Do you have good friends, people who get you, support you, who you could call at any time – day or night – and they’d be there for you? Do you have friends, feel needed and supported at work, and like you’re a part of a team or tribe? That’s really awesome. Because the majority of people, apparently, don’t. It’s at epidemic proportions, and it’s called loneliness. In fact, you might be feeling the insidious effects of loneliness, and never thought of it because you’re too busy. Some reports say loneliness and disconnection is the new smoking. What’s going on? Michael Lee Stallard – the author and expert on creating Connection Cultures in organizations, joins me.
To find out more about Michael Lee Stallard go to: http://www.michaelleestallard.com
For more about his work with corporations and other organizations: http://connectionculture.com/book
For a direct link to his book: https://amzn.to/2PzmDcc
The CIGNA Loneliness Study: https://bit.ly/2jkwFk3
Harvard Business Review Report written by former U.S. Attorney General Vivek Murthy: https://hbr.org/cover-story/2017/09/work-and-the-loneliness-epidemic
For more episodes go to: https://schoolofconnection.com
Rana Olk (Host): Hello, everybody, whomever you are out there, I want you to know you are not alone. Are you one of the people who knows that? I’m happy for you. I’m happy for you. If you can say, I know I’m not alone, even when I’m physically alone…even if you don’t choose to socialize a lot, and you’re an introvert, like me, if you have good friends, people who get you support you whom you could call anytime, day or night, and they’d be there for you…That’s great.
Do you have a friend or feel needed at work? Do you feel supported, and like you’re part of a team, or a tribe? That is really awesome too, because the majority of people apparently do not feel that way. It’s at epidemic proportions and it’s called loneliness. Loneliness and disconnection are the new smoking. Say, what? What is going on?
Thankfully, there are those of us working on bringing more awareness to this issue of connection, what it really means, how we’re losing it, and what it’s doing to our health. But most importantly, how we can bring it back. It’s going to take a little bit of conscientiousness but we can do it y’all. Technology and our way of doing life nowadays are slowly hijacking our genuine connections. And it’s making us lonely with some of us, unfortunately, not even knowing that we’re feeling lonely. Yeah..We’re craving belonging and connection and we’re kind of getting distracted. That happens.
So we’ll talk about that how loneliness is ignored or mislabeled. And my guest today is just a lovely guy, and I feel so honored to have started getting to know him. His last book, connection culture, the competitive advantage of shared identity, empathy and understanding at work has made him a widely recognized and sought out expert on how to boost human connection in organizations. He’s a wall street corporate guy turned passionate advocate for connection and empathy. And as usual, yep, there is a story behind that, and we’re going to hear it. He’s very optimistic that we can turn things around because, as he’ll point out, there are signs in our mainstream culture that we are becoming more aware of the fact that we need more connection in our lives. So here he is, without further ado, I know you’re going to love this, Mr. Michael Lee Stallard, enjoy.
Rana Olk (Host): Hello, Michael thank you so much for being here. Welcome.
Michael Stallard (Guest): Hi, Rana. It’s so good to be with you. Thanks for having me.
Rana Olk (Host): Great. So I want to start out with this,we’re going to talk about your book connection culture. But if we didn’t go into detail about what we really mean by connection, would you mind just explaining what has made it so necessary and important for us to talk about creating cultures of connection
Michael Stallard (Guest): Well a number of factors, I think the world has changed in the last 50 years, especially where our broader culture was, one did encourage more connection. So let me just give you a couple of examples. One depends on of course, the workplace specific workplace you were in. But I think generally, the workplace tended to be a little bit more relational 50 years ago. And then the productivity push has crowded out time for relationships. So that makes being intentional and protecting connection culture in the workplace important. And then I also think there are factors that have crowded out connection or reduced connection in people’s lives.
So for example, let me give a few factors. One, after World War Two, you had the rise of media and television, and people are just spending more, much more time you see it in the weekly research that some of the research organizations do,we’re spending more time engage with media and less time and face to face connection. We also don’t, we’re not as close to our families typically. So for example, after World War Two, it wasn’t unusual to see multiple generations living in the same household. Now, we have the highest percentage of single person households in US history. And in world history, it’s about 28% of households are single person households were near where I live in Manhattan,it’s about 50% of households. Now, that’s not bad. If you are engaged in community and you have friends. But if you are living alone, and you are not really engaged in, you know, many relationships, especially intimate relationships,where you get to know someone, you count them as a friend, they have your back,you have their back, that really is dangerous. From a biological standpoint, we can get into that later. So those are just a couple of factors. We’re not getting to our families as we used to be, you know, there, there are several other factors, of course, beyond just engaging with media and being closer to our families, you just said, people are working longer hours, and then they used to, you know, there, there are other factors to that are contributing to that. But those are some of the big factors that are kind of Top of Mind.
