Human Sigma and Dr. Spock – Are They Connected?

Human Sigma - New From Gallup Press

By E. Brown

I just got an email from Larry Emond, Executive Publisher at Gallup Press. He told me about their new book, Human Sigma:

I am very excited to let you know about our new management book, Human Sigma: Managing the Employee-Customer Encounter. The book offers an innovative, research-based approach to one of the toughest challenges facing business today: how to drive success by effectively managing the moments when employees interact with customers. Based on research spanning 10 million employees and 10 million customers around the globe, the Human Sigma approach combines a proven method for assessing the health of the employee-customer encounter with a disciplined process for improving it.

This is timely. I read another email today and quote that I had not heard before from the late Dr. Spock:

If you are older than 40 the name Benjamin Spock is more than familiar. It was Spock that told an entire generation of parents to take it easy, don’t discipline your children and allow them to express themselves. Discipline, he told us, would warp a child’s fragile ego. Millions followed this guru of child development and he remained unchallenged among child rearing professionals. However, before his death Dr. Spock made an amazing discovery: he was wrong.

In fact, he said:

We have reared a generation of brats. Parents aren’t firm enough with their children for fear of losing their love or incurring their resentment. This is a cruel deprivation that we professionals have imposed on mothers and fathers. Of course, we did it with the best of intentions. We didn’t realize until it was too late how our know-it-all attitude was undermining the self assurance of parents.

Maybe, it is my weird mind, but I couldn’t help but wonder if these two items were related. I find it interesting that the generations entering into the work force might be products of the Dr. Spock parental-view. Hmm… is there some correlation between the two? Some cause and affect? Consequences?

It is always helpful to have training toward good customer relations. Poor customer relations can often give your company a “black-eye” or worse. Yet, I was reminded the other day about this issue regarding employee-customer interaction. My wife and I were grabbing lunch at a quick-serve establishment. The girl at the drive-thru said, “Hi. How are you? Can I help you today?” To which our response was, “We’re fine.” We then gave her our order. After pulling around to the pick-up window, another employee handed us our food while we exchanged money. I commented on how warm and sunny the day was, at which the employee immediately started to unload about her miserable day inside.

Whoa! Being a business consultant I can tell you this is not good business. This is obviously why I still have lots of work.

Certainly, this attitude in not indicative of all young workers. Yet, this is a trend. I have written on this subject before (see Related Articles below) and it seems Gallup needs to remind us that our interfacing with customers has a significant impact. Remember, without customers and constituents, no one is buying or donating. And, if no one is buying or donating, you have no business or organization.

Bottomline, it is sad these kinds of books need to keep coming out. It seems human-nature is not quite as ascendant as some believe. Yet, there is always hope.

Related Articles
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2 thoughts on “Human Sigma and Dr. Spock – Are They Connected?

  1. I got the same email from Larry. I had mixed feelings about the book. I’ve had two recent conversations with consultants who saw downsides to the Six-Sigma approach to process management. So, based on the title and description of the book, I wonder if it is a process-oriented approach to human resources or if it is a human-oriented approach to processes.

    I hope it’s the latter.

    Concerning those entering the workforce, it seems like the difference is a focus on being customer-centered vs. self-centered. My grandparents are/were the products of a generation that was forced to sacrifice self for the good of others. My grandfather (in-law) recently passed away. He shared with someone that his goal was to make the working person’s day a little brighter. He did so, even in his final days… knowing his death was imminent. The world could use a few more like grandpa.

  2. Cara Casey says:

    I just graduated from Business School at BGSU with an economics specialization and I am actively seeking a job as a Buyer in the medical industry. So, I am interviewing with a fortune 500 medical device company and they told me to schedule a survey with the Gallup Organization. I called and set-it up. Upon further investigation I found the article Managing your Human Sigma on their website and it is clear that Gallup has harnessed this unified theory of human resource management, and as expected will not unlock the calculus behind their theory, otherise I would have known exactly how to answer their questions as it pertains to the current position. I don’t know what they are going to ask me and it’s kind of creepy but now that I have a good idea of what this company’s motives are I will have a competitive advantage in getting the job.

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