How to Help Snails Keep Up
Who’s falling behind? Thriving organizations leave those who don’t grow, behind. Change leaves those who don’t change frustrated, wondering what happened.
The puzzle changed and they don’t fit.
Helping snails keep up:
Successful leaders are people watchers. Know who’s falling behind.
Watch people first and performance second.
- Energy levels. What drags down?
- Frustration levels. What frustrates?
- Happiness levels. What energizes?
- Development levels. What training or initiatives captivate their attention?
- Change levels. What’s changing in them or their circumstances?
Performance is about people. Capable people, who fit in, love delivering the goods, when they believe in the mission. How are you enhancing capacity, building health, and aligning with mission? How are you helping others fit in?
Performance is a result; people are the end.
Go positive not negative. Positive motivates. Positive interactions create positive environments. If all you do is fix problems, all you’ll see are problems to fix.
Publically affirm attitude, first. Praise performance later. Organizations that value transparency and authenticity should publically acknowledge it when it’s seen, for example. If you value positive environments, cheer those who cheer others.
Honor people before praising performance.
Look through behaviors; speak to attitudes. Build spirit and soul. Connect. But, don’t neglect performance.
Placing people first builds foundations for tough conversations about performance later. Build relationships. Affirm people. Connect. Think how they think.
High performance energizes healthy people.
Call for exceptional. Low performance frustrates healthy people. “People first” isn’t lowering expectations. Go ahead, raise the bar. Healthy people rise up.
Pour into them if you expect them to pour out for you.
Strong relationships result in strong performance, but you must call for it. On the other hand, when people complain, “They’re never satisfied,” you’ve built lopsided, negative environments.
How can leaders help snails?
I agree with you on the transparency and people first concept. In the system, leadership practices have major influence upon snails (employees) growth. I have seen two factors that play strong role in influencing employees behavior. They are policy execution transparency and management decision integrity. Generally policies are made in good intention but the way they are executed and management interpret it, differs from organization to organizations. It also differ from leaders to leaders. Secondly, management decision create culture where employees either trust or do not trust management. Many times management taking decision does not take accountability when something goes wrong. Alternatively, they blames other factors for the failure. Here comes the leadership integrity. True leaders take full accountability and stand up to say that yes, I take responsibility. Leaders in second category often make culture of trust and confidence.
And this is the way leaders can help snails to grow.
Thank you Ajay.
I hear transparency in management as a fundamental to helping snails. Don’t we hate it when we believe others have hidden agenda’s? Isn’t it demotivating when we feel we’re in the dark.
For goodness sake, turn the lights on. Obviously don’t violate HIPAA, for example.
Leaders/managers who are afraid to turn the lights have too many secrets, practice manipulation, don’t trust their people to handle the truth, haven’t equipped others… and the list goes on..
Thanks for getting me thinking.
We need feedback on how we’re doing in order to grow in the right direction and how we contribute value to the organization. Good leadership MUST understand how to use the feedback tool (review) properly to build from people (the foundation) up. Great timing; working on a performance review post right now. Thanks for great comment.
Thank you Jim.
I can’t believe a post on performance doesn’t have the word feedback in it!! 🙂 So glad you added it.
During a recent presentation, I took a swipe at traditional performance reviews. Many in the audience applauded. We are often frustrated by current feedback models. But, healthy people love feedback…. we all want to know if we are succeeding and how we can do better.
What if the snail doesn’t respond to multiple attempts to build a relationship? What if their inability to build relationships is the reason for them becoming the snail?
Thanks Bradley. Great question.
The question I’d ask myself is, “How can others learn how to build relationships with others?” How can we see the value of relationships?
Of course, if you are in a relationship-based organization, someone who refuses to build relationships doesn’t fit.
How can this snail be approached with their best and the organization’s best in mind? How can those two bests be aligned?
How can you connect with them in ways that don’t threaten?
Ultimately, are they worth the time, energy, and effort from an organizational point of view.
You have my best.
We are relationship-based and we have some great people. They work hard and have adopted new processes that have improved our effficiencies tremendously. The downside is it only takes one to create inefficiencies.
