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In the insurance world, we focus on loss prevention. We’re experts on the nature of risk and we pride ourselves on the level of protection we give small enterprises when bad things happen. But the bad days aren’t all we think about; we want you to know we’re cheering for the wins as well, and we want you to celebrate them as keenly as you feel the losses.
So why should you celebrate the wins in the first place, especially the smaller ones? Wouldn’t it be easier to just move onto the next challenge and take it for granted that things should go right?
Yes, and no.
You shouldn’t celebrate everything. You don’t need a certificate of appreciation for keeping the floor clean and no one is going to throw you a parade for paying the electricity bill on time. Tiny wins are good, but not great, and celebrating everything defeats the purpose. But for a genuine achievement like reaching a goal, completing a project, or getting through a particularly onerous task… these are significant accomplishments and deserve to be put on a pedestal.
Wins are what you want them to be. If you’re an architect, it might be coming up with an elusive design solution. If you’re an accountant, it may just be getting through the month of July. For an electrician, finding the right apprentice might be a special occasion, while a hairdresser might only break out the bubbly after the bridal party’s left with all their ‘up-do’s intact.
The benefits of remembering and rejoicing wins can be extraordinary. First of all, it’s much more fun to dwell on the positives than the negatives! As humans, we’re pre-disposed to feel losses twice as much as we do gains (1). We feel losses with a painful sting, but we take wins for granted with a grumpy sort of acceptance instead of joy. It’s called ‘Loss Aversion’ theory, and while it’s awesome at keeping us away from silly risks, it often prevents us from pumping our fists in the air and shouting for joy. Sometimes we need to make a conscious effort to be happy, just to stop ourselves spending half of our lives being miserable.
By celebrating wins we also mark progress, which spurs us on and keeps us engaged. If you have staff, this becomes even more important as they are naturally less invested in the business than you and benefit from taking some ownership of the business goals. Think of it like this; if you had a goal to lose 20kgs by the end of the year but didn’t check your weight during the year, would you be as motivated as someone who regularly clocked in and experienced the satisfaction of charting their success? Keeping tabs is important. Fitbit users take 43% more steps than everyone else during their day for a reason (2).
The first rule is to do what makes you, your partner(s) or your staff happy. If it feels good and it’s legal, go for it because that’s the point; feeling good about what you’ve done.
The next thing you might want to think about is keeping it in perspective. A bottle of bubbly might suffice for our hairdressing salon after a big Saturday full of bridal appointments, but when the team wins ‘best salon’ at the local business awards they should get a night on the town.
The only other tip is to try and keep it natural. Don’t make it awkward, and don’t force it. If your team doesn’t feel like celebrating for whatever reason, don’t feel obliged to break out the party poppers. It’s meant to be fun, remember.
Here are some suggestions for a little R & R (remembering and rejoicing):
TIME (Have an afternoon off!)
LUNCH (Get together – the boss’s shout, natch)
PUBLICISE (Get on social media and let your pride shine)
COMPETE (Get a ‘wins’ board for some healthy competition)
PRIZES (Nothing fancy… movie tickets, bottle of wine etc.)
ACKNOWLEDGE (Let staff know it matters. Give them kudos & make it public)
TALK (Let people know about your wins, let them be happy for you)
One final thing when it comes to celebrating the wins – especially if you have staff – is that when someone in your team isn’t getting wins but it’s not through lack of effort or skill, you should be offering a similar level of support. Hold on the big celebration, but let them know you’re behind them. When the wins eventually come, you’ll smile together.
Insurers don’t always focus on the negatives. In fact, we see insurance as a hugely positive part of your business plan. But the truth is, we don’t get a chance to focus on the positives all that often. You can, though!
Make celebrating the good things in your business a part of your routine. And when the bad things do happen, you know who to call.