Why Are Our Relationships Breaking Down?
Robert E. Hall, Dallas business man, author of This Land of Strangers: The Relationship Crisis That Imperils Home, Work, Politics and Faith and several other business books, including, The STREETCORNER STRATEGY for Winning Local Markets, “which inspired the customer relationship management movement”, was recently interviewed by the Dallas Morning News’ Cheryl Hall on the breakdown of relationships (name similarity just coincidence).
Robert says he’s “never seen anything like the dysfunctional mess we are in now. The schism between power-brokering CEOs and distrusting workers is growing wider by the day”.
According to Robert, “too many bosses at the top of public companies have a me-first route to success”. Company leaders have traditionally been rewarded for achieving short-term financial goals, too often at the expense of employees’ overall wellbeing. However this short-term view and its results are causing more employees to become increasingly cynical and more disengaged.
He told the News, “One in 5 people trusts a business leader to tell the truth in a difficult or contentious issue; 86 percent trust corporations less today than they did five years ago, and 70 percent say, ‘I’m disengaged at work.”
Earlier this year, in a Huffington Post article, Hall said, “from 1978 to 2013, rates of return on assets and invested capital in U.S. firms declined 75 percent while CEO compensation increased 937 percent. Worker compensation grew one third of one percent per year for this timeframe. Between 2003 and 2012 54 percent of S&P 500 earnings have gone to stock buybacks and 37 percent to dividends – that totals 91 percent for the benefit of owners.
Leaders who feel entitled to lose touch with followers evoke a specific kind of costly broken relationship – the popular term is disengagement.
“Leaders used to be able to say one thing and do another because no one would ever know,” Hall says. “Not today. There’s virtually nothing you can do that’s not out there to be found. We want leaders who will authentically tell the truth. Instead, we get people who manipulate us. And we’re less willing to put up with that every day.”
Left to Right: Robert E. Hall, Dennis McCuistion, Jim Underwood, PhD
When Robert joined us for a TV program on the crisis in relationships, he told our viewing audience, “There is a seismic shift in relationships which is rapidly trending toward the negative and imperils society”. He claims this “relationship cliff” is affecting every area of our lives. This decline is costly, causing a cycle of estrangement, less trust and loyalty towards business, government and individuals; customer defections are up by 30%, each 1% in employee’s turnover costs the company 5% in profits and trust in our Federal government is down to less than 25%.
On that program, host Dennis McCuistion was also joined by:
(The now late), Jim Underwood, PhD, former Professor of Management at Dallas Baptist University and a prolific author, including, the best seller, What’s Your Corporate I.Q?
According to Dr. Underwood, a spirit of transiency is everywhere. Two hundred of the Fortune 500 companies have relationship issues in management or in their culture, with many companies experiencing a 70% turnover rate amongst their CEO’s. Research indicates innovation suffers when teams don’t function effectively and as organizations become larger the relationship atmosphere becomes toxic if management does not align its leadership with a relationship culture.
Those who focus on relationships enjoy a higher return in productivity and profitability. Studies show that customers who have an emotional connection with a company “buy” 46% more from that company than those who do not have an emotional tie. So is part of the challenge the growth of technology, which has supplanted daily conversations?
According to social media experts, Terry Brock and Gina Carr, co-authors of Klout Matters, who join in via a taped interview, technology can enable someone to connect with people all over the world at any time. Terry, a former chief blogger for Skype and AT&T, maintains technology grows relationships more effectively. Gina, known as the Tribe Builder agrees that you can speak to and connect with people you might not otherwise “speak” to.
Yet with technology comes more efficiency, which takes its toll on relationships. Hall says, “We wind up being alone – together”, and cites that today young people 8-18 years old average 7.38 hours a day on electronic devices.
Is there hope? The jury’s out – still our guest’s state we’re starting to recognize the need for positive emotion and a return to our core values…
Join us once again for a thought provoking conversation about what really matters.
Niki N. McCuistion:
Transformational Change Agent
Organizational, Personal, Culture Change
Aligning Purpose, Performance and People