By Brad Ball
Big Buzz Idea Group
Celebrating wins and recognizing opportunities for improvement are crucial components of successful and connected teams. Each week, the staff at Big Buzz Idea Group meets on Monday and Friday mornings and included on those agendas is “Something Good” and “Something Better.” By taking just a few minutes each week to connect about successes and SNAFUs, we enjoy a deeper connection to one another and the work we do for our clients.
“The power of progress is fundamental to human nature, but few managers understand it or know how to leverage progress to boost motivation.” From “The Power of Small Wins” by Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer, Harvard Business Review magazine, May 2011.
We’ve probably all been part of a team that’s celebrated the big wins: a fundraising campaign that exceeded its goal, record-breaking event attendance, or finally passing those long overdue bylaws rewrites which have been put off for years. Without a doubt, each of these is an important achievement worthy to recognize.
What about recognizing the smaller wins? Some examples of this could be the email newsletter that went out on time, the social media post that went viral or even that the whole team is healthy and on the job.
Why is this important? Celebrating wins builds momentum. Taking the time to enjoy the little successes helps not only to build team camaraderie, but it also helps to build motivation to tackle the bigger tasks.
The beauty of “Something Good” as a standing agenda item is that everyone is expected to come to the Monday meeting with their “win” ready to go. This portion of the agenda rarely takes more than 10 minutes but always leaves the team feeling positive about what happened last week and gets them ramped up for productive work in the coming week.
As a bonus to the “Something Good” segment, you can also add (as we do) “Shout Outs” to your team connect. This is a moment for staff to publicly recognize one another for a notable action or assistance they performed the prior week.
People want to feel appreciated, even for things they may just see as their job, and this is just the right time to make it happen. Acceptance and genuine praise are human needs, deeply encoded in our brains as means of survival and tribal connection, so provide it to them. (A bonus here: an authentic or heartfelt shout out from a manager or a peer can inspire a stronger work ethic, greater productivity, better end results and a deeper dedication to the team and the mission.)
“Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together.” – Brene Brown
The team at Big Buzz Idea Group recently implemented a new weekly discussion at our Friday all-team meetings. We go around and everyone identifies “Something Better” from their week. “Something Better” refers to an instance where we learned a lesson, could have or wish we had done something differently, or even a straight-up failure.
The speaker identifies the issue and usually provides a little context, then describes how, if given the opportunity for a do-over, they could have done that thing better. A simple concept yet a powerful tool for reflection and knowledge transfer.
As the cliche goes, hindsight is always performed with 20/20 vision. So, taking the opportunity to identify our errors, omissions or should-haves gives us a regular opportunity to continue growing in our awareness of our performance as employees, teammates and service providers.
It’s important to note that “Something Better” is not meant to be a period of judgement or criticism. It is intended to build culture and buy-in, not alienate team members by publicly shaming them for performance errors.
Each employee is responsible to bring their own “Something Better” item and reflection to the meeting; they are never brought by one team member for another. If invited, others might share a related experience or tip on how they’ve overcome a similar challenge or error in the past.
The trick to making “Something Better” a successful part of your team meeting is that no one should leave feeling badly. The exercise is intended to be observational, hopeful and forward-thinking about lessons learned and how to do things better.
Tying It All Together
When people feel more connected to each other and the work they do together, the organization will also benefit. Teams making regular opportunities to connect about what they did well and what they could do better is, in itself, something good.
If you’re looking for a new way to build connections in your team, this is a simple, effective and rewarding way to get started.