Thoughts on Leadership: Let’s Celebrate!

This week my travels find me in Southern California, celebrating the holidays with our HSF Affiliates team at our Irvine, CA headquarters. In fact, as I type this to you now, I’m preparing to leave for our annual holiday party, a chance to reconnect with colleagues and deepen the bonds that make us not only co-workers but also friends.

At a quick glance, the event may appear to be a typical company gathering but if you scratch the candy-cane-coated surface, it’s so much more.

Why? Because celebration, defined as the act of taking deliberate time from your day-to-day work to commemorate accomplishments, is actually a major component to effective leadership.

Yes, you read that right. As you swirl your eggnog and dance to “Jingle Bells” this December, you’re executing on an important tenet of leadership.

For one, a holiday celebration like ours at HSF Affiliates—and really, any celebration—is essential when building the kind of collaborative and supportive culture you should constantly strive to create. Remember, culture is an unbeatable competitive advantage and it’s also a byproduct of inspiring leadership. By showing your team you recognize and applaud the achievement of their goals, you’re motivating them to achieve even more. Your team’s accomplishments—no matter how big or how small—always deserve to be commended.

I’ve long been a fan of celebrating the small wins because in the aggregate, these little celebrations add up to major self-esteem boosters that can positively affect your team’s collective mindset. (As you know, a positive mindset is critical in business and life.) Plus, when you celebrate and have fun, you’re motivated to do more things that will allow you to celebrate yet again. As Oprah Winfrey famously said, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

Here’s another quote that applies from Jim Collins, bestselling author of Good to Great: “Those who build and perpetuate mediocrity … are motivated more by the fear of being left behind.” And as Henry Ford once said, “Mediocrity is the worst enemy to prosperity.” To summarize, anyone who prefers to be mired in mediocrity rather than basked in brilliance, is taking the safe, easy way out. But success isn’t easy. Success is hard. The road to real, true success is not for the faint of heart or for those who prefer to travel light, carrying a single suitcase filled with only the comforts of the commonplace.

In order to avoid mediocrity, every opportunity must be taken to call out those amazing accomplishments that make your team, your business and your leaders great. It’s for that very reason we’ve gathered our HSF Affiliates team in Irvine for our holiday party. We’ll laugh, we’ll reminisce, we’ll remember the milestones reached this past year, and in doing so, motivate ourselves to make the coming year even better.

So, what’s the message? Well, it’s one I hope you take to heart at every holiday party you attend: To celebrate is to remember the good in life. It’s a chance to refocus your energies away from whatever challenges you may face, recall how very far you’ve come and align yourselves in the direction you want to go.

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