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Tag Archives: celebrating

A unique employee team-building idea from one of my client organizations

Three weeks ago, I shared a fantastic idea from a client organization about a unique way to acknowledge and motivate employees – to hold “fake” retirement parties.  Well, today I’m thrilled to tell you about another great example of employee team-building and motivation from another client organization.

Monthly culture “moments”

employee team-buildingThis particular company has a very diverse workforce with people from a variety of different ethnicities and cultures.  So as a way to build understanding, to strengthen teamwork, and to have fun, their Corporate Finance team created monthly culture moments.  At their monthly team meetings, over a period of several months, they’ve showcased the different cultures and nationalities represented in their department.  Even though they’ve called it culture “moments”, it is in fact the theme for the entire meeting.

One or two employees (who are from that culture) make a short presentation sharing the background and history of their heritage countries.  They also tell the rest of the team about a core societal value and a common workplace behaviour.  Continue reading

Acknowledge employees by holding “fake” retirement parties

In 2018, I did an entire series of  video blogs (33 in fact!) that focused on specific ideas to motivate employees.  But the fortunate reality is that the possibilities are endless.  Which is why I was so excited to learn about yet another tip just last week.  I was working with a group of leaders in a client organization, and one of them told me about this absolutely fantastic idea to acknowledge employees: “Hold “fake” retirement parties,” he said.  I was so intrigued, I had to ask him to explain further.

Hold “fake” retirement parties

Once a month or so, perhaps at your regular department meeting, set aside 15 or more minutes for a “fake” retirement party.  To understand what a fake retirement party is, you have to first ask yourself what usually happens at a retirement party.  Well, there are speeches about the departing person honouring and highlighting his or her strengths, accomplishments, and legacy to the organization.  Well, the fake retirement party is exactly the same thing, but it’s “fake” because the person isn’t actually leaving.  Instead, it’s an opportunity to acknowledge employees – their worth, their value, and their lasting legacy to your department or your company. Continue reading

Celebrating my 5-year anniversary with The Globe & Mail

G&M010915Next Wednesday January 23 marks a very special day for me – exactly five years ago on this date, my very first column for The Globe & Mail published that morning.  In How to be the boss when your co-workers are your friends, I laid out seven steps to ease this difficult transition.  I’ll be honest, this was (and still is) a very exciting day for me!  To be invited to contribute as a thought-leader for one of Canada’s most respected and widely-circulated national newspapers is a huge honour.  Not to mention a validation of the leadership development work I have been doing for so many years.

Back then, I was a contributing columnist to The Globe’s Leadership Lab series, published primarily online, but also occasionally in their print edition.  Today, five years later, I write a regular column in their Report on Business print edition, every four weeks on Mondays, under the loose banner of “Leadership Matters”.

Thank you The Globe & Mail, I am gratified to be amongst the ranks of your respected writers.

Notable columns

My most popular column ever was Four things millennials hate about you, garnering more than 50,000 views, over 4,000 “direct” shares, and comments and re-tweets numbering in the thousands in just three days.  It was my first taste of “going viral” and while pretty exciting, was also a little scary! Continue reading

Should workplace social celebrations be compulsory?

PeopleAtRestaurantLast week, I advocated the need for a regular schedule for fun social celebrations in the workplace, and I offered up an approach that I have used very successfully over the years in my leadership roles where I had staff directly reporting to me.  That blog post prompted a question from one reader – should attendance at these social celebration events be compulsory?  The short answer is “no”; however it comes with a “but”.  Let me explain.

Attendance at social events should never be compulsory, always voluntary.  There are great employees who choose not to socialize at work, and that’s okay, and there should be no judgment applied if that is their choice.  But … if the social event is being held during working hours (either wholly or partially), then the employee has the choice of attending the event OR working.  That’s it, only two options – they can either join in on the social event, or stay at their desks and continue working.  Continue reading

Motivate employees with regular fun social celebrations

Young people playing table tennis in workplace, having fun.As frequent readers of this blog know, I am a huge advocate for leaders consciously and deliberately making it a point to celebrate accomplishments in the workplace.  My reason, celebration of achievements is so fundamental to both employee morale as well as future success.  Unfortunately though, the reality of today’s workplace is that we are busy – getting things done, fighting crises – that we move on to the next thing that is pressing, without stopping to take the time to celebrate what we did well.  To our detriment.

