I am grateful to Christina Lattimer at People Discovery Group for publishing this article in the latest Issue of The Extra Mile. Click here to read more fascinating articles from business and thought leaders around the world.
There are so many reasons to celebrate! And as we wrap up the final weeks of the calendar year, the reasons seem more obvious than usual. I truly love the sense of excitement and thoughts of giving that seem to fill the air. Many businesses, however, can do a much better job at using this energy to sustain their growth.
I don’t suggest a bigger or better holiday party. Regardless of size, location, format, or lavishness, one party will not make up for a year’s worth of underappreciated effort, and elegant trophies will only motivate a select few people to give more next year. In fact, many of these efforts cause more damage (in the form of resentment, de-motivation, unsustainable practices, and spike-then-gap patterns) than the good they intend to celebrate.
One of my favorite ideas by Zig Ziglar is his response to why motivation doesn’t last. He says that, “Motivations only lasts about as long as a shower. That’s why we suggest it daily.”
Celebrate Every Moment is about promoting positive reinforcement. I doubt there is a person in the world who would rather hear a harsh critique than a sincere compliment. Yet, the biggest reason employees leave organizations is because they feel underappreciated.
Regular recognition, throughout the entire year, has the ability to increase individual productivity and drives both trust and engagement among colleagues. It creates stronger bonds between employee and employer, not only reducing turnover, but also the overall health and safety of everyone – regardless of industry. And it also builds a culture of recognition that can eventually become the norm. If you have visited a business (such as, Trader Joe’s, Nordstrom, Disney, Ritz-Carlton, etc.) known for top-notch service and happy employees; you will understand how the atmosphere they create actually draws quality employees as well as loyal customers.
Here are some tips to incorporating Celebrate Every Moment into your business:
- Create simple criteria for identifying moments worthy of recognition. Once performance/attitude standards are defined, exceptional is not only understood, but much easier to deliver by everyone.
- Develop a consistent language or method of communication. Create a clever name for your program, and make it easy for people to give recognition. It could be a sticker, card, a wooden nickel, or full-blown internal website, as long as it is simple and convenient to use.
- Grant everyone the ‘authority’ to give and receive recognition. Not just the bosses, supervisors, and managers. The real power of recognition comes from tangential observations and peers. Include people outside your business (clients, mail carriers, vendors, etc.) who go above or beyond in your presence.
- Design it to create a sustainable habit throughout the organization. Suggest quotas (like giving 10 recognitions weekly) to encourage everyone to be on the lookout for good deeds. Start off every staff meeting with 5 recognitions. Make it ever-present, but not overkill.
- Adhere to the Rule of Individualization – Individuals respond best to their preferred style of praise. The main styles of praise are public, private, written, and verbal. It is often offensive and demotivating to present recognition in the wrong style.
- Be Sincere about it! Be sure to specifically identify the action being celebrated
One critical note; increasing the number of celebrations is not a matter of ignoring the bad, unfortunate, or inopportune situations that do arise. They must be dealt with intelligently. But with a foundation of sincere recognition for incredible behavior and decision-making, the frequency of such incidents is drastically reduced.
As we head into ‘celebration season’, note the energy and excitement among your people, the number of smiles on faces, the gifts being shared, and the impact it has on your business. Celebrations are simply emotional fuel that can be put towards helping individuals and teams grow stronger together, or to tear them apart.
I wish you many great celebrations to come!