Have we forgotten how to celebrate success?


I spent my Saturday evening watching a cultural dance performance. The hall was packed with family members and friends of the dancers. The dancers had taken months to plan and rehearse to put up the show. They had a tight timeline. Their dance costumes were all tailor-made to the individual and to suit the dance segment. With the time and resources ploughed in, there is no way but to pull it through successfully.

Sounds like a project that you are working on? Hold on, something’s not.

As soon as the dancers and instructors take their bow, and the curtains close, they broke into huge cheers of euphoria. As they leave the stage to their families and friends, they were greeted with flower bouquets and group hugs. Keep that feeling you have of that celebratory mood in your mind.

Now, when was the last time you felt this way when you celebrated your team’s success or at any of the previous “appreciation sessions” you have attended?

Have we forgotten how to celebrate Success?

4 things to be mindful of in truly celebrating your team’s success and making appreciation sessions work

1) Don’t Make Celebration a Chore

Imagine completing a project that has expended the team’s energy, just to be assigned to organise or turn up with duties at the post-project appreciation session. If it sounds like it turns you off, it definitely turns the team members off. And you end up with team members infecting one another with the do-it-for-the-sake-of-doing, it’s-not-my-KPI, what-am-I-doing-here mood.

If the celebration is worth it, make it simple and spontaneous. It need not always be the team leader planning and executing the celebration. The people persons/extroverts in your team might have terrific ideas on how to celebrate. Set a budget, be open to ideas and contributions from team members. At times, you do need to acknowledge that the team might really not be in the mood for an elaborate celebration,

If it’s a work project that you are celebrating, you might also want to consider the profile of the team in determining whether you should hold it during work hours or off hours.

2) Determine the purpose of the Celebration

Is there any one you would particularly like to spotlight for his contributions to the team? Remember to consult other members in your team to eliminate “blind spots”. You won’t want someone to walk away feeling that he or she contributed equally or more than the person you spotlighted.

Keep the agenda simple. Keep the atmosphere positive and celebrate the successes. You can choose a different occasion to pinpoint errors and mistakes.

3) Never entirely outsource  the organising of the appreciation session

Because no one knows the team better than you do.

4) Focus on celebrating

Avoid conducting official debrief during appreciation sessions. Spare a thought for the note-taker. The official element in the programme might also set the tone for the session.

This post was first published on Fong Yoong Kheong‘s LinkedIn Pulse.

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