Thursday, January 11, 2018

Are You Celebrating Your Victories?

Image Courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Are you taking the time to celebrate your victories? How about recognizing your key performers? Too often leaders expect their team to just do their job, and the only time the members get an indication of whether they are doing good or bad is when they are being yelled at for a mistake, and this is despite studies that show people are motivated by praise and will work longer and harder for a manager who provides praise rather than scold.

For this reason, I often say that many managers and leaders will finish a job but not Complete it, and hence why the final C in the C4 Leader formula is Complete. One of the aspects of Complete is recognizing milestones and significant team players throughout a project. A while ago I was on a project for an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation, and I came in as the 4th Project Manager. The project was supposed to last 18 months, but 3 years later I joined the team as it was struggling through the bog of missing requirements, rotating developers, and apathetic management support.

With the help of new Functional and Quality Leads, as well as a redefinition of process and roles, the project lurched into motion. Roughly 6 months after the project stabilized we were able to go live with a Phase 1 version of the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 implementation.


As the first order processed, we all made a conscious effort to follow the progress and work to correcting the issues that often arise when you have 4+ developers and 4 project managers rotate through a project. Also deeply involved were experts from the company in the realm of sales orders, procurement, manufacturing, and quality. Towards the end, it was a real team effort with a significant push and a lot of last minute corrections throughout the final implementation.

As the first product from the new system received final approvals from the company quality department I had it put aside for a minute and organized a team photo around the 1st product to be manufactured using the new Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 ERP system. As we huddled around the product there were smiles on everyone's faces as a real milestone was accomplished for the company, a company that originally performed it's planning and purchasing on Excel spreadsheets had leaped into the 21st Century.

Here's the real treat though. First, I sent the picture via email to everyone within the project with a Congratulatory email. Then I wrote an acknowledgment for the entire team as well as recognizing significant contributions by specific people. This write-up was then distributed via email to the company as well as added to the cycle on the company intranet. Everyone learned who was involved in the ERP implementation and that a major milestone was accomplished!

But wait, there's more! I also took that picture and created a custom greeting/thank you card which was sent to the entire ERP implementation team and then sent brownies with the card to the people most instrumental in the implementation of the ERP! Dozens of boxes and nearly 100 cards were delivered to the company on the same day, distributed to the people who were involved. Months later those cards are still on people's desks, reminding them that they are appreciated and of the accomplishment they were a part of.

In other projects, I try to pick significant milestones to acknowledge people and say "Thank you" for the work they've done. At the end of projects (or major phases) I try to do something to commemorate the accomplishment. Even when a project doesn't go exactly as planned, I make efforts to ensure the team feels appreciated.

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In one instance I had a project canceled mid-stream due to market condition changes that made the project economically unviable. It was no fault of the team, however, almost everyone was let go (including myself). Before most everyone left I made sure that as many as possible received a handwritten thank you card from me identifying what I knew of their accomplishments and wishing them luck in the future. I felt horrible that the project ended that way, but I also thought it was critical to ensure the team knew I appreciated them and that it wasn't their actions that caused the cancellation.

Today I ask, as we move forward into the New Year, what are you doing to show your team you care? Are you recognizing your team members? Their contributions? Their accomplishments? Are you showing your thanks? You aren't Completing the project if you aren't showing appreciation. Even when things don't go exactly according to plan, you can find ways to show your appreciation.

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If you want to know how I sent those cards and brownies, go to the link below:

https://www.sendoutcards.com/mmorey/

I've posted several points and credits for you to use. The first 15 people should be able to send a card or two with the value of the account. It's a great way to customize your thank yous and you can even add custom branding and personalized handwriting to the cards! I've used these for several projects and they always end up staying on the desk. It is so much more personal and present than a "thank you" email.  You can even do it from your phone! If you would like to know more, let me know.

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