I had mentioned before how I had the opportunity to attend a webinar based largely on Stephen M.R Covey’s (or Covey Jr as I like to call him) book, The Speed of Trust, and how I found his discussions of the trust dividend versus the trust tax very interesting.
Over the last week I have had a chance to participate in a number of activities that I found to carry through on a similar theme for me at least and I thought I would share that perspective.
As anybody who has read any of my stuff knows I am a big believer in relationships; I think it is important however to distinguish investing in relationships versus transacting. I think of this as “three dimensional” versus “two dimensional” relationships.
Over the last week I have been the beneficiary of several people who took an investment approach.
I think it was Einstein who I paraphrase in saying- Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Yet still we persist.
I read a lot. I read blogs, articles, books, etc. I am always curious to benefit from the thinking of people smarter than I am which I have calculated to be about 95% of the population of the world at this point ( if you have any doubts just ask my family).
I see illustrations that kind of make me go huh daily. One that caught my eye today was that the U.S. Postal Service is going to extend the amount of time it takes to move a piece of first class mail to reduce expenses. It seems that a combination of shrinking demand and increasing expenses for operations is causing them to lose more and more money. Their biggest single expense is the cost of retirement benefits and retiree medical benefits. It must have eluded me as to how reducing the level of service you offer is going to address either of these issues.
What’s the core of leadership? I have often wondered about this. Like everyone, I have worked for individuals who have the capacity to inspire and energize an army, and I have also worked for people who would have been a better match for jobs where they could have worked without ever encountering people. But recently, I read an interesting quote, and I believe it defines the true core of leadership.
I just read an article on BNET http://bit.ly/9d7KjH about customer service in an industry that sadly needs it.
We had the opportunity to experience the “hospitality” of the U.S. airlines quite a bit this last week. I personally got to experience it returning from a preliminary relo trip and then two of our guests who flew in to attend my daughter’s college graduation got to experience it on steroids.
They stranded one of our guests on the way home and the other both coming and going! The almost pathological indifference to their customer’s situation was mind boggling!
Contrast this to the level of service described in the enclosed article on Virgin Air. The other interesting thing about this article is that it describes the process used by Virgin Air to hire and select their employees and then the training they put them through before they ever set foot unsupervised on a flight.
I have to admit I found that particular metaphor very catchy when I encountered in Nilofer Merchant’s June 2 blog post on the Harvard Business Review site. Her blog post titled People Aren’t Cogs discussed some of the same issues that have perplexed me for decades- why don’t more organizations get the fact that investing in the talents and abilities is not only a critical strategy, but it is good for business?
I think the following two quotes sum up the conventional wisdom that continues to be proliferated in most organizations-
"Companies have a hard time distinguishing between the cost of paying people and the value of investing in them."
- Thomas A Stewart
I have been kind of following a post on the Harvard Business Review blog about a hypothetical conversation between a CFO and a CEO that goes something like this – “The CFO says, ‘what if we invest in people through training and development and they leave us for a competitor? ’
The CEO responds ‘what if we don’t and they stay’.”
To date that post has received close to 400 “likes” and 350+ comments ranging from anecdotal to pedantic dialogues on the merits of both positions with the occasional shot at why HR stinks thrown in.
I personally despise the term human capital. As I have said here before the term to me implies something very transactional and short term. We lose sight of people as individuals. The combined talents and abilities of our staff do represent a significant asset and investment, but here is a news flash -