I agree. Some snails just dont fit. I have a great deal of respect for my supervisor and he would agree that this snail does not fit. Unfortunately, neither of us have the ability to give him the opportunity to succeed somewhere else. That would have to come from higher up.
I have learned a great deal from observing one snail in a relationship-based organization and I know to not turn my back on it if I ever am in a position to recommend different routes for people.
Thanks again and keep up the great work.
“Strong relationships result in strong performance.”
Dan, every now and then a leadership truth is shared that I call a “game changer”.
That line you’ve shared, connecting relationships with performance, is such a game changer.
I’ll be thinking on, and hopefully acting on, that truth for some time.
Thank you Scott.
I guess, sometimes when we’re working on a leadership morsel for the day..something more happens. Very humbling and encouraging.
Someone should study the premise: the better the relationships the better the performance.
What types of relationships?
How to “institutionalize” relationship building?
Now I have more questions than ever.
It’s all about the people and the relationships we make to help us reach our goals. Without acknowledging the people and showing empathy for their specific needs, not much will be achieved. Great leaders work hard at influencing others and helping them build capacity for change. It’s important to recognize people’s expertise and what they have to contribute to the good of the whole organization. And it’s equally important to identify their concerns and apprehensiveness about change initiatives. Smart leaders are listeners and keen observers of people’s behaviors and responses to change. Great post as always.
Thank you Tagrid.
“Help others build capacity for change” now there is an interesting training initiative. We are always leaders change things… Maybe we need to start saying… Leaders increase the capacity of others to embrace and instigate change!! KaPow
Am reminded of the adage that successful companies hire for attitude and train the skill sets which should translate to positive performance. However, often, the HR filter/metric is a skill set, so there can be a disconnect from the get-go.
As long as the snail is motivated to learn and does not have a fixed belief that because s/he has XYZ training, title, or skills, s/he doesn’t need to learn any more, the potential is there to be uncovered, nourished and flourished-via an ongoing feedback process. Not that I am saying feedback is fertilizer, but….it is.
Thank you Doc.
“Feedback is fertilizer.” I didn’t miss that one!! KaChing-a-LING… 🙂
PS… If feedback is fertilizer, offices should stink.
Who is in the people business? All of us.
People are go to or away from. They will motivate themselves to get praise OR to avoid pain.
Figure out which and goes a long way towards encouraging to do what u want them to.
Thank you Scott.
You remind me that someone said, We should get over the notion that motivation is something we do to others rather than something we do for ourselves.
The title reminded me of a staff member we had years ago that many people had felt was not going to grasp some of the concepts we were working with. He was a good worker but people believed there were limits to his ability to learn the industry.
What he needed was someone who believed in him and would push him to reach is potential. He is now the CEO of local business where he went to work as a staff member when he left us.
The impact of your decision to invest in a person on your staff can be very far reaching. And often all you need to do is believe.
Thank you Bonnie.
NOw isn’t that a kick in the pants. I can hear someone saying, perhaps this person didn’t fit in the organization. I suppose that is always possible. Perhaps the organizations should have found the fit. 🙂
Hi Dan. Publicly affirm attitude- absolutely! I recetnly hired two ‘young’ staff and both of them based entirely on attitude not experience, 3 months down the track and the whole organisation is benefitting, we’re having more fun, changing more stuff, and having everyone realise the workplace can be a greatplace.
Thank you Richard.
Congratulations! And thanks for sharing a motivating example. Love it!
Hi Dan. I enjoyed your post! I feel that my workplace needs more of a positive environment and less focus on the negative. When positive things happen, they don’t provide enough acknowledgement/praise and it leaves people feeling like “snails”. The loyalty and trust is very much needed in building a strong organization – a team!
Great wisdom Dan.
High performance is such a key driver these days.
But by putting people first talent can flourish.
And then outcomes become a reflection of a thriving collective leadership spirit.
management should not compete with snails, management should not compete period, when they do they turn a positive energetic employee to a snail
Love your thots.
As leaders, we all need to be reminded that “People are the end”.
My concern is that we don’t too quickly label people as ‘snails’.
They might just be performing at a different pace when compared to others (esp. those are who are naturally high performers).
I think if their attitude is right, and have a teachable attitude, the performance always has room to grow! =)