What Should You Be Celebrating?

Written By Anna Sullins


Everyone has a friend that loves a good celebration.  You know the type: the one who decorates a colleague’s office on his birthday, who seems comfortable breaking routine on a Tuesday night for a concert or party, and who spends Monday morning recapping the festival they attended over the weekend. 

While it’s easy to dismiss such trivial revelries, the truth is we all need something to look forward to and celebrate!  This is especially true in the workplace during times of change.  These celebrations remind your team that the change is successful, and you recognize their progress toward the end goal.   Celebrations can provide the momentum your team needs to stay the course on a long-term project, and this, in turn, can silence the naysayers who may be sabotaging your progress. 

Establish Milestones

We can’t always wait for a spur-of-the-moment celebration because it often never happens.  As we are bombarded by the tyranny of the present, we frequently fail to pause and truly recognize our short-term wins.  To combat this, consider the milestones in your project that are worth celebrating, and commit to a team gathering to publicly applaud the progress that’s been made.  Perhaps a milestone will be your first customer compliment of a new system, or 10% fewer complaints.  Maybe a milestone is a mention of your business in an industry publication, or achieving an important client referral.  What milestones can you establish and commit to celebrating with your team or organization?

Nothing is Too Big or Small

When Biltmore’s Village Hotel was in the final stages of completion, we celebrated everything!  The carpet was installed – hooray!  The landscape was complete – yippee!  Nothing was too big or too small to celebrate, and those minor victories gave us the confidence and morale boost to keep going.  While grand parties are lovely, we focused more on the frequent opportunities to celebrate, whether it was a company-wide email recognizing a small win, a lunch with the team to honor the headway that’s been made, or a casual gathering with cake and drinks to publicize a milestone being met.  What type of celebration would your team enjoy?  Who will coordinate this gathering? 

Be Intentional

At any given celebration, it can be easy to get caught-up in the fun, and forget about the purpose of the party.  Make a point of directly connecting the celebration to the time and hard work it took to reach that milestone, and remind everyone why you are there.  These small victories are worth cheering for, and that means intentional communication linking the effort with the fun.  How can you clearly communicate your appreciation for the energy and effort prompting celebration?

Remember – celebrations are fun, but they rarely happen spontaneously.  Start now planning your milestones to celebrate, and watch the commitment and energy of your team soar!

To learn more about how you can Cultivate Change in your organization, including celebrating short-term wins, we invite you to attend our upcoming Cultivating Change workshop in July.  

Anna Sullins is the Training & Development Manager for Biltmore, overseeing the learning and professional development programs for Biltmore’s 2,500 employees.