Celebrate Success

I am sorry I have been MIA for a couple of weeks. Life has been very busy for a couple of weeks. Good busy, but distracted me from my writing! Today I am sharing something I wrote this week for my Culture Wise consultant group. This writing is aimed at companies and how their managers can invest in their employees, however this is a lesson found in the New Testament.

I actually wrote this while on a mini retreat/vacation. This week I am camping and boating at Deep Creek MD State Park. I am alone for 3 days and then family and friends will join me for 3 days. I am recharged when I am camping in the woods! My boat is my happy place. so, this will be a great week!

Celebrate Success: Catching people doing things right is more effective than catching them doing things wrong. Regularly extend meaningful acknowledgement and appreciation – in all directions throughout our company.

I can go in so many directions with this one! I have been passionate about this fundamental for almost 30 years! When I was completing my master’s degree, I wrote my thesis about employee turnover at the company I was working for at the time. I compiled data from over 2000 voluntary exit interviews. I wanted to find out the main reason people left the company voluntarily. It was not pay, career advancement, working conditions, but was … recognition and acknowledgement for doing good work! Specifically, the lack of it! These people worked hard but did not feel appreciated by their boss or their company. So, they left the company to find this behavior somewhere else. Some personality types claim they don’t need acknowledgement or appreciation. I disagree, because when they are given an acknowledgement, they still appreciate it! It still has meaning for them. Keep in mind the personality of this person. Some would enjoy a public acknowledgement, others would be horrified in public, but would appreciate a handwritten note.

I recently heard a story about different productivity outcomes from the use of this fundamental and the lack of this fundamental. There is a barista in a Las Vegas hotel. He is funny, engaging and fun to talk with. When asked if he liked his job, he replied immediately that he LOVED his job! LOVE is an emotional attachment, a much stronger bond than the mere rational LIKE. When asked why he loved his job, he replied that every manager that walked by, asked him how he was doing and if he needed anything to help him do his job better. These managers truly showed appreciation for his work. This barista also works at another hotel in Vegas. There the managers are always trying to catch the employees doing something wrong! They are totally focused on hitting their numbers, not on the well-being of their employees. There this employee keeps his head down and does enough each day to get his paycheck. However, at the hotel where he loves his job, he feels he can be himself and enjoy engaging with the customers. In this example we could experience this same person in a totally different way, not because of him, but because of the culture of the managers at each hotel. One focused on the employees and one focused on hitting the numbers.

This fundamental also touches on gratitude. If we are truly grateful for the efforts of others around us, and we show that gratitude everyone wins. We are physically healthier because of our grateful actions, (yes, many medical studies have shown over 22 medical benefits to having at attitude of gratitude!) and those that we direct our gratitude towards have a greater sense of self-worth and self-confidence. This fundamental is a win win. The manager or supervisor feels good in the action, the people getting the attention feel valued and will be more likely to work harder because of this feeling.

In my former career, there was a district manager who made it a point to seek out any person that had just made a presentation to a large group of his or her peers. The manager would always seek them out and acknowledge their message and thanked them for sharing. This gave the receiver a huge self confidence boost and built a much stronger team as well! Normally the speaker would be a person with little public speaking experience and would be far outside of their comfort zone. This sincere attaboy was a gesture I never forgot, and something I try to do at every opportunity!

To be clear this appreciation needs to be sincere and truthful. When it is applied in this manner it will make a difference for everyone that will last for a long time. A short investment of time in showing appreciation, gratitude and acknowledgement is an investment that will pay dividends for a long time. The bank you build in your employees every day is priceless.

GO and make a difference for your team today.

How can you apply this in your church? How do you celebrate success? How do you acknowledge your congregation after a successful stewardship campaign? How do you recognize your volunteers after a church event? We can recognize people in different ways. A general email, a phone call, and handwritten note? What works for your church? Paul often recognized and acknowledged the people of the early Christian church in his letters to them.

“We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 1: 3, 4)

“When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord.”(Acts 11: 22, 23)

Think about how you can Celebrate Success and Encourage your congregation, staff and volunteers in the days weeks and months ahead.