Donna Lee and I were privileged to be the guests at the annual Christmas party of one of our contractor clients. There were over 250 people in attendance, about 50 more than last year, when we were also their guests. Last year, just three members of their management team were Turbo Leadership Development Lab graduates. This year, there were close to 50 LDL graduates in attendance. I cannot adequately express how proud I was of this year’s program. The venue was the same as last year; they had a buffet, just like last year; they had giveaway packages and a raffle, just like last year; but there was a difference, and that difference was unmistakable.
The president’s comments focused on values and the vision of the company being “best in class.” The vice president of estimating spoke with passion about his vision of victory, growing sales volume, a measurable target with a specific deadline. The vice president of operations spoke about the impacts that increased engagement had brought during the year, and the safety director recognized one of the workers who had a bad accident and was back to work in 30 days with a winning attitude. These LDL graduates provided a vision for the future like never before, gave recognition to the entire team, and provided recognition and rewards, with a slide show of team members who had done outstanding jobs this past year.
I’m sure that everyone enjoyed the Christmas party last year, enjoyed connecting with each other, enjoyed the free goodies and the door prizes they won. I only wish there was some way to measure the difference in how everyone felt when they left this year’s party. I guarantee you if there were such a barometer, the sense of team, the sense of belonging, the sense of accomplishment, the sense of being important, the sense that I matter, and the essential sense of purpose was heightened by a multiplier that could be as much as five times.
Gathering together for a Christmas party or any other kind of party does not necessarily carry all of the possible attending benefits. If you are wise, you will find ways in the year ahead to provide your team with the sense of achievement, purpose, and belonging that comes from meaningfully celebrating successes. Accomplishments in and of themselves have limited value unless and until they’re formally celebrated in a positive, upbeat way. This is part of your job as a leader. Take it seriously. No one else can fill your role in ensuring that your team has the sense of accomplishment that everyone desires, craves, and deserves. Do this and 2015 will be a year that you and your team remember as a Happy New Year!