One of the by-products of being an engineer is that I tend to focus on what’s going wrong, or could go wrong, on a project instead of acknowledging project success.

While this is an excellent mindset for solving problems and performing risk management, in the realm of managing people, it falls short.

Fortunately, we have an excellent VP of engineering, John Dring, who remembers to celebrate the little wins. Yesterday, we had a big one where electronics, firmware and mechanical all came together for a startup project we are working on. The integration went very smoothly with the electrical and firmware performing as was expected. Our startup client was thrilled to see their product come to life! Below is John’s quick email to the team:

“Congrats and thanks to the team who worked tirelessly to make this happen. Great job everyone!”

Reasons to Celebrate

Here is a laundry list of reasons to celebrate with your project team

  • Create a culture of teamwork and collaboration
    • Examples of people going the extra mile
    • Example of cross-functional collaboration
  • Create a culture of ongoing improvement
    • Errors not repeated
    • New ideas that were tried and did not work, that we learned from
    • Individual skills demonstrated
    • Better ideas that worked
  • As Tom Peters advises, “celebrate what you want more of”

How you might go about doing it:

  • Email, (or even better a handwritten note) of appreciation – just a few words recognizing a specific act or level of performance that is contributing to project success.
  • Public thank you or kudos at a stand up meeting with the team or for big milestones at a party or lunch to celebrate
  • LinkedIn kudos – A quick and easy way with a big impact is to do it directly on LinkedIn.