Celebrating: It’s Serious Work

Last Friday, I was fortunate enough to be part of an amazing team celebration. This is a group I’ve been facilitating and they’ve accomplished some amazing work over the past year. It’s a smallish team of a dozen or so folks who have worked closely together on beginning to shift their organizational culture. And I say beginning not because they weren’t effective or didn’t finish what they started, but because culture work is a long, long, long road (did I mention it’s a long process?). It was a great group, though that’s not to say we didn’t have our bumps and bruises along the way. Culture gets to the very thing we all hold near and dear – our values. And conversations about our values and what we value in the world are incredibly personal. They can’t be anything else, especially if they’re honest. But through those bumps and bruises, this team got to know one another in a way that they hadn’t had the chance to before. The result was incredible – a high-performing team who worked made significant progress and genuinely enjoyed each other.

When it came time for us to wrap up our work together, we had a couple things we needed to do. One, we wanted to review our work from the past year and make sure we’re setting up the next iteration of the team for success. Two, we wanted to take stock of exactly what we had accomplished and the impact it had. Often times, you can’t see the progress you’ve made while you’re in the middle of it, but once you stop to look back as see how far you’ve come, it’s incredible. And finally, in the middle of sharing advice and taking a look at what we’d done, we really needed to celebrate. I believe celebrating is both the most important component to a team’s progress and the most often overlooked step. And with this team, it was simple. The team really valued each other, which made planning the celebration easy.

We had a more formal wrap-up meeting the office, but then we got off campus for a good ol’ fashioned happy hour celebration. While happy hour is usually fun, this one was special. This was a group of people who were not just willing, but excited, to spend their Friday night together. After a long week in the office, this team valued each other so much that once the work week was officially done, they still chose to spend their time together.And that’s amazing to me. I feel honored to have been a part of this team and they’ll always have a special place in my heart for that very reason.

Celebrations don’t have to be big and elaborate to be meaningful. Celebrating can be a hand-written note, a cup of coffee, a small gathering of friends or an end of the week happy hour. What’s most important is that you make the time for that celebration, whatever it may be. What do you need to celebrate today?

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