All to often we overlook the importance of celebration—both in life and in business. Celebrating successes, completions, solutions, and milestones all serve to provide us with a moment in time in which we can acknowledge and honor what has come before, and then embark on the next leg of the journey with a lightness of heart and vigor for doing it again.
On a personal level I’ve found that failing to honor my accomplishments almost serves to diminish them—that it’s as if I’m saying, “no big deal, it’s just another day.” Well maybe it is just another day, yet anytime we break through a barrier, no matter how small or large, we have an opportunity to acknowledge and reckon with the fact that we are on the right course, and by affirming our course we receive the spirit and passion to keep moving forward.
On a business level, if we fail to honor our accomplishments we can stifle creativity and innovation because we are sending a message to the team that breaking through barriers or completing projects are merely what is expected of them—it’s just what they do to receive a paycheck.
Well, maybe it is what we expect of the team, but why not take advantage of the opportunity to generate positive vibrations by boosting the self-esteem of our teammates, elevating morale, and adding fun to the culture. It may seem like a little thing, almost trivial, but the work of strengthening culture is very much about focusing on the subtle and intangible ways in which we do what we do.
And yet, celebration doesn’t have to mean “party.” It doesn’t have to involve alcohol, music and dance, and it doesn’t have to be complicated or involved. It can be really simple. It can mean pizza night in the office and taking time to set the work aside and just socialize over some good food. It could mean taking five minutes to crank up the “I’m So Happy” song or a little KC and the Sunshine Band just to lighten the air. It could mean taking time in the weekly staff meeting to genuinely and authentically acknowledge the good works of others. It could be as simple as high-fiving the team and saying good job.
I’ve found that formalized employee recognition systems are almost counter-productive because they lack spontaneity and have too much structure to them. Then there are employees who work really hard and yet their efforts are consistently overlooked.
That’s why really simple, spur of the moment, genuine expressions of appreciation are so important. The only trick to making this work is to recognize that we are not doing a thing for the purpose of acknowledging a person or a team, we are pausing to take time, set work aside, and genuinely celebrate. It means we have to be willing to have fun with our teammates. It means we have to care.
Tip of the Week
Take time to consider your team and search for the one person who is an unsung hero and whom you know in your gut that it would really suck if they walked out the door. This person is most likely the one person on your team who needs to be acknowledged the most. We know that everyone is replaceable, but let’s face it, there are those who are so uniquely engrained into a special role in your company that it would take three people to replace them. Large organizations in particular are terrible at recognizing who these people are in their organizations, and yet they are so important to the flow of getting things done. Discover who those individuals are in your organization and celebrate with them.