Triumphant Teams

How often do you celebrate success? This is one of the most underutilized motivational levers for teams.

TRIUMPHANT = achieving victory or success

Your brain appreciates a celebration! It is wired to release reward chemicals when celebrating. We get a sense of well-being from oxytocin and the endorphins. They enable us to experiment, take risks and learn. Serotonin adds focus and can even transform stress into success. Dopamine gives us the ability to pay attention to critical tasks and ignore distracting information.

These neurochemical reactions in our brains drive our states of mind, and are strongly connected to motivation. The brain wants to repeat behaviors that created the positive chemical rush.

Great leaders identify, measure, recognize, and reward meaningful efforts and achievements—and celebrate often with the people involved. ~ Judith Glaser

Use the neuroscience of success to lead a triumphant team:

  1. Chunk It – if you have a large goal, don’t wait to celebrate. Break it down into smaller goals. The power of small wins along the way leads to a more triumphant team in the end because you are motivating them along the journey. Think of celebration as refilling the motivational tank. The more creatively you celebrate along the way and fill the tank, the more industrious and creative your team becomes.
  2. New View – don’t get stuck in a rut. Intentionally identify opportunities to do something different for a new view or perspective. Routine can be the enemy of endorphins, so mixing up the norm and looking for opportunities to air emotions can release the floodgates of this brain chemical. Rather than wait for something to be finished (project rut) celebrate a first, an anniversary of something or a transition from one phase to the next.   
  3. Validate Success – it’s easy to point out the negative, the problems, the project issues and failures. When you celebrate success and remind people what has worked, it serves to reinforce the positive. You get what you focus on, so why continuously remind everyone what’s wrong? Celebrate and validate what’s right and the brain responds. Your team will be tuned in to do more of what is working!
  4. Simple – celebration does not need to be complex. From a specific, thoughtful appreciation message to a 5-minute free-for-all with balloons and party streamers, there are many forms of celebration. Ask the team for ideas and try something new. Team dinners are great, but consider new ways of celebrating to get out of the rut. Make a memory and massively recharge motivation.  

WARNING – failure to celebrate can lead to mental lethargy that will result in less focus and decreased performance over time. When you fail to celebrate accomplishments, you are training your brain (and your team’s brains) that what you are doing isn’t all that exciting and important. Is that the message you want to convey?

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