How To Celebrate Success Throughout Your Projects

There are many tough times in projects, stress, challenges that one of the often overlooked things is to celebrate success! What does that mean? Well average people don’t usually want others to go beyond average, but high performing project leaders want the team to go beyond great! It is so easy to go after the problems and issues with the team as that is where energy is easily focused. However, what do you want more of – great results or challenges? It is true what the age old principle is that you get more of what you focus on!

Working with a project team is a blast for me! I thrive on the energy, collaboration that comes from focused organization and working towards a shared goal. Frequently, the same qualities that prevent people from achieving success – jealousy, scarcity mind set, fear impact how they view other’s success and their reaction to it. It is a waste of time to constantly compare yourself to others as it only holds you back. I know for me when I have that cheering committee I work harder and faster so from this lesson is a critical principle to apply in your projects – Celebrate Success Often.

The next principle is Champion Success of Team Members. It is all too often the harsh reality that when something great happens, and you turn to share the news others are not supportive and the shock of nobody sharing my excitement is a surprise. It is deflating emotionally. It is important to take the moments to privately and in public to recognize and congratulate small wins, steps along the way. Many programs and projects can be a year or longer so keeping the momentum is critical with frequent celebrations along the way.

Not everyone views accomplishment and successes the same way. As a leader, you need to be willing to take different perspective and view success the way others do and not just the way you do. Be especially careful, when someone achieves something important to them even if you have done it before. Be sure to celebrate and recognize accomplishments with enthusiasm and don’t steal their thunder.

Now to some practical ways to celebrate success

Informal Rewards/ No Cost – congratulations, personal notes, cards, caught doing something great card, note from senior manager

Low Cost Rewards – certificate, movie tickets, starbucks, half day off, event tickets, flowers, lunch

Other Types – Incentive trips, gift certificates, cash bonus, promotions

These are just a few ways, and there are many books you can refer to on development of other ideas. The key principles to use to make sure the team member feels the result of recognition was that they are noticed and cared for. If you don’t delivery in a way that is significant it is not contributing to your project success.

1. Emphasize success rather than failure. Focus on catching people doing the “right things”.

2. Timing is critical. Recognize efforts all throughout a project and reward as close to possible to results you want repeated. Strive to have a clear link between results and rewards.

3. Deliver recognition in an open publicized way. If not made public, recognition loses much of its impact that it can have.

The key is to remember to be the cheerleader and recognize contributions all along the journey of your project. Use these ideas to be creative with low cost ways to build up the team members and cheer successes frequently!


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