It’s the time of year when many of us look back to evaluate our performance. Did we achieve what we set out to achieve? Are we satisfied with our results? Were we successful this year?
Success (whatever that means to you and your company) is a much sought after prize. Plenty of careful strategy, planning and delivery go into our achievements, especially when we set the bar high. A lot of physical, mental and emotional effort is expended. So when that goal is met, what happens next?
Let’s say a company has focused heavily on growing revenues and has achieved year- end performance that beats even its highest estimates. Many CEOs will send out an email to all staff announcing the good news, thanking the team and exhorting them to continue their efforts into the next fiscal year. Everyone in the company may even receive some sort of commemorative trinket (how many coffee mugs, beer steins and T-shirts have you accumulated over the years?) Yet emails get deleted and trinkets gather dust in drawers and neither have lasting meaning. These well-intentioned but impersonal ways to recognize success don’t properly acknowledge employee contribution or take advantage of the significant opportunity to reinforce a culture of success.
A great company acts differently. Management realizes that people are their biggest asset. Staff who can achieve great results this year will reach even higher performance next year with the right recognition and nurturing. Celebrating success for this type of organization means not only allocating budget to celebrate, but most importantly, allocating time from the executive staff to ensure that their employees are recognized for their part in the company’s results.
True leaders will personally thank each of their staff members, taking the time to pull examples from the past year that illustrate their contribution. This personal touch is rocket fuel for staff motivation, creating a desire to do even better next year. Even a simple “thank-you” with a warm handshake from a respected manager can be enough to reward and motivate your staff. Best of all, a company party where people celebrate their shared success with their colleagues, including the executive staff, is an excellent way to cap a good year and build momentum for the next! If a commemorative coffee mug is handed out too, well, now it means something.
The moral of the story is to never miss an opportunity to celebrate your successes. Celebrations are appreciated and remembered; it’s part of the human psyche. Over time, these celebrations become part of your company’s “story” and shared history. When you hit or exceed your targets, celebrate big (and personally) so your staff will be re-charged and ready to conquer the next hill! Sustaining this momentum into a culture of success is what differentiates the great companies from the rest!