Celebrate Wins that Matter
Similar to resolutionists, organizations tend to set large goals that might even take years to achieve. Intentional celebration of meaningful steps of progress toward those audacious goals is an effective way to motivate our team members and prevent burnout along the way to achieving what matters most.
Connected to the Core Business
Progress vs. People
Small demonstrations of progress toward big organizational or individual goals are the wins that matter and should be celebrated. When we are thoughtful about celebrating progress that connects to the core business, we validate the actions of our team members. This is different than celebrating people, which can sometimes come off as trivial. “But if you focus on managing [acknowledging] progress, the management of people—and even of entire organizations—becomes much more feasible” (Amabile, 2011). Meaningful acknowledgement of the progress people have made reinforces the goal and builds momentum for continued success. Acknowledgement of progress made also connects our team members to the purpose of the work they do each day.
Positive vs. Negative
Worried that celebrating might be too fluffy? Don’t be. 88% of employees want to be acknowledged for great work, with more than one-third of employees preferring words of affirmation as the method of celebration (Rogers, 2017 & HRDive). Not only do celebrations matter to those responsible for getting the work done, they also don’t need to be elaborate or cost companies any money. Being positive, sincere, and specific about progress made does far more to move an organization forward than only ever being harsh about results. In fact, 70% of employees report that a simple “thank you” from leaders does wonders for morale and motivation (Madison, 2017). On the other hand, consistent negativity about a lack of results derails, demotivates, and can even paralyze progress.
Note: Not being negative does not mean we don’t hold our teams accountable. There is a difference between persistent negative feedback and critical performance conversations.
Celebrate Wins That Matter in 3 Steps
The first step in celebrating wins is to define a win. Establishing a goal is not enough. This is where the resolutionists likely went wrong. The lofty aim of reaching a goal weight was set, but what about the measures that would allow them to experience small wins and track progress? In our example, pounds lost would be a sensible measure of progress toward an overall desired weight. Measures of progress become the signals for celebration. Defining those with our team members adds clarity and regular opportunities for success.