Rana Olk (Host): Thanks, I think you touched on so many different facets of connection there that I’d love to delve into each and everyone of them. But I’m going to start with you mentioning connections at work and working longer hours because that is the main area where you do focus, what does it look like when you go in and are promoting a connection culture?
Michael Stallard (Guest): Well, we have a very specific process.So we first go in with the objective of feeling training to do what we call a connection mindset. And so that is typically about a or two of training that starts out with an introduction, you know, what is the connection, what is culture, and then getting into the science of connection, which is really two aspects. One, helping people understand that connection is a superpower that makes us smarter, happier and more productive. But also understanding that the opposite of connection, disconnection or loneliness, if you want to call it that social isolation, they’re slightly different. But that is, it’s a super stressor that makes other stressors in our life more painful. And if we have high stress and low connection, we’re at risk for our body, putting us in a state of a stress response. And that has very negative consequences to our health and longevity. And so we go through some of that science to help people understand it. And then we shift into a show the showing them in the next section of our workshop, how our broader culture is becoming more disconnected.And so people are coming into the workplace with the connection deficit that has to be met somewhat in the workplace for them to really give their best biologically. Without that connection, we don’t get the benefit of the superpower that helps us perform at the top of our game.
And then finally, we shift into the last section Rana, that goes through Why do you create a connection culture and we boil it down to communicate inspiring vision value people as human beings, give them a voice vision value voice, if you do that, it’s like the credo principle. If you remember that, that 20% of the independent variables usually affect 80% of the results. And so if you get a vision, value, voice, right, you’re going to make people feel connected, and you’re going to be better than probably 99% of the other cultures out there. So it really gives you a performance and a competitive advantage.
Rana Olk (Host): I love this. But one of the questions I have is if we’re focusing on creating better connections at work, or relying on that if we already have a deficit, isn’t that deficit coming from our personal lives? what’s creating that deficit, to begin with, I guess, is what I’m trying to say. If I’m satisfied in my home life and feel like in my personal life, I have satisfying relationships and intimacies, why would I care if I’m connected at work?
Michael Stallard (Guest): Well, if the I guess the challenge is that research shows half the people are clinically lonely. So for example, CIGNA the insurance company surveyed 20,000 American adults early this year.And their research showed that the average American This was based on the USC UCLA loneliness scale, and the average American was in the range that’s considered to be lonely. So with combined with stressors in people’s lives, there’s a higher risk that they’re in, you know, a very high risk that many people are in a state of stress response from, it has a negative effect on their health. And I believe that’s one reason why we’ve seen for the third year, in a row, life expectancies of Americans has declined. So if you if you have that connection, outside of work, we spend so much time in the workplace that we need a connection in the workplace so if you have a lot of connection outside of work, probably your need for connection is less in the workplace.And if you have the connection deficit and you’re coming to the workplace, you need more connection at work. But just by sheer fact that we spend so many hours in the workplace, we need a connection that workplace to perform our best. And we’ve also found that there are five specific benefits to organizations that have connection cultures, you know, they’re those Oh, sure.Yeah, the first being that employees who have that superpower perform better.Yeah, it’s a cognitive advantage they have in terms of decision making and creativity.
Second, employees who feel connected are more engaged. So they give greater efforts, they also have more energy to give because of the effects of connection. And then second, they align their behavior with the organization’s goals. So more people are pulling in the same direction, and they communicate better. And they’re willing to take a risk to communicate something that decision makers need to hear, but maybe don’t want to hear it could be bad news. And many of us have learned from experience that, you know, it’s dangerous to be a messenger of bad news. But because they care, they’re willing to take that risk, because they do care about the organization or the team’s performance. And that has the effect of improving the overall quality of decision making. Because those decision makers get the news, they need to make the best decisions. And then finally, people who feel connected, they engage in Creative Conversations, because they want to see their team or department organization improve. And that fuels innovation. So five distinct advantages that add up to a really powerful performance advantage or competitive advantage, if you want to think of it that that way.
