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This Land of Strangers - Robert E Hall

This Land of Strangers

"..the most important book of the decade." — Richard Boyatzis, co-author of best seller Primal Leadership

Relationships, in all their varied forms, have been the lifetime study of Robert Hall. He brings a rare combination of experience as a researcher, consultant, writer, teacher and CEO in dealing with the real-world relationship challenges of modern organizations. When coupled with a decade of hands-on experience in the gritty world of inner-city homeless families it translates into a tapestry of vivid stories, well-researched and oft startling facts, and strategic insights that weave together the yet untold narrative of society's gravest risk and most stellar opportunity.

About Robert Hall


Noted author, consultant, and speaker on the strategic impact of relationships.

For the past decade Robert has mentored inner-city homeless families. He helped pioneer a community-based, relationship-centric model for preventing homelessness, implemented in 25 communities. He has witnessed firsthand the power of relationships in addressing poverty and homelessness.

Previously, Robert co-founded and was CEO of ActionSystems for more than 20 years, growing it to a 200-person relationship training, consulting, and software company with offices in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, U.K., South Africa, and Australia. He created the company’s Relationship Banking training series designed to enhance customer and employee relationships. He also helped create the Managing Local Markets system that focused on building strong local market relationships. Under Robert’s leadership, the company implemented these comprehensive customer and employee relationship management systems in more than 100 major organizations spanning 20,000 local markets, touching over 100 million customers on six continents. These systems applied cutting-edge information and technology to enhancing customer relationships. Robert sold ActionSystems to a public company in 2000 and continued as the chief executive of that unit until 2003.

During his tenure as CEO, Robert was named a finalist for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year for the southwest region. Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business named his company one of the fastest growing privately held companies in Dallas.

Robert began his career at Arthur Young as a consultant to corporations and government.

Robert’s first book, The Streetcorner Strategy for Winning Local Markets, a business best-seller, broke new ground in the CRM (customer relationship management) movement. He has authored more than 150 published articles and research studies on the topic of relationships and leadership. His work has been published and discussed in Forbes, The CEO Magazine and the Huffington Post – where he is a regular contributor on leadership. His latest book, This Land of Strangers addresses society’s breathtaking relationship decline and its impact on major social issues such as poverty, education, and global competitiveness.   Richard Boyatzis, Harvard Ph.D. and co-author of the best seller Primal Leadership calls This Land of Strangers “the most important book of the decade.”

Robert is an acclaimed keynote speaker on relationships and has shared the platform at national and international conferences with such notables as: Bill Gates of Microsoft, Lew Platt,  CEO of Hewlett Packard, and Dick Kovacevich, CEO of Wells Fargo.  His not-profit keynotes include The Public Education Foundation Leadership Summit in Las Vegas, Values Aligned Leadership Conference at Colorado Christian University in Denver, National Guard Officer Association of Louisiana in Baton Rouge, Conference of Southwest Foundations in Colorado Springs and the Dallas Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Women’s Roundtable in Dallas.

Robert is a past Advisory Board member of Sales & Marketing Management, the University of Texas at Dallas Graduate Management School and Dallas Interfaith Housing Homelessness Prevention.  He currently coaches CEOs of public and private companies on issues of strategic direction, leadership and relationships.  He holds B.S. and M. A. degrees from Oklahoma State University where he was an instructor for two years. For 20 years he has taught an adult Sunday school class entitled “The Journey to Right Relationship.” Robert and Linda, his wife of 40 years, live in Dallas. They have two daughters.

Praise for Robert’s Work

■  ” When I first started reading Robert E. Hall’s book, This Land of Strangers, I was amazed at the research and data that he’d collected to explain how the breakdown of relationships is touching every aspect of our lives. Shortly after that, I heard him speak – and I was fascinated! He draws from current headlines and studies to explain the changes in society that make it so challenging to develop an engaged workforce. Then he proposes solutions.”

– Barbara Lane, Executive Director, HR Houston

■  ” Robert’s timely and informative presentation to a group of leaders of our denomination stirred robust conversation among the participants.  I am still hearing rave reviews about his presentation.  Robert’s personable delivery style and knowledge of the information put everyone at ease.  Even though the participants in the forum came from different disciplines, Robert’s workshop spoke to all in the room.  Relationships are the cornerstones that we in the foundation, education, conference center and children’s home field build upon daily.  ”

– Rev. Rick Young, President/CEO, Texas Presbyterian Foundation

■  ” I was thoroughly impressed with the content, presentation style, and the applicability of Robert’s presentation on ‘Navigating the Relationship Cliff.’  His presentation provided remarkable and immense value to our chapter as multiple chapter members stayed engaged asking questions long after the presentation end time.  We can’t wait for Robert’s next visit to our chapter.”

