I’m going to Disneyland!

It’s the line we hear after every Super Bowl – the camera pans over to one of the star players, someone asks what he’s going to do next and the player shouts that he’s “going to Disneyland!”.  We easily accept that the players are celebrating their win.  Their fans are ecstatic, the big trophy is raised and the post game scene on the field is chaos.  Celebrating is a natural reaction to a win.  Hard work, thousands of hours in practice, and honed skills have led to victory and we’re happy to celebrate with them (well, if they’re “our team”, anyway!).  So why don’t we celebrate wins in the non-profit world?  We’ve planned, strategized, made calls, sent out emails, wrote letters, and worked hard to achieve a goal. Why don’t we “go to Disneyland?”  Yes, there’s plenty of work yet to be done so kicking back and relaxing for too long doesn’t make sense.  However, we gain so much by celebrating.  It boosts team morale, enables us to take a deep breath before we start working on the next project, and gives us a chance to reflect on what we’ve accomplished as a team.


Other than going to your favorite theme park, how can you and your team celebrate after a successful event?  Here are a few suggestions:

1.  Rest.   If your team has been putting in long hours for an extended period of time, give them a day off to recover.  You may have to stagger the days to keep the office open, but make sure that each employee schedules a day off within a week or two of the completed goal.  They’ll appreciate that you cared enough to give them a break and will come back refreshed and ready to tackle the next challenge.

2.  Party!   Cater a meal or go out to eat and pull the team in to savor the win.  Tell them how much you appreciated their hard work and share stories of what their efforts accomplished (lives changed, people helped, etc.).

3.  Appreciate.   In any significant achievement there are a few team members who really went the extra mile.  Praise those individuals publicly.  Share what they did that was so special and how they made an impact.  If possible, give them a gift and a certificate of appreciation – something tangible to say “thank you.”  They’ll cherish your recognition of their efforts and the whole team will be encouraged in the process.

4.  Inspire.   Use this moment to remind your team why you do what you do.  What goal did you just accomplish and how does completing that mission impact others?  What have you accomplished as a team that changes lives?  Share specific stories and if possible, have individuals who’ve benefited come in to share their stories with the team.  That will refocus and energize your team more than anything else you could do.

Celebrating isn’t just the realm of pro football players.  While you may not be able to take your team to Disneyland, you can still celebrate a win.  Celebrating energizes and prepares the team for the next big endeavor.  Don’t underestimate the value of celebration.

How do you celebrate a win with your team?