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thomas epley

Nicholas, if i may i'll compress your questions into one: does a firm have a responsibility to influence a "mercenary" to become a loyal employee, and in parallel could it do so if it wished? My experience says:
1. Of course a firm should attempt always to, in rational ways, make all their employees feel they belong and attempt "conversions", but should not be blinded by the attempt. Recognize the game and take your independent actions accordingly. If a conversion occurs, great.
2. regarding an ability to convert, some individuals, at certain or all times in their career lives, are "mercenaries": it may be in their dna. If so, a conversion attempt won't be successful. So again, don't be blinded by the attempt.
3. the absolute best time to gain a "conversion" is with new management. An individual who, under a previous regime was in this category, may have been so because he couldn't relate to the decisions and actions of that previous regime. He or she may change with new enlightened management but also be cautious. There are individuals who are in constant rebellion against any authority and the new loyalties may diminish over time.

Nicholas Vakkur

As per usual, these comments are intended to question prevailing wisdom and therefore hopefully to incite deeper thought. (However, they may just as easily also reflect my own lack of knowledge on the subject please do not allow me to be a "distraction"). Having said that, I am wondering what degree of responsibility the firm possesses in terms of trying to gain the allegiance of "mercenaries". I like the term, and I am heartily convinced this is an accurate description, and that these people do exist (I was probably one myself from time to time). However, from my perspective, it seems that the firm has a role in 'wooing' talent to develop long-term loyalty. Business schools, for instance, seem to emphasize the modern 'career strategy' of constant jockeying for more and better positions. It is almost like a form of protracted dating before you make a final committment to marry. Having said that- and maybe I am entirely off base- but is it possible that the firm can do something proactive to develop loyalty in its star performers? I know that the owner of the Dalls Mavericks tries to give his players the royal treatment, even when they are travelling on the road. He is trying to cull their favor. Can you recruit a mercenary to a loyal employee? Can firms expect the same type of loyalty from today's up and coming managers, who were brought up in a society that emphasizes a 'fast-food', the present is everything/forget tomorrow mindset? I know from my own personal experience that firms can and possibly should do more to encourage committment than is currently being done. I wonder whether these wandering 'mercenary' types might be succeptible to some form of influence in this regards???

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