Use Celebrations to Mark Important Moments at Work

customers 11Leadership Tip of the Week from HBR

People have long used ceremonies — bar mitzvahs, baptisms, weddings, inaugurations, quinceañeras — to mark changes and turning points.

Companies have ceremonies too, but they often focus on celebrating the positive: birthdays, work anniversaries, promotions, and project victories.

These types of recognition are important and shouldn’t stop, but companies should consider using celebrations to help people through hard times. This can be a powerful way to mark difficulties, acknowledge dark passages, honor those who have made sacrifices or experienced hardship, and help people move on.

You may not pop a bottle of champagne after a difficult reorg, but you might gather as a group and read your mission statement aloud or hold a mock funeral for the past (as Steve Jobs did at the 2002 Worldwide Developers Conference, to mark the end of the Mac’s OS 9).

Communal experiences like these can help strengthen your group’s bonds, values, and vision.

Author: Andrew Mann

Managing Partner at NorthBailey. Having had senior marketing & insight roles at Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Coop and M&S, I'm now using my experience & network to solve strategic marketing problems for NorthBailey clients

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