One approach for the consistent celebration of accomplishments that I recommend to the leaders in the client organizations I work with is to establish a regular schedule for fun social events.  The easiest way (that I have used myself): establish a rotating quarterly committee of fun, a group of department employees who are responsible for planning a fun social event for the quarter.  Three thoughts about making this work.  Continue reading

Don’t forget to praise those who work behind the scenes

CookingI admit it, I love watching television shows that have to do with cooking and food.  Not because I’m very good at the former, but because I love the latter!  Viewing these programs has given me an appreciation of the gargantuan behind-the-scenes effort taking place in the kitchen to produce the plate of food that eventually makes it to your table, not just looking fantastic and garnering praise, but also tasting delicious.  Long before your meal arrives, there’s cleaning, chopping, mise en place, cooking, seasoning, testing, tasting, and plating that happens behind the kitchen door.  It’s only after all these tasks have been completed that your server arrives and presents your meal with a flourish!  But what if even one of these steps was missed or done incorrectly?  Do you really want grit in your mushrooms because they weren’t properly washed?  Or potatoes that are unevenly cooked because they weren’t cut uniformly?  Or soup that is bland because someone forgot to add salt?  Or meat that is overcooked because no one tested the temperature?  I think you get where I’m going with this – if you don’t get the preceding tasks done right, then the final culinary creation likely isn’t going to be very good. Continue reading

I versus We – both are powerful in different situations

IVsWeIn my leadership and communication programs, I often teach how to use “I” language to reduce defensiveness in others, particularly when trying to convey a message that may be perceived as negative.   “I” language is a very powerful communication tool in certain situations, but I am often asked – Why not “we”?  Good question!  So let me answer this question of “I versus We” in today’s blog post.

“We” has an important place for leaders in a business environment, specifically at its most effective when being used to take credit.  “We beat this quarter’s sales targets” or “We achieved 99% customer satisfaction ratings in April” are great situations in which to use “we”.  It builds team spirit and morale, creates positive energy, and as an extra bonus – makes you come across as a graceful leader.  This is true even if it was one person that contributed the most to the great result, because there is nothing stopping you from following up the initial statement with more detail about individual performance.  In contrast, Continue reading

Build employee morale by consistently celebrating accomplishments

Celebration3As leaders, we don’t celebrate enough!  I’m talking of course about celebrating accomplishments – applauding ourselves and each other for a job well done.  Now, it’s not because we don’t care (we do!); it’s because we’re busy and once we’ve gotten something done, we barely have time to check it off the to-do list, let alone find time to praise and commend for it.  But if we want to create positive and productive workplaces, then celebrating accomplishments is important.  And lord knows, I too am guilty of not doing it as much as we should!  Let’s face it, the truth is that leaders today are busy – we have things to do, people to see, places to go – we don’t have time to pause in the present to celebrate accomplishments.  But we should.  Celebration of achievement is so important to both employee morale as well as future success.  So here is one idea to institutionalize celebration, one way to make sure that we periodically pause to acknowledge our staff and ourselves.

Implement a regular “round table brag moment” into your usual team meetings.  Continue reading

Praising employees who are in their 40s and 50s – is it necessary?

KarlMooreI often blog about the value of praising employees (one such post is Frequent and liberal employee recognition and praise creates positive workplaces). So when Dr. Karl Moore, associate professor at the Destautels Faculty of Management at McGill University (and my fellow columnist at The Globe & Mail) recently wrote a piece on this topic, it captured my attention. Why do people in their 40s and 50s receive less praise? published in the Leadership Lab a couple of weeks ago, and in it, Dr. Moore makes four key points. Continue reading

Celebrate your administrative professionals this week!

Celebration2Today kicks off Administrative Professionals Week, a week when leaders in offices around the world thank and celebrate those who keep the engines of organizations running efficiently and effectively. Whether you do it as an individual or corporate activity, or at a social gathering, or at a community event, deliberately and thoughtfully make it a point to applaud your administrative professionals sometime (or several times) in the next five days. This is not to say that you shouldn’t be doing it all year (whenever the opportunity arises to offer positive feedback or praise), but this week is a reminder to do something that often, in the rush of day-to-day responsibilities, slips past many leaders. Ironically, it isn’t until the secretary, administrative assistant or receptionist is absent that most leaders realize exactly how important they are to the successful operation of an enterprise. So don’t wait, do it now.

And how exactly should you celebrate and thank your administrative professionals? Continue reading