Create Culture by Celebrating Small
Hate your work environment? Build rather than tear down. Whining reinforces negative environments. Celebrations build and reinforce positive environments.
Celebrations create culture.
Sadly, short-sighted leaders are stingy with positives and free with negatives. All they talk about is:
- What went wrong?
- What needs to be fixed?
- What fell short?
Negative celebrations build negative environments.
Additionally, thoughtless leaders reserve celebrations for “the big stuff.”
Celebrate more; celebrate small.
Ask these questions to colleagues and employees.
- What qualities do you respect in those around you?
- What do you love about your job?
- What’s going right?
Celebration in meetings:
End every meeting with affirmations, congratulations, and recognition.
Saying, “Great job,” keeps everyone doing a great job.
Power tip: Let small celebrations stand on their own. Little negatives at the end drain positives of their power.
- Pleasant attitudes. “Your positive attitude lifts the spirit in our office.” Don’t add, “You should try it more often.”
- Laughter. “I love the sound of your laugh.”
- Things others do that you can’t. “You’re great with upset customers.” Don’t add, “I wish I was.”
- Happy customers.
- The present. Don’t let past failure or future uncertainties prevent celebrating now.
- Human contact and relationships.
- Insights. The next time someone shares something they learned from a book, celebrate. Perhaps you don’t get it. They do, so celebrate.
Bonus: Transform criticism into celebration. “Thanks for caring for my success. What’s the next step?”
How do people feel when you’re around? Your answer explains the culture you’re building. Truth is, it explains the life you’re building.
How can leaders celebrate more and celebrate small?
In the safety world, celebrating small accomplishments and more often is one of the keys for creating a strong safety culture. Too often management waits until a milestone date hits (Quarterly, Annually) before celebrating no lost days of work or injury free days. As you might imagine, invariably someone gets hurt the day before the milestone, which translate into the injury not being reported, or as we say in the safety biz, the injury went underground. This can also happen when money is attached to the accomplish being celebrated.
Keep up the great work and Merry Christmas Dan
Great illustration Jim. Thanks for adding it.
Diversity of background and perspective in the LF community makes us all richer.
Merry Christmas to you too!
I really like your concluding question/remark Dan, “How do people feel when you’re around? Your answer explains the culture you’re building. Truth is, it explains the life you’re building.”
When leaders are consistent in their values with whatever ‘hat’ they’re wearing at the moment (Dad, coach, sister, neighbor, spouse) the power to impact others in a positive way is greatly improved. Thanks for the reminder and Merry Christmas!
Thanks for the good word and Merry Christmas to you too.
I would discuss on kindness, generosity and human contact. Last year one of my new friends suggested me not to talk or greet with security guards and peons. Initially I did not take it seriously. I thought that he is kidding. But next day he was serious and told that you are professor and does not look good for you to meet these people. People create different feeling and perception about you. People will not give you high regard. I was surprised and shocked. I politely tried to convince him. I told that these are also human beings and like us they are also doing their duties. Generally people around do not mingle with them, not talk with them and expect them to wish. So, If I talk to them, greet them, wish them which makes them happy, also make me happy. And that is the way I see the things. Since then he started creating distance with me. Though he is still my friend, but different philosophy.
I mean to say these small human contact have great meaning in creating culture of human, trust and relations.
Leaders irrespective of position, hierarchy or achievement, should celebrate small by creating a feeling of human touch and respect in the surroundings.
Your comment is powerful because it’s real, addresses a challenge, and reflects consistency in your values. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.
This totally rocks, Ajay!!!!! I share your philosophy. Who knows what difference your kind word makes in that person’s life? It could be a moment of happiness for being recognized as a valuable person, or it could have a huge ripple effect on everyone else he has contact with that day, especially his family. One thing is for sure, there is no negative side to acknowledging the worthiness of and being kind to every person you encounter.
On my boilerplate weekly status meetings, I have Accomplishments at the top.
Dan, your power tip is a great addition. Often people don’t want to seem over the top with their praise and so filled compelled to add that one point of ‘correction’. Not only does it deflate the praise, it is often the carry away the recipient is left with. Most of the positives haven’t stuck. This contributes to an unsafe culture lessening loyalty and reducing risk. Thanks for the post.
As you know Dan, I say celebrate mistakes, celebrate successes, so this blog dialed me in well. Absolutely! We have all kinds of recognition processes, cards, a formal employee recognition that gets both the recognized and recognizer in a drawing for appreciation options, and of course, most rewarding are the kind words of appreciation ‘in the moment’…those carry the most weight for me to receive.
Got me thinking, we have daily huddles to plan for the day, identify potential barriers and potential improvement options…but we don’t consistently celebrate. Sure we do some, but to ‘formalize’ the process by having each person identify one success you have had in the last 24 hours. Hearing it, ‘owning’ it and getting positive feedback—what a great way to start the day! Gonna try that out on Wednesday! Hey its past midnight on the east coast, Merry Christmas all!
Celebrate mistakes for therein lies the only path to learning.
Dan, thank you for an awesome post! These few small things are so true.
Celebrate small by celebrating individual successes with in your ranks. I think when employees see others being recognized they work harder for some successes (spotlight) too.
I’m going to share this with the undergraduate fraternity members I mentor. Thank you for sharing this!