Something you have probably noticed in your own life and work experiences, is that when things get stressful (and at some point they always do), people tend to have different responses to it.

Some people seem completely unprepared for the stress, and begin to respond by getting short with people, driving anxiety levels even higher. While they may resolve the short term issue, often times they create new, larger problems by way of their reaction.

Other people, facing the same stress, seem to become even more calm than they normally are, extending that sense of calm to those who they are engaging, and as a result they bring perspective to the situation at hand and create better outcomes for all.

In the business world, the by-product of not handling stress well is called “Churn Rate”. If you Google that term, the definition that you get is:

“the annual percentage rate at which customers stop subscribing to a service or employees leave a job.”

High churn rates kill companies. It costs way too much to successfully gain a customer or to hire a quality employee to turn around and lose them. In other words… high churn rate means you are actually losing money for every customer you gain or employee you hire.

The difference between companies that have a low churn rate and a high churn rate (assuming they are both delivering a reasonably competent product or service) is this…

Companies with a low churn rate usually manage relationships over metrics.

It’s not that both companies don’t feel the same stress. It’s that they view it differently. One company sees a stressful scenario as a challenge to key metrics that the company “has to hit” and manages the situation to that end no matter what. The other company sees the stressful situation as a threat to their relationship with the customer and or employee (usually both are at stake at the same time), and understands that the metrics need to take a back seat in that moment to ensure the long term relationship remains.

Stress is a competitive opportunity for companies that are leaders.

Every company experiences it, but how you handle it in the eyes of your customers and your employees will be the difference between growth and shrinking.

Manage relationships over metrics, and your metrics will be much healthier in the long run.

To the opportunity of stress… on the Grind.

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