Rana Olk (Host): Every single one of those benefits makes me think of the benefits of simply being happy. I mean, happiness also does those things for us. And connection makes us happier individuals. So it makes perfect sense. And I think until a couple of decades ago, speaking about happiness in any kind of scientific literature, or psychological, sociological literature was kind of hokey. I remember when David Lykken a professor at the University of Minnesota came out with articles and some interviews, I believe,talking about happiness. And it was strange, it was weird. So not to digress but it seems like now we are seeing a lot more discussion about connection and about happiness as well. So these are these are really important things. And like you mentioned in the Cygnus study, we are able to study these things scientifically.
Michael Stallard (Guest): Yeah, we see the impact on neuro just neural chemicals throughout our body, whether it’s neurotransmitters in our brain hormones that are part of our endocrine system, even enzymes that are produced that helped protect our chromosomes from the damage that stress does.So because of advances in medical science. In the last 15-20 years, we now see things that we didn’t have access to before. And it’s painting this very clear picture, that connection is a superpower that we really need to thrive in life.And loneliness is a super stressor that is ultimately lethal, we didn’t, you know, there was, I think there were a lot of people talking about, certainly in the value of relationships and management theory.
You know, scholars were saying that year before we had these insights from medical science, but now it’s very clear that they provide advantages. And so see, more and more leader sare there seeing if there’s a competitive advantage that cultures have when you create a sense of connection and strong relationships.
Rana Olk (Host): I grew up in a very connected–let’s just say, I grew up in a connection culture. I grew up in a community I grew up in a time and this was in this was in the 80s, a community where the neighbors all knew each other, I’ll look out for each other. If I needed something, and my parent wasn’t home, I was able to walk into any number of one of my neighbor’s homes and say, Hey, I need this. It was classic. It takes a village kind of community that I grew up in. So I thought that any loneliness or disconnection that I felt like an adult who was living far away from home and communicating more via technology, I used to think, well, the younger generation, right, I’m that age now where I can talk about the younger generation, not knowing different, not knowing better.
One of the I thought significant results of that CIGNA loneliness study was that 18 to 22-year-old who have known nothing different than the technology that we use today are the loneliest and so when you talk about us as humans being wired for connection and what we’re able to see in the brain and how we thrive with connection, is this something that we can, you know, can we train ourselves to live without that sense of community, and we just haven’t been able to do it yet, in the short amount of time is this so much in our DNA that we are going to wither up and die as a plant dies without water if we don’t do something about this?
Michael Stallard (Guest): Well, we I’m encouraged, I’m very encouraged, in fact, and let me let me tell you why. That’s a very it’s a very insightful question you asked because when you look at the metadata, so, for example, the Institute of Medicine, one of the National Academies in Washington, DC benchmark. A few years ago, the health of American Center, 50vs. 16 other African countries and Americans under 50 had the lowest life expectancy versus other countries. And we were the lowest or blue it was the lowest, and maybe eight other factors of physical and mental health. And almost all, if not all those factors, you would expect to move in an adverse direction if people were lonely. So that’s why I think, I believe those scholars like Julian Linstead and Cigna who are arguing we’re facing a loneliness epidemic, I think that’s true.
But what’s happened in the last year that really encourages me, Rana is that people much becoming much more aware of it. There are more articles in the press, there are several books out, you know, I think we were had one of the earliest books on this, which was all the way back in 2007. And certainly there were scholars at the University of Michigan, a few other places that were focused, we were all using the word connection to just a few of us back then. But now there are a bunch of books coming out, there’s more scholarship coming out more research and fascinating to see that artists are also articulating this. So for example, the rock band, One Republic launched a video just a couple of months ago on their hit song connection, which received about 9 million views on YouTube alone in the first month. And it’s Ryan Tedder, who’s the lead singer the band The music video shows him wandering around the Oculus, which is indoor Transportation Center in downtown Manhattan on the World Trade Center property, and he’s wandering around this magnificent modern space that’s primarily white, it’s kind of a bright white, and he’s walking around trying to connect with people and they’re all staring at their palms, like they’re staring at their smartphones, and nobody will connect with him. And he’s talking about loneliness and longing for connection. You know,it’s a great song to just musically, so or you look at the Tony Award-winning play, dear Evan Hansen on Broadway is about a boy in high school who has some social anxiety and he’s longing to connect with his classmates or the and this sounds very similar to what you just said a few minutes ago, where what happens in a world that doesn’t really connect and meet that need for connection?
