Champion Leadership Tip #45 – Celebrate the “Wins” on the Journey to the Championship

Since I began coaching and consulting with organizational leaders about five years ago, I noticed many relatively successful organizations struggling with employee motivation, focus and morale.

For the longest time I couldn’t figure out what it was.

Then, one night a couple of years ago I was watching a New York Rangers hockey game. When the game ended with Rangers winning on their home ice, Madison Square Garden, the team jumped off the bench skated to the goaltender and in a group patted each other on the back.

Then, as a unit, the team skated to center ice inside the main face-off circle on top of the big painted Rangers logo. As a unit the team raised their sticks in celebration recognizing and celebrating with the fans in the arena.

I thought it was a great ritual to reinforce the positive results after a hard fought victory that is just one small victory in a season that requires almost 70 victories to win a championship.

After reflecting on this ritual that has become a staple of the Rangers home victories for the past five seasons, that this may just be the missing link so many organizations lack, and office celebrates a “win”organizational leaders fail to focus, when it comes to employee motivation and morale:

Celebrating the little victories along the way!

Every athletic event has these victory celebrations, both large and small.

In football, when a touchdown is scored these is some kind of dance or group high-five in the end zone. When a goal is scored in soccer often times the scorer is leaped on by his teammates in a massive, celebratory hug. And, in baseball handshakes and high-fives abound after a homerun is hit or a pitcher closes out the opposition to end a game victoriously.

Even in games when teams lose, the individual achievements are still offered positive reinforcement and congratulations in the moment for a “job well done.”

I would recommend organizational leaders that want to create and maintain better employee motivation, morale and focus create opportunities to celebrate the small victories that occur during the year.

Here are 3 keys steps to make it happen:

  1. Define what constitutes a “victory” or a “win” for your organization, both individually and for your teams or units in the company;
  2. Create specific ways your organization is going to celebrate those victories, both recognizing and celebrating the individual accomplishment based on how the individual prefers to be recognized and celebrated (not everyone will be motivated by being brought in front of the room to be recognized, apply the platinum rule in this instance), and celebrating ‘team’ victories. (this could be with a monthly celebration/recognition breakfast, or lunch, newsletter announcements, individual time off, movie tickets, dinner gift certificates, etc. Another great way to celebrate and recognize personal achievements is just a handwritten note with a genuine message from the organization’s leader acknowledging the “win.
  3. Capture these wins throughout the year in a file and re-associate to them at bigger events later on in the year. This will keep the success stories alive in the organization and allow everyone to realize that focusing on the little wins can build momentum and lead to greater wins as the year moves along.

As an organizational or team leader begin to look for ways to celebrate the litte “wins” during the year both indlvidually and collectively. Doing so will motivate not just your employees and team members, but I bet you will find yourself more focused and energized to achieve even more.

’til next time, make it a great week!