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Connection Cultures

Podcast with author and "Connection Cultures" consultant, Michael Lee Stallard

Michael Lee Stallard Michael Lee Stallard

"Would the people who work alongside you say that you think of them as human doings or human beings?"- Michael Lee Stallard

Welcome to a Leadership edition of Total Picture Radio, this is Peter Clayton reporting. Joining us is Michael Lee Stallard, an authority on leadership and teams as they relate to employee and customer engagement. He is the co-founder, president and CEO of E Pluribus Partners, a consulting firm that specializes in helping leaders create , what he calls "Connection Cultures" to form strong bonds among the management, employees and customers of an organization. Michael is the primary author of the book Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team's Passion, Creativity, and Productivity, which covers, in depth, many of concepts his firm employs. 

"Many of our clients at E Pluribus Partners have committed to become Intentional Connectors in 2008. As our work shows, great leaders are Intentional Connectors. By their words and deeds, they create Connection Cultures that improve employee engagement, productivity and innovation. Why don't you commit to becoming an Intentional Connector too? The personal benefits include improved physical and mental health and superior productivity and creativity..."

Questions Peter Clayton asked Michael Stallard

Your words... "Many of our clients at E Pluribus Partners have committed to become Intentional Connectors in 2008. As our work shows, great leaders are Intentional Connectors. By their words and deeds, they create Connection Cultures that improve employee engagement, productivity and innovation." What is an Intentional Connector, and why do you think it's important for leaders to become one?

What is your back-story? When did you form E Pluribus Partners?

Quoting from your book...

"Employee disengagement is a widespread malady in American organizations, causing the loss of billions of dollars, hours of dissatisfaction, and work lives lacking true value. Research by the Gallup Organization suggests, that fewer than three out of ten Americans are engaged in their jobs." Michael, I would bet that virtually every HR professional and recruiter knows these stats - every executive in a large organization is well aware of this - the see it in employee turnover, and the cost to their bottom line - so why don't they do something about it?"

And I think it's important to point out that our friends at ExecuNet get the same stats when they poll their members, who are making well into 6 figures - so this is not so much of a compensation issue, is it?

You come out of Wall Street - I've worked with many large financial services organizations - We know what's happening at Citi - Chuck Prince exits with a $68 million, plus an office, car and driver, admin assistant and on and on - meanwhile, back at the ranch, head count is being slashed, budgets cut, more work piled on to those left standing -- more lay-offs just announced - and of course, this scenario, with different multi-million dollar exit packages, is played out at many large organizations. Do you find this as disturbing as I do? And how do you connect with employees in an organization thats going though a sub-prime meltdown and C suite golden parachutes?

Okay, a little role playing here, lets say I'm the HR director at Merrill. Hi, Michael, Seems we have a problem with employee engagement - a number of our people were upset when Mr. O'Neil walking out the door with $115 mil. Do you think you could help us out, you know, before our headquarters building is burned to the ground?

That's beyond burned out -- that's crash and burn. How do you get a trauma victim back on track?

Fortunately, most companies are not as bad off as what we've been discussing. I guess for most organizations, your concept of creating a "connection culture" is possible.

What are the steps?

You were recently quoted in a Wall Street Journal article, written by Erin White titled "Quest for Innovation, Motivation Inspires the Gurus." The article profiles several of the most influential business thinkers, according to a Wall Street Journal ranking. One of these thinkers is Dr. Howard Gardner, a Harvard professor, best known for his theory of "multiple intelligences." How has Dr. Gardner's ideas influenced your work?

The Three keys to connecting with your team and lighting their fires: Vision, value, and voice -- okay Michael, a little more push-back here, we've all seen lofty vision statements - Enron had a lovely one - if you're not connected, it's meaningless, right?

Delete what devalues (cynicism)

You write about a toxic CEO, Durk Jager of P&G

Knowledge flow?

So there is hope - even for organizations pillaged and raped by command and control autocrats?

Michael Lee Stallard - Background

Prior to founding E Pluribus Partners, Michael was a managing director, chief marketing and strategy officer at the U.S. Trust business of Charles Schwab and principal, chief marketing officer at the global private wealth management business of Morgan Stanley. The programs identified and implemented by the team he assembled and led at Morgan Stanley contributed to doubling the business unit's revenues over a two year period. The practices he and his team developed became the genesis for his approach to elevating the productivity and innovation of individuals and organizations. Earlier in his career, Michael worked as an executive in investment banking, marketing, finance and business development-related positions at Texas Instruments, Van Kampen Investments and Barclays Bank, PLC. Michael's educational background includes a bachelor's degree in marketing from Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois, an M.B.A. from University of Texas in Odessa, Texas, and a J.D. from DePaul University Law School in Chicago, Illinois. He was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1991.

Peter Clayton

About Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.


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