If you don’t celebrate your wins, no one will

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So you’ve shipped a group project or hit an important milestone on your product. You high-five your team members and celebrate over some drinks on Friday afternoon. What’s next? Onto the next project or five thousand other items you have on your to-do list? You need to celebrate your win some more. That’s right, keep celebrating. I don’t mean to go on an all-weekend bender. I mean, promote the win to everyone in your company.

Firstly, send an all employees email or Yammer/Slack (or equivalent) post. Mention what your team achieved, why this is good for the company and name all those involved.

Next, tell colleagues at lunchtime and coffee breaks of your team’s win.
And again, promote your win at the next company meeting. Stand up (or get a team member to) at the regular company gathering and reiterate the key points from your email/post summary.

Lastly, include your summary in your monthly board report or activity report.

This may seem like overdoing it and shameless self-promotion, however if you don’t promote your wins, no one will notice! As the great David Ogilvy said, “You aren’t advertising to a standing army, you are advertising to a moving parade.”. This is why you simply must repeat your message more than once. There are important reasons behind the internal PR campaign.

You aren’t advertising to a standing army, you are advertising to a moving parade.

Why promote your team wins?

Perception, impact and morale. Most work colleagues believe the many things on their plate are much more important, than keeping abreast of what your team is doing. Therefore, now is the right time to cut through and make some noise about your team. Do you know what everyone else exactly does in their roles? Probably not. And neither do they necessarily know, what you spend all day doing.

Depending on the visibility of some projects, results are not always apparent to upper management. Software development updates often have no outwardly visible impact. And overtly visual marketing campaigns and graphic design changes seem to get all the glory.

Publicly recognising your team is also an essential tool in driving team morale. Note the individual team member’s style, so as not to embarrass. Some team members love the accolade and glory. Others prefer low key and quiet acknowledgement.

Often colleagues/subordinates/managers are not aware of the hard work you are doing. By celebrating your wins, you remind others of the impact you are having to the business, to build morale and make your team and you look good. Of course, one can go over the top here, so use discretion. The last thing you want is for no one to ever know what great things you’ve done for the business.

Shout outs (tl;dr)

  • Everyone in your company is busy. If you don’t shout above the noise and promote your team’s wins, no one will notice your hard work or achievements.
  • Publicly recognising your team is essential to driving team morale and engagement.
  • Create an internal PR campaign by:
    • Summarizing your team’s win and sending an all employees email update
    • Telling colleagues at lunchtime and coffee breaks
    • Promoting your win at the next company meeting

Further Reading:

The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan: How to Take Charge, Build Your Team, and Get Immediate Results This great book about onboarding for a new role, has some great info on building teams and celebrating early team wins.