Your team has just completed a major project, introduced a new product or closed a major deal. Tremendous effort and dedication was required and as a result success was achieved. Everyone is excited, and everyone is pleased. And, everyone is tired and might not know what comes next.
This article is for leaders who find themselves in that situation, or hope to be there soon. The key question is: What do you do once the success has been achieved to move the team towards new goals or achievements?
There are at least six things a leader can and truly must do to help people in the success moment and beyond to set them up for even greater success.
The Six Ways
Recognize and celebrate.
With success comes the need for recognition. People need to know they are appreciated and need to be recognized for their role in the project’s success. The nature of the task and your organizational culture will inform you of the best ways to recognize people, but don’t be constrained by approaches you have done in the past. Be willing to show your appreciation in variety of ways. Beyond recognition, give people a chance to celebrate the results of their hard work and the effort they expended. Please make the celebration real, heartfelt and fun!
Refresh, rejuvenate and refocus.
All three of these are important! People may be physically and emotionally tired. Give them time to refresh and rejuvenate. While these two things can happen with time, they can be aided by you as well. Relax expectations for a bit of time. Give people a chance to breathe. Know however that while this time is important, it can’t be too long. As a leader you must monitor people’s energy level and emotional state. Basking in success is positive, and you must not let that turn to complacency or lethargy. Once people are ready to rebound, you must help them refocus . . . which leads to the next point.
Remind people of the big picture.
Your success came in part because people bought into the project and understood its importance. After that achievement is reached it can be hard to refocus people. The best way to do that is to remind them of the big picture, the purpose of their work. Help them see the recent success as one more step towards the ultimate goal. Putting the success in context isn’t meant to trivialize it. On the contrary, done effectively it can actually make it more meaningful.
Review lessons learned.
After any major project, especially a big success, it is important to review what happened looking for lessons. Search for the things that went well that you want to make sure you repeat. Look too for the errors, snags or situations that can be improved next time. Solidify this review by documenting the lessons and next steps.
There may be a variety of expectations to be reset: working hours, level of urgency, costs and a variety of other tradeoffs might need to be re-calibrated as the work returns to “normal.” Based on the great results you achieved you also may raise expectations – people may have learned things and gained new skills in the process that help them raise their personal expectations for their productivity and results.
Rock on towards the next target.
One success can fuel the next. If you do the previous five things well, you will capture the momentum and move on towards new targets and success!