Well,there’s a new hit show on Netflix called Maniac, which is with Emma Stone, the actress and Jonah Hill , it’s a 10 episode series. And it’s about a world that’s falling apart from loneliness, and I love it, the very beginning of the show,it’s somewhat eerie, but there’s a scientist who is in somewhat of a narrator role at the very beginning of Episode One, Rana. And he says, hypothesis, all souls long to connect… corollary, our minds have no awareness of it. And then the rest of the show is about what happens in a society where people as the scientist says, their souls long to connect, but they never figure that out.And so they’re struggling from loneliness. And what happens is, you see a world that’s filled with anxiety, depression, mental health problems, suicide, and addiction. And so this 10 episode series, it’s very creative. And in terms of what they do, it’s a little off color at times, but it shows a world falling apart from the lack of connection. I think because we’re seeing more artists express this, more scholars express it, people’s awareness is going up. And I’m encouraged that we’re going to correct we’re going to make corrections as I did in my own life. Because I struggle from loneliness. I didn’t know I was alone,I just crowded out time for friendships, because I was so busy with my work,and I didn’t feel well, but I didn’t attribute those ill feelings and health to loneliness until I figured it out. In hindsight.
Rana Olk (Host): I think that’s so important to talk about, I think because I feel that there are a lot of people out there that are actually what they’re really feeling is disconnection and loneliness and they’re not aware of it. Because our culture really has called it depression or anxiety, or shyness or any aversion because the more you’re isolated, the more isolated you become and the more anxious you become in social situations. So if somebody out there they might be lonely and not know it, what are some of the signs Would you say that you experience how did you come to the conclusion that you were lonely?
Michael Stallard (Guest): Well, I, it was, you know, it was an unusual situation where I had left Wall Street, you know, I had worked on some mergers that were impossible to really make work. And I really gave up at some point that it was going to work and I left wall street for a while. And but during that time, because the work was so demanding, it was taking all of my time and with my commute from Connecticut to Manhattan. And then you know, when I was home, I was thinking about how to figure out how to make those things work. And so at Crown time for my family and friends and my face and I just started not feeling well I wasn’t I was I felt it in terms of being just lethargic I needed to find more ways to get through the day so it became more caffeine more exercises a stimulant you know, I would go to Morgan Stanley’s gym and work out with a, you know, a coach and, and then I needed more alcohol at night to slow my head, my mind down and sleep, but I wasn’t getting great sleep. And so I eventually ended up ultimately leaving Wall Street and as I dug into the science about trying to understand is the best culture.
It really wasn’t on my radar screen to look for connection, but it kept emerging in the in the research and then my wife Katie had been diagnosed with breast cancer and advanced ovarian cancer. And we went we took Katie to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for a second opinion after she had done some initial treatment and had surgery and I just saw a culture let me just describe it this way. We were on our first visit. We were walking down the street and the doorman Nick medley, we know him quite well now, actually. And he locked his eyes on Katie. And just greed. He smiled and greeted her like a returning friend. This is in midtown Manhattan, where nobody makes eye contact. It surprised me. And we walked in the reception area, and this receptionist, wonderful personalities calling everyone honey. This is also very usual I Manhattan and the security people and administrative people were helpful and friendly. We met her oncologist, Dr. Marty Hensley, she was upbeat and optimistic. She spent an hour with us, educating us about the treatment options and answering a long list of questions. And by the end of the day, I had two reactions. I have done my research. And I knew they were one of the best teams to treat advanced ovarian cancer in the world. And Katie’s chances of survival were less than 10%at that point. And so we were feeling a lot of stress and anxiety.
