An engagement tale from Brian the Snail

Managers interested in employee engagement could learn a thing or two from Brian the Snail.

Twenty-six days after starting the London Marathon, Lloyd Scott, dressed as the Magic Roundabout’s Brian the Snail, crossed the finish line.  Whilst he paced the route at a rate of approximately one mile a day, Lloyd crawled across broken glass, nails and dog faeces, endured cramps, vomiting, nose bleeds and a trip to A&E, all to raise £20,000 for the charity, Action for Kids.

Lloyd, who is passionate about helping to transform the lives of others, is not new to extreme fundraising or marathons.  Last year he took five days to finish the course in a deep-sea diving outfit, and on previous occasions he’s participated as St George and the Dragon, the Iron Giant robot and The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine.  So it’s not surprising to discover he has a criteria for events:  they should be “a real challenge, put a smile on people’s faces, have the ability to raise large amounts of money, and be fun for all involved”.

Whilst this doesn’t mean that managers or their teams should dress up for work as a 9ft snail or other cartoon/historical character (unless of course that is their wont), Lloyd’s criteria does raise a number of points that managers can learn from.

First, when a person is set a challenge which is aligned to their values and which they can really believe in, they’re more likely to stick at it.  So it makes sense to harness people’s passion and sense of meaning or purpose in life.

Second, goal achievement helps people develop their feelings of self-efficacy, i.e. the belief in “I can”, which means that they are more likely to repeat the effort and try new things.  Goal-achievement is also related to people’s feelings of competency, which is one of the three psychological needs for self-motivation.  So consider which goals will stretch your people, enable them to play to their strengths, and what conditions and resources they will need. 

Third, positive emotions help undo the physical effects of negativity and stress, and can boost people’s creativity, openness to information, flexibility and willingness to explore options.  Plus a ratio of around 6:1 positive to negative emotions are found in high performing teams.  So introduce ways to boost your staff happiness.

Fourth, involving others is another way of boosting motivation.  Specifically it links to the psychological need for belonging or relatedness.  So think about how you can encourage your team to positively interact, be connected to and experience caring for others.

Thus we have learned how Lloyd was engaged to complete 26.2 miles.  To learn other ways of how you might engage and motivate your staff to go at least an extra mile, contact gill@unisonmedia.co.uk





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