Think perfection is impossible? Mostly, I would agree, but somehow, Bob’s managed it.
He has a 100% approval rating on Glassdoor (both him, and his company!) So, I had to hear from him how he’s doing it!
Here’s what we’re unpacking today:
- Why the worst thing an employee can do is “quit and stay” at a company
- The importance of transparency with employees
- How to have “mindful transitions” with your employees
This post is based on a podcast with Bob Glazer. If you’d like to listen to the full episode, you can check it out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or here.
You wrote a post on LinkedIn — ‘The Most Toxic Employees in Your Company Aren’t the Ones Who Quit’ — What do you mean by that?
Bob Glazer: I talk a lot about having more open transitions. I actually did a TED Talk on this. We have a program called Mindful Transition here, where we just facilitate open conversations when people may want to do something different. They might be working here and interviewing elsewhere. People will often say to me, “How can you have someone work there if they’re going to leave? Aren’t you worried they’re going to start destroying your company?” I say, “Look, the people who are going to do that, have already done that.”
Essentially, the people who “quit,” but stay, are the most toxic people to your organization. They have decided they’re gone. You just don’t know it yet. So you’re just comfortable in the unknown. I would rather know that an employee is moving on than having them just sit there collecting a paycheck until they can find something better. The people who quit and leave do you a favor. The people who quit and stay? A huge problem.
What are the best practices to encourage open conversation about someone possibly moving on to another company?
Bob Glazer: So first of all, as the company grows, you have, if you will, a supply curve. If you’re growing at 40% a year, people might need to get 40% better a year, just to stay in the role. This is why someone who was struggling could now be doing better, because maybe they do better with bigger teams. On the flipside, where someone was doing well, maybe now they’re struggling, because they went from being a doer to becoming a manager. So, I’ve consistently heard this stat, that every time your company doubles, you break half your people and half your processes.
This is where honesty comes in: “Hey, do you like this role? Is this what you want to do? Can we find something else for you to do? Or, frankly, do you want to go find another company, and do that same role that we don’t have anymore?”
But what happens is that, rather than have an uncomfortable conversation and lean into the relationship, we psychologically distance ourselves from the person when we know we have to have an uncomfortable conversation. And, we make them out to be kind of a bad person so that we feel better. That’s just not productive for anyone.
Here at Acceleration Partners, we try to do a bunch of different things. We have quarterly check-ins that all end with, “Are you happy, are you present, are you engaged?” We have a weekly pulse that are all of our employees get. They get a question and anonymous comments. We have town halls. We have tons of ways to get feedback, so that we try to catch things early on and address them, before they become a real problem down the line. Often times, if one person has the problem, then maybe multiple people have the problem.
Your company (& you) has a 100% approval rating on Glassdoor. How?
Bob Glazer: My thing is, we just try to be honest with people. We think we’re a great place to work for certain type of people, and not for everyone. We do what we say and we say what we do. If people don’t like working at Acceleration Partners, I think they would say, “You know what? They are very consistent with what they say and what they do, and it’s not for me.”
1 of the things you wrote recently on your Friday Forward, is this whole idea around accountability. Can you unpack that?
Bob Glazer: We wanted people who would think ahead and plan. Instead of playing a million positions, we wanted people to own one KPI. So we updated 1 of our core values to own it, and it’s really become part of our vernacular. And we say to people, “Look, you just own this. You own the good, the bad, and the ugly related with it.”
There’s an amazing book, Extreme Ownership, that we read, by Jocko Willink. Basically, the point is: It’s just so much better to think, “Yeah, my fault. Here’s what I could’ve done better,” rather than start looking out the windows everywhere when stuff goes wrong.
Sangram: I’m talking directly to the people who are in positions that Bob talked about, which is, they’re in this quitting zone right now. And I’m thinking, as Bob put it: Quit and leave if you really care about the people who you report to, or the business, and for yourself, or your own personal sake, quit and leave, instead of quit and stay. Greatness only comes when you let go of certain things, and get hold of certain things.
Number two: For everyone who thinks “I want to be super productive,” they should consider this: If your company’s growing at 40%, you need to take action, and look at yourself. Are you growing at 40%? If your company is growing at 100%, are you growing 100% percent?
And then, the last part: I want people to subscribe to your Friday Forward.
Bob Glazer: My challenge, and something I actually talk about in my upcoming book, Elevate, would be, I think a lot of people struggle on the difference between urgent and important. And they never get these big things done, because they’re constantly kind of checking off these little things. And to me, it’s amazing what you can get done, when you sort of align and reprioritize. So, I would say, take something big that you’ve wanted to do, whether it’s writing a book, getting a new job, whatever it is this next quarter, define where you want to be in 90 days. Break that out into 12 weeks, 12 steps that you can take towards that thing. And then each week, do something that day towards that weekly step. And again, you’re allocating maybe 10 or 30 minutes of time each day to, that you’re taking away from looking at people’s food on Instagram or Facebook or elsewhere. You’re putting it all in domino line. And I promise you, at the end of that quarter, if it was the first 100 pages of your book or something, you will have that done. But if you just sit there and say, “I want to write a book, I want to write a book,” it sits as this monolithic goal that you’ll never actually achieve, because it seems really hard, rather than what you really need to do this quarter is, write half a page every day of your book.