– Douglas Horn, VP, Professional Development, PMI Austin

Robert has been recognized for the strategic innovation of his ideas, his practical insight for translating ideas into effective execution, and his ability to generate passion for committed action. He modeled these qualities as a leader in the company he founded while helping client companies around the word inculcate them into their own organizations.

A summary of accolades for Robert’s work follows:

For his first book, The Streetcorner Strategy

■  “A clear and concise game plan for anyone interested in understanding what profitable, local markets are all about.”

– Bill Saporito,
 Member of the Board of Editors, 

■  “Robert Hall has not only been a pioneer on the subject of Customer Relationship Management, but provides advice on its most difficult aspect: successful implementation of a CRM strategy at the point of customer contact.”

– Thomas K. Brown, Founder and CEO of and Second Curve Capital

■  “Robert Hall has a gift for making clear what’s not working and why, in customer relationships. If you want to paint a vivid picture of the main challenges for your sales, marketing, and technology managers – how to build the right customer relationships at the point of customer contact – his book is the right place to start. It shows genuine insight into the customer viewpoint, and passion for getting it right.”

– Michael Hegarty, 
President and Chief Operating Officer, 

■  “Hall’s perspective is especially critical for companies who market to many parts of the world. The greater the differentiation in your markets, the more important local market management becomes. This book reflects some of the key components of our company’s game plan.”

– John Donaldson and Mark McCafferty,
 Managing Directors, Financial Services, Worldwide Travel-Related Business, 
Thomas Cook Group Unlimited
, London, England

■  “The fortunes and futures of retailers, banks, and other large organizations hinge on hundreds of decisions at the store and branch level. Hall presents a challenge and blueprint for ‘thinking local’ and building strategies around what matters most – the customer.”

– Anthony J. Rutigliano, 
Editor-in-Chief/Publisher, Sales & Marketing Management magazine


For his speaking

■  “Robert, your session was rated the highest of all.”

– Susan Sullivan-Sibert,
 Microsoft Inc.,
 Microsoft Global Summit

■  “Feedback from our members has been overwhelmingly positive.”

– Marisa J. Broka,
 American Bankers Association,
 ABA Annual Convention and Industry Forum

■  “Thank you very much for an insightful, educational, and interactive session. The feedback has been really positive.”

– Frank J. Calaguire, Vice President, Sales Operations, Hyatt Hotels Corporation

■  “Robert, you were terrific. Your warmth, professional image, and the content of your presentation spoke highly of your knowledge and enthusiasm for your subject. It is easy to see why your company is successful and your new book is being well received. You received the highest overall rating we have had in the last year.”

– George Hendley,
 Vice President of Programs, 
American Society for Training and Development International Conference and Exposition

■  “You were the top-rated Forum speaker. We are looking forward to a repeat performance.”

– Peter Yessne,
 Editor and Publisher, Staffing Industry Report,
 Staffing Industry Executive Forum

■  “Robert, many thanks for hitting the long ball for us at Brown-Forman. Everyone I spoke to mentioned how valuable your message was. The chairman referenced you and your strategy in his keynote address.”

– John Hoskins,
 Advantage Performance Group

■  Robert was selected by Bank Administration Institute to interview Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft, on the direction of technology as the lead-in to Robert’s keynote address at BAI’s annual conference in 1997 to an audience of 8,000.


For his monthly columns, articles and research

■  Robert has published more than 150 columns, articles, white papers, and studies on relationship.  He has been a regular contributor to publications such as The CEO Magazine, Huffington Post, American Banker, Sales & Marketing Management magazine.

■  His monthly ABA Bank Marketing magazine columns won APEX Editorial Advocacy Awards for Publication Excellence in 2008 and 2011.

■  “Robert’s columns have consistently been our highest rated.” Walter Albro, Editor, ABA Bank Marketing magazine

■  His landmark research report “Survival on the Front Lines: Best Practices in Building a Sale Culture,” for the Bank Administration Institute is one of their most purchased studies.

■  Robert has been interviewed by and quoted in:

    • Business Week
    • Los Angeles Times
    • The Dallas Morning News
    • American Banker
    • Computer World
    • Sales & Marketing Management magazine
    • Rocky Mountain News
    • Sydney Morning News (Australia)
    • European Financial Management Association (London)


For his leadership

■  Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business named his company, ActionSystems, one of the fastest growing privately held companies in Dallas.

■  Ernst & Young named Robert, co-founder and CEO of ActionSystems, a finalist for their Entrepreneur of the Year award in the southwest region.

■  The American Society for Training and Development named ActionSystems’ customer relationship management system for the Royal Bank of Canada the best training implementation at their annual conference.