Take Time to Celebrate
OL 7102, Assignment 3
DuBose, Justin Z.
Dr. Robert Schultz
28 July 2019
The Value of Celebration
Research continues to demonstrate the importance of leaders celebrating with their followers. For example, Johnson (2013) noted that crises are inevitable and that everyone will, at various points, face a crisis together. When a crisis hits people and organizations, it causes various kinds of damage to those impacted (physical, emotional, social, psychological, etc.) and Johnson (2013) noted that celebrating victories in the midst of crisis can both positively contribute to the healing process and help others learn. Johnson (2013) also noted that celebrating demonstrates care and compassion for others and that these celebrations contribute to raising the awareness of others of the value of their fellow human beings in times of crisis or otherwise.
Jensen (1996) also noted that celebrations can raise awareness of corporate, or shared, values. While Johnson (2013) focused on the value of human worth, Jensen (1996) focused on organizational values. Jensen (1996) noted that leaders should be asking the question of themselves and others of, “how does this affect our important values?” and that, if the actions of others markedly align with and contribute to important values, then a fitting celebration needs to occur. Doing so, they noted, continues to reinforce the expressed and desired values of the organization.
Warrick (2017) noted several additional benefits of corporate celebration. Firstly, he noted that celebrations actually serve to increase the performance and effectiveness of an organization. When leaders take time to celebrate with their followers, it serves as a morale boost to those who labor so diligently and their performance and desire to perform well increases. Similarly, it also pushes those present for the celebration to perform well to achieve the same recognition and award. Warrick (2017) also posited that celebrations increase the ability of organizations to attract, retain, and motivate talented people. When people outside the organization take note of how employees are celebrated within the organization, they desire to become a part of such an organization. Not only does this celebration express and reinforce values, but it also demonstrates care and compassion for those inside the organization (Johnson, 2013). One noted example of this is Tony Shieh, the CEO of Zappos, Inc. Shieh is noted for the celebratory tone of his company and he places such a high value on celebrations that he views every other function as stemming from such actions. When asked about the importance of celebrations, Hsieh noted that establishing an organizational culture that celebrates others is so important that, when this is successfully established, every other aspect of organizational culture will more naturally fall into place (Hsieh, 2010). Consequently, Hsieh focuses on establishing and reinforcing the desired organizational culture of Zappos through frequent celebrations of employees and achievements.
Feldman (1981) noted the benefit of celebrations in providing increased socialization opportunities for employees. Socialization provides increased resiliency amongst employees and, coupled with celebrating the achievements of fellow employees, also publicly reinforces values and behavior. Feldman (1981) further noted that shared experiences between employees create lasting, meaningful bonds which provide for a more cohesive unit and allow for a heightened sense of family and belonging. In this way, celebrations also serve the purpose of reminding employees that they are part of a family and not just an employee collecting a paycheck.
One great example of celebrations comes in the form of my own Brigade Commander, Colonel Sherman. These past three weeks, our engineering unit has been laboring together on a training exercise and our people are weary. Within the first week, Colonel Sherman decided to end each staff meeting with a “good news story” from the troops. He took this opportunity to not only celebrate that daily achievements and actions of his Soldiers, but also to tie such actions to the overall purpose of the mission. These small celebrations began to have a cumulative effect on the Soldiers, which culminates in an awards ceremony on our final day in the field. As Soldiers were celebrated, pride in their unit grew as did their desire to exemplify the values of the mission. Even in these small, short celebrations, the conclusion of researchers about the value of celebration was evident.
Feldman, D. C. (1981). The multiple socialization of organization members. Academy of Management Journal, 6(2), 309—318. Accessed on July 29, 2018.
Hsieh, T. (2010). Delivering happiness: A path to profits, passion, and purpose. New York: Grand Central Publishing.
Jensen, J.V. (1996). Ethical tension points in whistleblowing. In A. Jaksa & M.S. Pritchard (Eds.), Responsible communication: Ethical issues in business, industry, and the professions (pp. 41-51). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton.
Johnson, C. E. (2013). Meeting the ethical challenges of leadership: Casting light or shadow (5th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: SAGE
Warrick, D.D. (2017). What leaders need to know about organizational culture. Business Horizons, 60, 395-404. Accessed on July 29, 2018.
NG, LR, & NCU
My collection of personal papers written over the years