Loyalty, Mission, Ideas for Our ‘This Is It’ Moment

Dave Kilby

As we pivot (which is definitely one of the buzzwords for 2020) and try to get our arms around what’s happening in these different times, I thought I’d share some ideas I’ve come across that have direct application to the chamber business and made me stop and say “YES!”

True Loyalty

In one of his blogs, business author and thought leader Tom Peters shared his thoughts on customer loyalty.

Peters says that customer loyalty is one of the most important variables that will affect our success. He calls the type of loyalty that you want to create in these times True Loyalty. When customers are truly loyal, they are not loyal to your latest promotion or getting your 10th smoothie free.

“When true loyalty happens, the customer is loyal to you. More specifically, she is loyal to her relationship with you,” says Peters. “This is a big difference. If a customer believes she is in a ‘we’ relationship with you, her frame of reference is not the latest transaction, but the entire history of her relationship with you.”

Working to creating true loyalty with our members needs to be part of your organization culture.

Peters also said, “Now’s the time that we reap the benefits of creating strong relationships when times were good.”


In their white paper “Plan to Recovery—Chamber Strong,” Bill Pawlucy, CAE and Bob Harris, CAE advise: “Agree upon the mission, ‘Organization sustainability while delivering value to members.’”

As David May shared in one of our recent Chamber Leadership podcasts—you’re no good to anyone if the chamber closes its doors due to lack of funding. We need to leave it all on the field.

Regardless how it ends, we still need to live with ourselves. When you ask yourself, “Did I do everything I knew to do?” make sure the answer’s YES.

Chamber execs are working non-stop to help their members. But a word of caution…don’t be the good Samaritan who jumps into the rushing river to save someone, gets that person safely to shore, and then gets pulled under by the current and drowns.

This Is It

Way back in 1979, Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald wrote a song titled “This Is It.”

I think some of their lyrics may be appropriate for chambers today:

You think that maybe it’s over.

Only if you want it to be.

Are you gonna wait for a sign, your miracle?

Stand up and fight.

This is it!

This CAN be a time for chambers to shine. Our members and our communities are going to need leadership, beyond, and in addition to, government. Hopefully, our value will be recognized.

This is when we will find out who we really are. This is it!

Take care and stay strong!

Dave Kilby is president and CEO of W.A.C.E. and executive vice president of corporate affairs at the California Chamber.