Celebrating What is Going Well

I feel like celebrating around a delightful experience I had with a client the last few months. The very notion of celebration was one that my co-leader and I brought to them. I had used it with a small software company a few months ago and they had so much fun with it I wanted to see if it would have the same impact. It did. No need to keep a great thing a secret: we asked people to share 6 things in 5 minutes with 6 different people (a la “speed dating”) that had gone well for them at work in the last 6 months (wanted to keep the math simple). Yes, they could say the same thing to 6 different people or they could say 6 different things, the point was to share what had been going well.
Huge energy shifter. What we learned is that it is still pretty common for organizations to emphasize what results they want, what has been achieved, and yes, what isn’t working. Spending time on what is working or what has been great, well, not so much time on that. What was fantastic here was that in the debrief for that day’s work, the manager of the group shared that she was going to make a behavioral shift as a result of that exercise: from now on there would be a set time on the staff meeting agenda for celebrations around what is going well. I have this fantasy that such things harken to that infamous small tab on the bow of the Titanic; a small shift makes for a pervasive change in the course of the team’s direction and journey.
This also brings up for me the observation that people, in their real, human essence, do want to feel good about how work or life is going. It’s not soft. It’s not woo woo. We all share a real need for acknowledging that there are things going well and we are on the path. It’s an opportunity to realize some balance in a world that is so focused on go, go, go, drive, drive, drive. It’s a place of shifting into neutral for a second to feel the effects of the wind on your face with the top down.

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