• Time for reward, celebration and renewal.

    Time for reward, celebration and renewal.

    Posted 27/10/2011 By in GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR PEOPLE With | No Comments

    Its been a crazy busy year for most of us.  If you live in Queensland we started off the year with floods and cyclones, and of course we’ve all been affected in some way by international financial events.

    The work I’ve been doing with teams has been interesting this year.  There’s much talk of change fatigue – people being wearied by the scale, scope, rate, volume (and sometimes the apparent pointlessness) of change.  In my observations and discussions it’s clear that people have been asked to do more and give more than ever before, and that’s not just at work.  With disaster, comes the need for aid and relief organisations and more and more not for profit agencies are asking us more frequently to dig into our pocket and give that little bit extra.  We here in Australia are some of the lucky ones, of that there’s no doubt.  But even so, there is a limit to how much we can give of ourselves before we need to take time out for renewal, reward and celebration and heading into the end of the calendar year is a great time to do it.  I say to the (predominantly female) managers I coach (they’re often mothers too),  ”If you don’t make time for yourself, you’ll not be able to perform at your best and will ultimately let down those who need you.”   Sounds harsh right?  Apparently it needs to be as the natural tendency (that I’ve observed) is to give, give, give while neglecting themselves and ultimately their engagement, health, relationships, work etc all suffer.  If you want to continue performing at your peak and not let anyone down… you MUST make time to re-energise.  What’s the saying…..  “He who laughs and runs away lives to fight another day.”

    By the way, it’s your actions that people choose to listen to, not just your words.  If you take action, quarantine some time for your team and go through a process of recognising their efforts, achievement and the challenges they’ve faced (yes, its okay to say it was a tough year) and encouraging them, through your actions, to take some time for themselves and to celebrate the year then you’re modelling your belief that it’s important.  So important that you do it too.  I like to think about the unspoken messages contained in our actions.  What do people really take on board of what I say, do and don’t do?  Last harangue…  If you don’t act to change the culture you work in, then you’re agreeing its the right one.

    Here’s a quick activity you can arrange for your team that has produced great benefits when I’ve run it in the past.  It blends some acknowledgement with a little celebration and a reward for their efforts.

    1. Set a date for a celebration.  Schedule a couple of hours, allowing them to go home afterwards.  Include lunch – as a species we’ve bonded over food for tens of thousands of years.
    2. Advise the team that each member has a feedback envelope into which every team member will place a piece of positive feedback about the envelope owner.  You can set the scene and lead the feedback by suggesting it starts with “Something I really like about [working with] you is…..”
    3. Ask each team member to think about and be prepared to share their biggest professional or personal challenge in the preceding year.  Get them to have it written down (this is important).
    4. Start the session by recognising each persons special effort they’ve made (you will need to think about this prior to the session), what they’ve done well and what you appreciate.
    5. Acknowledge the difficulties of the year (these are often pink elephants that while quite clearly in the room, no-one chooses to talk about).  This is not about lamenting the fact, merely acknowledging it.
    6. Ask each team member to read out their own challenge.  Once done they are to vigourously screw the paper it’s written on up and slam dunk it into a bin or suitable refuse receptacle you’ve provided for the purpose.
    7. At the end  of this thank them for contributing.
    8. Ask each person to think of (give a few minutes for this) one thing they are going to do differently next year.  You write these down on a piece of butchers paper and reflect throughout the year.
    9. The above exercise should take no more than 30 – 45 mins for a team of 10.
    10. Hand out the personal feedback envelopes and give participants time to read and reflect – sharing is voluntary and will happen spontaneously if it’s going to.
    11. Go to lunch and shout the first round.
    Feel free to contact me with any questions you might have or if you’d like to vary the above to suit your specific situation.

    Please help me to spread the word by sharing.

      Sean is an experienced coach, speaker and facilitator who is passionate about improving the relationship between people, their work and the organisations they work for. If you want to get the most out of your managers, supervisors and their teams and think that work can or should be a rewarding and enjoyable component of a productive and meaningful life it might be worth a chat.

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