CONGRATULATIONS and THANK YOU! We are in the home stretch of this series, and I appreciate you joining me each week.
Today is all about the importance of celebrating because it is the oil that your success engine requires to keep running. Let's start with a quick primer on engines.
"Any lack of engine oil in the system, or even dirty oil, will lead to extreme engine wear, and driving a car low on oil can lead to some pretty bad situations. If you run out of engine oil, your engine will fail. ... If the engine runs out of oil, it will start to grind, and then seize up, stalling the vehicle." (Feb. 16, 2012, carsdirect.com)
The great news is that adopting a celebratory mindset is easy to do, and enculturating this into your organization requires focused purpose and consistent execution. The key to creating a culture that appreciates and celebrates is frequency and quality. Here are the three basic principles to get you started.
Catch people doing the right things and acknowledge them at two to three times the frequency that you give them feedback about errors and missteps.
Reflect on the value and gifts that teammates bring to your work relationships and make a point of stating those openly.
Always be authentic and specific.
What I am proposing is not parties, contests, and awards; no budget is required. Nor am I recommending vague social media shout outs and pats on the back. In every instance, the communication I am espousing requires authenticity and specificity. [Top 10 Tips for Authentic Communication] Let's look at some specific examples.
Authentic appreciation is an ongoing conversation of positive, specific communication. It doesn't default to generalizations and labeling, such as smart, approachable, valuable, amazing, terrific, and so on. Replace these words with reporter details - who, what, when, where, how, and why it matters - just like the examples above. Making this shift requires intention and focus initially, but rest assured that it will quickly and easily become your default communication.
Let me leave you with a tip on increasing the frequency of celebration. Stop waiting for big events and milestones. Remember, celebrating is the oil to make your engine run optimally, so more frequent acknowledgment of progress is beneficial. While developing the habit, it may be helpful to set a daily reminder to catch someone doing something right and communicating your gratitude for their work using the authentic communication guidance above.
As of this writing, COVID-19 has sent many businesses into virtual operations. Celebrating and communicating ongoing appreciation is more important than ever when people are physically distant. Whether you send a quick message or jump on a video chat, take the challenge to model a culture of celebration and appreciation no matter your position or level, and add happiness to someone's day. Stay safe!