Shaping Culture: Celebrating It (4 of 4)


Ironically, the most enjoyable discipline in shaping culture might be the most neglected – celebrating others who are modeling the culture you want to create.  If yesterday’s post was all about the need to say, “Hey, that’s not how we do things around here”, today’s is all about the need to say, “Hey, that’s EXACTLY how we do things around here.

This kind of celebration can take place in an email, a phone call, a text, a special lunch, or recognition in front of a larger group.  It can be a gift certificate, an unexpected coffee or time off.  It doesn’t matter how you celebrate.  All that matters is that the person knows why you are celebrating; it’s not because they’re generally awesome, it’s because of the specific way they handled a specific situation.

This seems so obvious but so many leaders ignore the power of celebration.  We’re wired to move on to the next challenge and find it hard to pause long enough to say good job in taking the last hill.  That’s a big mistake because we miss out on four benefits of celebrating:

  • It’s fun!  There’s something wrong when we stop enjoying a good party.
  • Often times people don’t know they’ve modeled the culture until you tell them.  Yesterday’s post talked about how many deviations from your culture come from unintentional wandering.  The same is true for many manifestations of your culture.  Don’t assume people know they got it right or why they got it right.  It’s our job as leaders to make it crystal clear.  Catching people doing the right thing is one of the most powerful culture shaping tools available to a leader.
  • Celebrating one person’s success becomes a vision casting, culture shaping exercise for the rest of the team.  If you celebrate publicly, everyone else has an aha moment themselves.  Plus, it shows them the path to being celebrated…that’s a path people like to take!
  • It shows everyone you really care about all of this culture stuff.  It shows it’s at the forefront of your mind, you’re constantly looking for it and care deeply about how this all gets lived out.

Who do you need to celebrate today?  Are you willing to send a quick text, make a call or send a gift card?  It’s not just being nice…it’s shaping your culture.

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