I like to celebrate with my team. Whether it is a birthday, promotion, or someone’s work anniversary at the company, I make it a point for us to do something.
I believe teams who celebrate are happier and more productive. According to “The New Science of Building Great Teams,” successful teams share some common characteristics:
1. Everyone on the team talks and listens in roughly equal measure, keeping contributions short and sweet.
2. Members face one another, and their conversations and gestures are energetic.
3. Members connect directly with one another—not just with the team leader.
4. Members carry on back-channel or side conversations within the team.
5. Members periodically break, go exploring outside the team, and bring information back.
#2, #3, and #4 can all take place during celebrations and off-sites.
On my work calendar, I have the work anniversaries and birthdays of my team members. On these important days, there are a number of ways to celebrate: bring in cupcakes or donuts, go out to lunch, have the team sign a card, etc. Remembering dates that matter to individual team members improve trust and team cohesion.
I think celebrating team successes are important, such as hitting a goal or deadline. Recently, for my team, we rolled out an initiative that took many months to go out, and we hit our goals out of the park. We celebrated with a piñata party; at 4pm on a Thursday, we toasted with champagne (and sparkling cider), snacks, and a piñata. We worked hard and this celebration was a way to reward the team.
Celebrations, from birthdays to team successes, bond a team and make working together more enjoyable overall. They take time to plan and organize, but are well worth it.