Your Employees Can Be More Powerful Than You

I recently wrote about how one customer can do a world of damage if they are treated poorly.  In that article I talked about how one upset customer, or one angry employee can now reach countless millions of people when they have a negative experience with your organization.  I conjectured that as businesses, organizations and non-profits we would need to start focusing on the people as strongly as we have been focusing on the systems, or things would start to fall apart.

Then I read this article:  http://www.NYTimes.com/2012/03/14/Opinion/Why-I-Am-Leaving-Goldman-Sachs.html?pagewanted=all Greg Smith was the Executive Director and Head of Goldman Sachs’ United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  He managed over a trillion dollars in assets and was a rising star in the firm.  And he just quit.

This story builds on my thought process in two distinct ways.  One is in terms of the megaphone.  Greg Smith is one man.  He is one employee among 32,500.  You would think that being less than one percent of one percent of one percent of the employee population that you would not need to worry about him getting upset.  Employees get upset, it happens.  We will find others.

Greg Smith wrote one article.  One article that has now been read by countless people.  It has been talked about on television shows.  I even found YouTube videos that have been made about it and more discussion threads online than I can count.  And this article was published March 14th, one week ago.  In one week, the reputation of a huge, prominent company has been very damaged by one person.

My second thought is on what Greg was upset about.  Greg was not upset about how Goldman Sachs treated him.  In fact, it sounds like people who work there are very highly compensated, and Greg himself has been very successful and has been put in charge of two continents and over a trillion dollars.  Instead, what made Greg do this is how Goldman Sachs is treating its clients.  I was about to write “Can you imagine a very high powered, wealthy executive quitting a company because of his morals for how to treat clients?”  But I don’t have to imagine it.  It just happened.

These two thoughts combined point to a very difficult future for the company or organization that only watches the numbers and the systems.  A generation of workers with every reason to want to make the world more transparent is entering the workforce.  They are also the consumers who have had enough of poor customer service, scandal and being treated as “human capital.”

We are going to have to focus on the employee and the customer, because if we don’t, we will find ourselves with none.

Are you interested in a proven process to gain employee engagement, and win customers to your brand or organization?  Call me at 515.724.3163 or email me at Ryan dot Lynch at Dale Carnegie dot com.  I am here to help.

~Ryan Lynch