Our daughters were just 12 and 10. And as parents, you know, you just you-you worry about your children losing this wonderful parent and losing, in my case, my best friend, my beloved baby. So, but the end of the day I had a second reaction that I didn’t anticipate when I walked down that sidewalk toward the interest of Sloan Kettering. I expected his experience a culture of death and dying. This is a cancer center, the oldest Cancer Center in the world. But what I found was, it was a culture of life and living. And it just was such a surprise to me. And I felt more optimistic by the end of the day that maybe we could get Katie through this. And this year, we celebrated her 14th year of being cancer free. And Katie and I, just two weeks ago, taught a class I’m creating a connection culture to new supervisors, that Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. So now they’re a client, but it’s it was very eye-opening to me to see this culture where people felt connected and energized. And there was joy in that culture. It’s not to say that they don’t go through difficult times they do, because they do lose patience. And they, you know, they mourn that too. But it’s, there’s a culture of connection. And the other thing you and I talked about happiness a minute ago, I also see one of the things about connection is when you go through hard times, the surprising thing if you do if you’re going through hard times, together with other people, and you’re pulling together, the surprising thing is, you experience joy in the journey. Even though it’s hard, there is a sense of joy and being together and working through these obstacles.
Rana Olk (Host): I think that’s so true. Now, Sloan Kettering is known as one of the premier Cancer Treatment Centers in the world.And I don’t think that would necessarily be the case if they didn’t stress that culture. There’s no doubt in the scientific literature, that connection,emotions have a tremendous impact on healing and wellness and our immunity. So I love that story. It’s a beautiful story night, and I wish more physicians would in any healing profession and any domain would pay more attention to that I actually spoke to a physician not too long ago on this podcast, who is very passionate about talking to doctors and, and spreading the word that they need to be asking people about their social lives and their connections and emotional lives whenever they come in for any kind of a physical ailment.
Michael Stallard (Guest): Yeah, we’re working at an article right now with the medical director for Yale-New Haven health was which is a place we’ve done some work and Dean of a College of Nursing. And that’s what we’re looking is just the need for connection in healthcare, you know, from the need for patients, how it improves health outcomes, but also for their staff helps protect physicians from burnout and non physician staff, even CEOs of organizations have reported that they’re lonely. So and they’re under stress,to just given the constraints of the health care system, and the pressure and number of people coming through these days. So it really is, you know, that whole connection stress relationship is, it’s a big one in our society, we need that connection to protect us from the negative effects of stress and help us perform at our best.
Rana Olk (Host): Now going back to the technology thing, I there were a few things that I wanted to follow up on Facebook, for example,was something that I was incredibly grateful for. Because I grew up with family scattered and this was the first time that I, I could be up to date and in touch with them on a daily basis if I wanted to be, but we’re misusing it now.And confusing our Facebook connections with real connections. And people are now kind of creating these social media identities that are disconnecting them even from themselves, I think how can we use these wonderful tools of connection more responsibly, and perhaps even in a way that could foster better quality connections?
Michael Stallard (Guest): Well, I think one way to think of it is you know, we have acquaintances in our lives and, and then deeper connections.And so using social media tools to stay in touch with our friends who are spread out or acquaintances and are even our close connections if we’re not in the same in that is in the same area. Geographically, that’s all good. I think,when we do use social media, just because we’re posting to keep up the image of, you know, this person we are putting out to the world that has a perfect life that really isn’t fostering connection as much as it is posing, I would say, and the other point I want to make here is that we do need a smaller circle of friends that we go through life with, and, and there was just an article my wife Katie was telling me about in the New York Times over the weekend, about groups of guys who are getting together to just share their lives and create greater emotional intimacy and support each other, I didn’t get a chance to read the article.
But you know, having groups like that person whom we can share our struggles with, that’s healing, we need that I, we do coaching as well. And I’ve not found anybody who has the perfect life, it just doesn’t exist absolutely certain of that. And we all have struggles, it could be divorce or health issues, or there are so many different types of struggles in life and when we think we can do it alone, that’s when we’re really in trouble. We really need to be able to share with our friends that were struggling with something to get them to support us to be there for us to hold us accountable and, but also to encourage us and to be a sounding board to help us think through decisions. And when our when we become threatened or emotionally overwhelmed. Just the fact of being able to have conversation with someone actually moves the brain activity from the part of the brain that processes threats to the rational brain, the prefrontal cortex, where we make rational decisions, so we need that close to support group whose backs we have, and it goes both ways we have to be there for them. And, and they when they’re there for us, it really is a win-win for everyone and it brings joy in life when you have that.
