Here’s a little secret: I love advice columns. Love them. With some combination of schadenfreude and a Millenial’s obsession with constant self-optimization, I relish opportunities to compare others’ decision making with my own. I particularly love the combination of interpersonal relationships and productivity challenges that come from professional advice articles. That’s largely why POV pieces (like this one, how meta) are such a big part of FATFREE’s content strategy. There are few things more valuable, or interesting, than asking, “What can we learn from each other?”
That question is also the gist of an article that reached my inbox today, “Why and How Successful Teams Celebrate Wins and Failures.” The “why” part is pretty easy: Celebrating wins is good for morale and helps the rest of one’s team identify something that worked once and could be repeated. Identifying failures is, as we all know, the best way to learn what to do differently next time. Recovering after a stumble and coming away with new insight are both worth celebrating. Doing both also cultivates a psychologically safe environment in which team members can take responsibility without fear of recrimination.
The “how” part also seems simple. A “nice job” as your team hangs up their Zoom call doesn’t cut it. The experts quoted suggest having an open discussion of woes and bravos no less often than every three weeks, more frequently for a new team getting to know each other. The most important part is to formalize the reflection process. Make sure that these lessons are fully acknowledged, considered and shared with the rest of the organization. This can be done through a Trello board, as this Trello-sponsored article helpfully points out.
My favorite quote from this article suggests, “Without retrospectives and deliberate celebrations, it can feel like constant joyless motion.” Constant. Joyless. Motion. Don’t let a celebration-worthy project end with everyone wiping their brows and moving on. And definitely don’t wait until the end of a rough one for the dreaded post-mortem when no one cares to rehash unpleasant memories. Leaders should encourage their teams to take joy in the process by consistently pausing to reflect on and appreciate their progress. In short: Celebrate early and often.