Motivate Your Team with Celebrations Big and Small

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There is never enough time in the day as small business owners work tirelessly to keep their business running and their customers satisfied. Everyone has so much to do and it’s easy to get stuck in the hamster wheel of moving from one thing to the next without stopping to acknowledge the accomplishments along the way. 

Celebrating wins is a critical part of being a team. Last month, we talked about the importance of gratitude. Expressing genuine appreciation is good for you, your team, and your business. Celebrations, specifically, play a key role in making sure your employees feel valued, connected, and motivated.  

Celebrate and Engage Your Teams

As I discussed this month’s topic with Ashley, my virtual assistant, she shared her past experience with celebrations as a high-level corporate events planner. There were always several large events in the pipeline, requiring hard work all year long and 20-hour days the week of an event. This was followed by only a few days to rest and recover before the work picked right back up for the next event. Fortunately, a new manager came along and recognized that more was needed to mark the accomplishment of pulling off each event. He would bring the smaller planning team in for a morning meeting following each event to evaluate how everything went and what could be improved in the future. Then he promptly sent each person off with a spa gift card to use that afternoon. The deliberate stop in the routine and intentional celebration made the end of an event feel more like an achievement, and everybody came back ready to hit the ground running afterwards. 

That wasn’t the full extent of celebration, however. Ashley described a post-event dinner at a fine dining restaurant that included all the people who staffed the event, and then a theater rental and movie experience to include their families too. Each celebration and its nuances provided unique motivation and connection among staff. Together, the company’s efforts sent a strong message about its values. Employees felt important and appreciated. They could count on and look forward to these celebrations, which kept them going in between events as well.  

How to Stop and Celebrate

A celebration is defined as honoring an event or occasion and it can take on a lot of different looks. What’s common among all celebrations is that we stop. We stop what we would normally do every other day so we can mark something going on in our lives. In a workplace setting, the memories of past accomplishments and the feeling of celebrating them motivate team members as they move forward to the next goal. As a small business owner, and without the staff and budget that bigger corporations can dedicate to this purpose, you have to be especially intentional about celebrations. 

  1. Celebrate small wins within bigger goals. If you wait for a big business milestone or the completion of a project, you and your team are missing out on the motivation that comes from celebrating the smaller accomplishments along the way. Whether your team is halfway to a goal or has completed a subsegment of a project, your business will do better and move faster when you stop to celebrate these smaller wins because you can build on them for what comes next.
  2. Celebrate people within your team. Sometimes leaders don’t stop to give attention to the great things they see going on around them because they’re so caught up in everything else they’re doing. Make it a point to celebrate more than the actual accomplishments of a group by recognizing the people who are giving it their all, whether they're the shining star or behind the scenes keeping things moving forward ever so slightly every single day. Positive feedback takes nothing from us as leaders, yet it gives so much to the people receiving it. Let those employees know that you see them and their contribution matters. Individual employee recognition and celebration are critical parts of building and strengthening your team and keeping them engaged.
  3. Recognize the emotional benefits of celebration. Celebrating feels good! More specifically, as outlined in The Science of Celebration, it reduces stress, releases neurotransmitters that build happiness and contribute to social bonding, strengthens teams and loyalty, and improves productivity. When employees are happy, healthy, and sharing in the joy of success you’ll see less burnout and a better work environment overall. With all those benefits, why wouldn’t you want to celebrate? 

People are more engaged when they are working in their energizers, doing the work where they make the biggest impact, and that work is celebrated. They're going to be more motivated to continue to pour into reaching goals, connecting to customers and making the business vision a reality. Celebrating wins in community makes them exponentially better. When the win is shared, it’s multiplied. Together, we take time away from the hamster wheel to step back and really see what we’ve accomplished. We then come back refreshed and ready to work. 

The Inflection Point Hub 

The Inflection Point Hub is a group of small, but mighty, businesses owners positioned for intentional growth. Jeff Heyer-Jones, president of SparkEvolve, and I are building this peer advisory community to bring those small business owners together. With the right people in your corner, you can explore your own leadership, work through challenges and implement the necessary systems to reach your future goals. For those looking for a community where they can find support and inspiration, The Inflection Point Hub is for you. In addition to being part of this cohort of like-minded people, you’ll also have access to curated experts and other resources. Learn more about what you'll get with your membership and apply today.

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