Rana Olk (Host): You touched on another thing that I think it’s so interesting is that nowadays, again, there I go, sounding really old again. But nowadays, we really do have to make the conscientious effort to create these connections and relationships. Whereas I think when we lived in tight-knit communities, without all the distractions, the In-Home distractions that we have now, right, everybody’s, you know, watching TV or on their computers, and there are so many things to do in our homes, and we’re not interacting as much, you know, we-we didn’t use to have to make this conscientious effort to share our struggles and our pains and our challenges or share our joys because we weren’t able to hide as easily as we are today. So whether you want it to share or not people knew your business.
Michael Stallard (Guest): Yeah, yeah, I think, you know, people who were historically more involved in communities of faith, and that oftentimes provided, you know, some close friendships and support groups to deal with these difficult issues of life, you know, people who would be therewith them through deaths of loved ones, through times of sickness. And it’s not always that I just the other day of my dental hygiene, hygiene just was telling me about her boyfriend, and how I think they had been dating since high school,and all they had all most of their friends are the same. And they got together with their friends All the time, you could tell they had really developed a very close sense of connection among this group of friends who were there, you know,would be there for each other during, during difficult times. So, it is harder these days, they think, you know, to reach out to get involved in some type of faith community is, you know, and it’s a mix, if, if you don’t see love in that community, I would move on to another one. Because it really has to be the type of community where people love one another and, and love people and there is that sense of connection because that’s a very genuine community, rather than a country club.
Rana Olk (Host): Absolutely, absolutely. So when we talk about connection, we’re talking about a sense of belonging, and it’s possible to be surrounded even by our family or loved ones, and still not feel a sense of belonging, what contributes to belonging? Do you want to talk about them?
Michael Stallard (Guest): Well, I would say, you know, I would use the blind connection as a synonym for each other. And it’s, there are a lot of factors that contribute to it. You know, there are three things that I, you know, I talked about shared identity and empathy and understanding, when you break those three down, there’s more than that, this, this could lead us into quite a discussion here, just on this topic alone. So identity being Do we have some things in a common shared interest like you and I both have a passion for connection. And that connects us alone, that we both have an interest in that.Number two, do we have shared empathy? You and I have before this podcast recording, you and I had a chance to get to know each other stories a bit. And that creates, we’ve experienced shared empathy and that connects us. And just because we’ve spent time speaking with one another, and getting to know one another, you know, that starts to create a shared understanding about our values. And that also creates a connection. So those are all three different things that help connect us now to look at this from a little different angle.
We did research my business partner who’s out closer to you than me, Dr. Todd Hall, he and one of his Ph.D. students, john rug, did an analysis of the 24 character strengths from positive psychology. And they looked broader than that other character strengths to identify which character strengths were most important to effective leaders. And it came down to five number one was connection number two was compassionate love. Number three was humility. Number four was wisdom. And number five was courage. And so you look at many of those,they really are, you know, connection certainly increases connection, but so does compassionate love. So does humility increases when we care about others,that’s more the compassionate love part. When we care about people as human beings, then that connects us when we’re humble to realize that we don’t have all the answers and we seek others opinions and ideas that also connects us.So, you know, these are just a few ways of looking at the connection. It’s the thing that’s so interesting about connection is it you know, it’s powerful in terms of the effect it has on our lives. But it’s also there’s a lot of complexity and nuance and really understanding what creates a connection or what doesn’t, and also how the connection is different for different people, depending upon their biology and the cultures they’ve grown up in.
Rana Olk (Host): This is just occurring to me now. Is there a particular culture nation country that is suffering from disconnection or loneliness more than any other? Are you aware of anything like that you’ve been around this industry for longer?
Michael Stallard (Guest): Well, I, you know, I can’t say there’s good research on that, you know, just some of the factors you see, the connection is closed, it’s highly correlated with trust. And some of them, you know, countries like America historically, that have had a lot of different ethnic groups come to the country, they have 10 overtime become, you know,they’re open societies, they’ve tended to become pretty strong in terms of the trust. And one way Francis Fukuyama, who’s done some really great work on understanding trust, one of the things he looks at was what he calls intermediate associations and society. So that’s groups like, say, businesses or volunteer organizations that have come together with people who are not related by blood and they’ve built enough trust to work together an organization and nations like America, Canada, Australia, the UK, Japan, is also high trust, some of the nation’s that you find that are lower trust, we don’t see as many in blood-related individuals coming together to cooperate would be China, you know, Russia, you would also see that with Italy. And a lot of you might think that looking from the outside, but if you look at the intermediate organizations like corporations in Italy, most of them are family owned, so they’re not really people who are not related coming together and building trust, their family members who have come together and been successful, you know, things have great companies like Ferragamo, or there are some great machine tool companies that have come out of Italy.
