Make Sure You Show Appreciation (Even When the Economy Stinks!)

Remember the days when companies would spend thousands of dollars (hundreds of thousands?) on lavish celebrations and parties to reward their team for the tiniest effort? Those days have been gone for a while — along with a lot of the companies who spent so lavishly. CelebrationBut does that mean making an effort to show appreciation to your team doesn’t exist anymore? Especially during tough economic times? Absolutely not.

Celebrations of success are important to the health and wellness of your team. Don’t get so caught up in the day-to-day work routine that you forget to step back and celebrate your team’s successes. You might have team members who think celebrations are “silly.” But I guarantee, deep down inside, those team members appreciate the effort whether they show it or not.

Successes are the “motivating fuel” that keep all of us pushing toward achieving the “bigger and better” goals that we set. If you want to maintain your team’s high performance, you simply must do something to show it matters.

Don’t Get Stuck on What’s Wrong

Think for a minute about the type of team interaction and discussions that normally occur on a day-to-day basis within your team. If your team is typical, regular discussions probably follow these themes.

  • What’s going wrong with the current project.
  • Recovering from changes that impact your product or service schedule negatively.
  • How to satisfy a disgruntled customer.

If all of your team interactions focus on what’s wrong, think about what happens over time. Team members lose sight of the positive things they do. This can have a demoralizing affect on a team and your company. Don’t let that happen.

Create a Team Celebration Plan and Stick to It

Team celebrations help a team bond together and maintain focus on their common goals. Celebrations can help team members deal with stressful changes and prevent “burn-out.” Even the smallest celebration can provide revitalization for your team. Has your team celebrated any successes lately? What did they celebrate? How did they celebrate? For some teams, it’s necessary to add structure to the celebration process to ensure that they make the time to celebrate success.

If you can’t remember the last time your team celebrated something, it’s high time for a change.

So here’s your next challenge. Use this three step process to create a celebration plan for your team — and stick to it! It’s easy. First you’ll identify what to celebrate, then determine how and last you’ll create a celebration action plan. Ready?

1. Identify What To Celebrate

It’s important to determine what events or activities the team should celebrate. These can be major events like a completed project or events that help the team reach a small milestone. Get your team together and brainstorm a list. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Identifying and solving a major roadblock (e.g., customer or quality related issue)
  • Taking on added responsibility
  • Adding new team members
  • Dealing with a project crisis

2. Determine How To Celebrate

Next, identify how you could celebrate. Again, with your team together, brainstorm some celebration activities. These don’t have to be major. They could be fun stress relievers or activities that help make your team more visible to upper management. Try on these ideas, then come up with some of your own.

  • Create a presentation for upper management highlighting the team’s achievement. Present with all team members in attendance
  • Have the entire team meet with a customer during an on-site visit
  • Invite a senior manager to your team meeting
  • Bring snacks to a team meeting
  • Put congratulatory posters on the wall
  • Send a thank you note
  • Have a pizza party

Team celebrations don’t have to be expensive, time consuming, or difficult to plan. Team celebrations can be formal or impromptu.

The key is that it must be sincere.

3. Create Your Team’s Celebration Action Plan

Create a celebration action plan for the team for (at least) the next six-month time frame. Once the action plan is created, have your team plan the first celebration that will occur in the coming months. This gives them something to look forward to while accomplishing team objectives.

It will take a little effort on your team’s part to complete this process, but the payback in productivity will be worth it. Get going. It’s time to celebrate!

Never underestimate the power of saying “thank you” face-to-face. It won’t cost you a dime. 🙂

What do you think? How does your team celebrate success?

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