People - Top Tips - Celebrating success

Celebrating success

This document is designed as a quick reference guide to celebrating success

This will enable you to gain knowledge of a particular skill, task or process.

This means you can quickly find the key information that you need and refer to it on an ongoing basis whenever you need to refresh your knowledge.



What is success, and why bother to celebrate it?

You might think that success is a rare and special event…. Not true – success happens all around us, all of the time. Every time we complete something that we set out to achieve, that’s success. You managed to open your front door when you put the key in – you succeeded! You managed to get the milk into your coffee – you succeeded! You managed to brush your hair – you succeeded!

Ok, that was a bit silly, but it’s done to make a point. How often do we congratulate ourselves or others when goals are achieved? Probably not as often as we should. So why should we try?


Think about the last time you completed something that made you proud, and no one noticed or commented on it? How did that make you feel?

And now think about the last time you hit a goal and someone did notice and comment… How did you feel then? Motivated? Proud? Valued? We hope all of these and more.

Celebrating success is about building those feelings in your whole team, and reaping the performance rewards.

People - Top Tips - Celebrating success

What you need to know

Catching people doing ‘little things’ right


“When I do right, no one remembers. When I do wrong, no one forgets”


Celebrating success can be done in many ways. Most of us are pretty good at recognising when big goals are reached, and are happy to celebrate then. But those big achievements are much rarer events, and we need to find ways to more regularly celebrate success.


The point earlier about coffee and hair and doors was deliberately trivial. Just think for a moment how many ‘trivial’ successes there are in your team every day… Jill completed a project ahead of schedule. Sue stayed after her shift to resolve an issue. And are these ‘little things’ acknowledged or praised regularly enough?


Try to see these opportunities as they arise. Try to catch people doing things right – then thank them. You may not see that as celebrating success - but it really is, and if you start doing this regularly, it really will make a difference to your teams’ energy and performance.


Sharing success

Sharing stories in your team briefings about who has done well and why not only rewards the achievement, but helps to spread the behaviour. If one of your team has done something praiseworthy, praise the achievement and ask them how they managed to do it. When they share the how, you’re inviting the rest of the team to copy that behaviour or strategy. You might even want to emphasise the point by saying to your team “Maybe we could all try that idea and see if it works for us too?”


Appropriate celebration

When someone hits their goal, it’s right to celebrate. But to some degree the ‘amount’ of celebration should be matched to the size of the achievement. If an experienced member of staff closes a large value sale, if you whoop and shout and shake their hands – that might be considered a little over the top.

But imagine praising a new starter that has just completed their first credit agreement – that probably deserves significantly more than just a “Well done”.

We all have some in built sense of what’s an appropriate amount of celebration. If you go ‘way over the top’ people might think you are being insincere, and that completely erases the praise for the recipient.

But when a colleague or your team achieves something very special, then by all means get out the air-horns and ticker tape!!


Celebrating success with different personalities

If you are going to praise or recognise someone, it’s important to bear in mind their personality, and use your judgement to help you set the right ‘volume’ of celebration. For example, if you have a seriously shy person (unlikely in

American Golf we know, but it could happen!) praising them very vocally in a team briefing might be uncomfortable for them. We’re certainly not saying don’t praise them – you really should – just find a ‘volume’ of doing it that’s appropriate to their feelings. On the other hand, if you are acknowledging someone with a much more extrovert personality, they’ll probably like it if you ‘turned up the volume’.

People - Top Tips - Celebrating success

What you need to know

Routine recognition

Don’t misunderstand the term ‘routine’ here. We don’t mean ‘dull and repetitive’. We mean ‘regular’ and ‘repeated’. If your team have a regular goal they want to hit, think about how you can recognise the person or persons who most contributed to hitting that goal. Don’t limit your thinking in how the recognition will be done. Be inventive. Be creative.

And why not seek to inject some fun into your team too? Is there room for some ‘daft’ recognition?


Here are a few ideas, but we’re sure you can think of better ones too. Just bear in mind ‘respect for other people’ and don’t do anything that might offend or upset anyone in your team.


     Get your team to wear pedometers and have them ‘race’ each other, ranked by distance walked per hour (appoint a referee to make sure that they are walking about doing their job, not just trying to win the race !)

     If there’s a particular festival in your town, or some big national event (red nose day? Children in need?) have your team in fancy dress, and get your customers to vote for a winner

     Have a ‘longest receipt of the week’ competition (colleague tip – lots of extras and essentials = longer receipt)


Make it a habit

We can all ‘pull out the stops’ when there’s been a big achievement. But most of us could get better at celebrating and sharing the more ‘routine’ successes.

So why not commit to start doing it more? It gets easier real fast, and you’ll see the change in your team real fast too.


Just remember

     Make it sincere

     Make it often

     Make the ‘volume’ appropriate to the person

     Make the ‘volume’ appropriate to the achievement

     Don ‘t do anything that might offend or upset

     Try and make it fun!