And so some great companies, but it’s one indicator that trust is maybe not as high beyond the family there. And also, you know, true in China people, the trust in the family is greater than this with non-family members. So, you know, it’s, I would say,there’s isn’t really great research to tell us which countries are highest and connection. But I think that research on trust is probably a good indicator of the countries that have the highest connection and so America traditionally has been high in connection, but I think it’s becoming diminished as we’ve devalued relationships in business, and in where we locate geographically, because we’re so spread out from families that used to be together in the past.
Rana Olk (Host): And if we’re diminishing, I’m sure that the general seeming erosion of trust in our society is contributing to that.
Michael Stallard (Guest): Yeah, I, I think it goes it’s a dual relationship in the decline of trust is reducing connection. And the reduction in connection is reducing trust. So it becomes kind of two factors that are feeding on each other.
Rana Olk (Host): Oh, Michael, there’s so much more we could delve into. And you’ve been in this arena for, you know, close to two decades now. I’m very just beginning. So I feel like there’s still so much more I’d love to learn from you and so much more than our audience I hope knows as a result of this conversation. Before we go. Before I asked you my very last question, I want to ask where people can find you. Where do you prefer that they find you online? If they want to reach out have any questions, contact you? I will be sharing links to other interviews that you’ve done online. But where do you prefer they come?
Michael Stallard (Guest): Sure, they could look at my blog, which is Michaelleestaller.com and if you google anything close to that, it’ll come up. But our second side, if you’re more interested in the corporate side of our work, it’s connectionculture.com.
Rana Olk (Host): Great, thank you so much. And again, I’m going to also share the link to your fantastic book on Amazon. So for our listeners who don’t know, I’ll just say this. That was one of the first books I read about the connection in the organizations and corporations because I too thought, Oh, my gosh, it’s so important in our personalized, but then we spend so much time at work. And business has such a tremendous opportunity, businesses and corporations have an opportunity here to impact our culture. Overall, your book was one of the first that I read and so you were one of m yheroes. And so when I got to meet you, is really excited.
Michael Stallard (Guest): So thank you.
Rana Olk (Host): Thank you for writing that book. And I’m definitely going to share that what is one thing a listener could take action on starting today, right after they listen to this to improve their ability to either connect or to feel a bit more connected?
Michael Stallard (Guest): Well, one thing that we all can do is look for social sector organizations in our community that we can serve. And serving is also an up powerful way to connect serving eyes draws people together, who are serving others, and it connects us with the people we’reserving. And so especially this time of year, I think there are so many needs,my daughter is working for an organization right now that’s helping a lot of immigrants coming in from Central America, who, you know, they’re separated from their children, because there they are trying to find a way just to survive, that they’re willing to be separated to come up north to work to send money back home for the children who are staying with their grand the children’s grandparents.
And so, you know, we’re doing things to just, you know, raise money for coats for these guys who are working outside and in jobs.And so there are many things that we can do just in our own community to serve others this time of year, that also helped us build our skills at connecting with others. It could be soup kitchens, or even going in and being willing to do whatever work they need that day, it could be cleaning, or it’s surprising how much joy there is in serving alongside other people and helping others but then there’s actually scientists call it helpers. So there’s one quick tip that I think is very relevant this time of year, especially if you’re lonely, and there are many people who are lonely during the holidays. Just finding a way to serve in your community is a powerful way to bring joy to your life and help others.
Rana Olk (Host): That’s great advice. And I love that you brought up the fact that there are many people at this time of year that is feeling lonely. So this episode will be up first and out next week. So it might be very timely loved having you, Michael. Thank you. Thank you.
Michael Stallard (Guest): Right. Thanks for all your work. And just all the great information you’re bringing about connection and helping people realize this need they have for connection.
Rana Olk (Host): Thank you. Thanks. We’re going to keep working at it. I think both of us everyone, I hope that you’ll go check out the show notes. And there are, as Michael said, so many resources out there coming out about connection related to empathy, check your bookstore, check Amazon.This really is something that we need to get a handle on and I will also have the link for that signal loneliness study in our show notes. I think it’s worth a look. It’s very enlightening and we will talk to you next time. Thank you so much. Bye.