Okay, you can stop tapping your fingers on the keyboard and breaking into your best rendition of Kool And The Gang! Here’s the deal… I met with several clients one-on-one this week. And, as I reflect on these sessions, one commonality stands out. After spending hours and hours reorganizing, restructuring, revamping, rebuilding, reevaluating, reflecting and so on – it can be a rather draining, exhausting and an overwhelming process for these guys. Personally, I’m passionate about the entire drill – it strengthens me. But, not everyone gets fired-up about it. Consequently, after each meeting, I take the final moments to motivate the leaders and celebrate all their positive attributes, efforts, and milestones. Most of these incredible A-class players put so much pressure on themselves; agonizing over mistakes, decisions, and failures as they see it. Therefore, taking opportunities to point out his/her amazing effort, growth, and extraordinary feat is vital for personal growth. It’s during these celebrations I notice the change in one’s demeanor from tense to elated, from overwhelmed to motivated. Yes, there’s a lot of work ahead as you strive for efficiency and excellence to take your staff or business to the next level. While you sharpen your skills, take time to enjoy the journey and appreciate the excursion. Leaders – let’s stop putting so much pressure on our organization, our team members, ourselves, and let’s take a moment to celebrate all that is triumphant.
Kevin and Jackie Freiberg are co-authors of “Nuts,” one of my favorite principle-centered leadership books. The Freibergs inspire managers to achieve beyond expectation in a non-traditional yet creative, authentic, and free spirited style (my personal favorite method) and says the following about the importance of celebrating with your team members:
- Call it gratitude, a sense of exhilaration, or emotional release, when we work hard and win, there’s something inside us that screams out, “Let’s celebrate!” And celebration has become a way of life…You don’t see much festivity and celebration in the corridors of corporate America. Under the cloak of “professionalism,” we’ve become too serious. Seduce by the mentality that says business, if conducted responsibly and effectively, must always be serious, we have grown heavy-hearted. Oh, we still celebrate, but in many organizations, celebrations lack real impact and joy. Perhaps this is because by not understanding the value of celebration we lack the passion for doing it right.
- Without celebration, we are robbed of the life and vitality that energizes the human spirit. Latent and undeveloped though it may be, there is within our nature as human beings as inherent need to sing, dance, love, laugh, tell stories, and celebrate. When we work in an environment where we are not encouraged to express this festive nature, part of our humanity is repressed and life becomes dull and spiritless. When this happens, our celebrative faculties, like unused muscles, begin to atrophy. Of course, this has a devastating impact on morale and productivity.
- Celebration inspires motivation and reenergizes people. Celebrations, even small and spontaneous ones, can recharge people’s batteries and leave them feeling refreshed. When people feel renewed, they think more clearly and their attitudes become more positive.
Before you sit down with your management team member to conduct your post-mortem, hand out your to-do list, or go over their performance evaluation, take time to celebrate the extraordinary. It’s fun, it’s motivating and inspires us to excel and work even harder toward obtaining the vision.