterwards to ask which interview from the book impacted me most.

I had to  think about it, because I learned something with each interview. But thinking more about her question, the first person who came to mind was Raj Soin. Raj was CEO and founder of MTC in Ohio, a consulting company that he and his wife took from a startup with $1700 in funding, to an eventual sale to BAE for $425 million. The money is not what was most impressive.  I asked Raj if he had ever faced a crisis, and he chuckled and said, yes, of course. One day his wife, who was the company bookkeeper, walked into his office, and it was payday, and she was crying. She told Raj there was not enough money to meet payroll. He tried to wave her off, telling her to just use their credit cards to get cash, to which she cried even harder, telling him there wasn’t any credit left on their cards. His response was to tell her to go home. I didn’t see how that solved the problem, but the interview moved on. A couple minutes later we were talking about loyalty, and Raj said it’s a two way street. He said one day he walked into a manager’s office, and while they were chatting he looked into an open desk drawer, and in the drawer were uncashed paychecks. Raj asked the manager, Mike, why he hadn’t cashed them? Mike said “I saw your wife crying that day. I knew it was payday. And my wife has a job, so I figured the company would make good later.” Mike had not told Raj, and Raj hadn’t known, and Raj had not yet figured out why his previous payroll hadn’t bounced.

That’s a definition of loyalty that hit home.

About Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan has been launching and growing companies and helping other entrepreneurs do the same for the past 20 years. He has authored book and audio series including How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America (RedFlash Press), featuring 45 leading company founders who've created $63 billion in value from scratch, and How They Did It Nightingale-Conant audio program . His startup, Online Access, the first Internet-coverage magazine, landed on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies. His newest endeavors are RedFlash, a strategy execution team, and The Association of Interim Executives, which champions interim management as its own global specialty. You can also find Robert on Google+ and Twitter. View all posts by Robert Jordan

1 Comment to Stories From the Book: Lesson #1: Loyalty

  1. Chintan Mehta

    I have had the pleasure of listening to Mr. Jordan twice in 4 months as a student at Northwestern University. The part I remember the most about his speeches is when he tells everyone to go home and create a list of 100+ things they want to accomplish at some point in their life. I have been telling everyone to do it, but have never had the time nor patience to create the list myself. One day though, I decided I would just sit down and see what I come up with. After about 2 hours, I had only written down 55 things, some being very cliche (See the Great Pyramids, The Great Wall of China, Get a job, etc…), but one of the things was Karaoke. The weekend after I created the list, my brother visited from DC and we went out with his friends. I told them about the list, including the karaoke. I accomplished two things on my list that night: Saw my first Chicago Blackhawks game (one word: intense), and I karaoked for the first time ever. I had chosen to sing to Backstreet Boys “Larger than Life” (which I listened to at least 10 times on my phone before I had to go on stage) and had the most wonderful time singing and dancing to the song in front of 30+ people. I would have to say that now i can scratch one really large item off the list, and even though I probably would have gone at some point in my life, I do not think I would have been as willing as I was at that time. Thank you Mr. Jordan for making karaoke a very memorable experience for me and helping me realize that even the smallest things can be achievable just by writing them down.

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