Why every win deserves recognition if not a party!

A typical day at Flair Towers

Here’s a funny thing. A friend of mine recently implemented an enormous Internet based computer system for his client a large retail company in the UK. His team had worked miracles to deliver the thing within the expected time and budget constraints and he was both proud of, and deeply grateful for, their efforts.

So instead of attending a Friday management briefing he took them out to the pub and bought them a celebratory lunch that “ran over” a little. The team were highly delighted, his management colleagues were not.

I’ll tell you why this story connected with me: this kind of gesture is no longer common in corporate Britain. I’m not talking about a celebratory lunch, necessarily, but rather any kind of celebration for a job well done.

When I was in recruitment we regularly treated ourselves with anything from a cream cake to an afternoon off and a taxi ride home depending upon the scale of our victory and we weren’t the only ones to do so. I’m not sure that recruitment is anywhere near as much fun these days.

So why don’t we celebrate as much as we should?

For starters I think everything we do at work happens at 100 mph with very little time to spare for anything that is not screaming at us, poking us in the ribs or just about to collide with us.

Like many people I do more than one job; in fact I do 4: salesman, consultant, researcher and author. Also like a lot of people there is always something I could be doing, knock a few more things off the to-do list and try and get ahead of the game.

“Another sale, great. On to the next” This cannot be right so here’s 5 reasons to celebrate: –

  1. It’s enjoyable – celebrating victories is great fun and life is meant to be fun isn’t it?
  2. People need recognition – it’s one of the 3 key basic needs human beings require in order to feed their souls.
  3. Team spirit – even if everybody knows that they have done a good job having the boss demonstrate this lifts morale and helps team spirit.
  4. Breaks the slog – one thing relentlessly following another in some sort of corporate production line. Nah!
  5. Incentives – do a great job and get something nice. Can this really have an effect?
My advice is when something great happens at work. Down tools, even if it’s only for a minute, and take time to recognise and enjoy the achievement. If it can involve food and drink and last a little longer so much the better but it doesn’t have to.
So what happened to my friend? Well his management colleagues asked him why he wasn’t at the briefing and he told them he had taken his team out to celebrate the system going live. Proud as punch and quite unrepentant – a true leader in my book.
Celebration is like putting the victory in the trophy cabinet where it belongs.[tweetmeme source=”mike_ames_flair” only_single=false] 


Passionate about making business development a profession not just a job. Built and sold a £40m group in less than 9 years. Doing it all again and loving it!

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Posted in Achievement, Leadership
4 comments on “Why every win deserves recognition if not a party!
  1. I think a lot of companies move away from these celebrations and go further and think people enjoying themselves at work is something to be frowned upon and that those workers could spend that time doing even more work.

    I think team morale and working atmosphere are built upon team spirit, celebrations, rewarding hard work now and then.

    What is interesting is when a team/group/department/company had this feeling and then they lose it. It’s hard to say what has gone and even more difficult to get it back. Team spirit and culture are very hard things to define but they seem to be less important these days.

    excellent article.

    • Mike Ames says:

      Thanks Trevor. I happen to believe it all stems from the leader. In my experience the character of the team is set by the leader and it is he or she that opens the celebratory flood-gates or nails ’em tight shut.

  2. Clive Read says:

    Absolutely spot on Mike – a happy, appreciated team will work harder and go the extra mile time and time again if their hard work is recognised – a quick thank you here, a bottle of wine there, and a celebratory drink/meal all go to establishing and fostering team spirit. It’s something that comes from respect and is a lot more than saying “you’re just doing your job”. Celebrate together, work hard together, be successful together.

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Mike Ames

Passionate about making business development a profession not just a job. Built and sold a £40m group in less than 9 years. Doing it all again and loving it!

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