Let’s Talk… Celebrating Success

April 4, 2018

For this week’s “Let’s Talk…” feature, we asked nearly a dozen thought leaders, including startup founders, to discuss how they celebrate success in their businesses. ‘School-style’ awards, wine and cheese afternoons, a whole-of-company trip to Bali, recognition on social media, hot air ballooning and the sounding of a gong were amongst the celebratory traditions named.

Commentators also spoke of the importance of celebrating wins, both big and small, as a team, including the ‘special moments’ that occur in employees’ personal lives, and the need for celebration to go hand in hand with reflection and review. One executive even revealed how he and his team pre-plan celebrations as a means to motivate staff to reach the next big milestone.


Read on for further insights from this week’s line-up of commentators…

“How do you celebrate success in your business?”

Sabri Suby, Founder and CEO of King Kong: “We celebrate big and small! Team members sounds the gong when a sale is made or ring the brass bell when we go live on a campaign/project or get our client a lead. As you can imagine, our office is constantly buzzing.”

“I encourage our team to be innovative and to change the game, and those type of successes deserve recognition. When our team does something exceptional we like to think big, like taking the entire team to Bali! We run competitions with prizes within each team to encourage innovation and are rolling out a rewards scheme that puts the power of recognition to the team instead of managers.”

Danielle Fletcher, Marketing and Strategy Director with Kimberlin Education & Portfolio CEO, Heads Over Heels: At Kimberlin Education celebrating the small wins are just as important as the big moments. Being in education we like to celebrate our individual team member achievements with school style award certificates, that team members can put on their desk walls. A little bit nostalgic, they may remind you of classroom praise, but without fail they are an effective way to say thank you that always puts a smile on the team’s face.”

Deb Noller, Founder and CEO of Switch Automation and Portfolio CEO, Heads Over Heels: “We celebrate success wildly, with champagne, and by recognizing the individual as well as team contributions.”

Debbie O’Connor, founder, White River Design: “We have a strong brand culture of celebrating even the smallest of wins in our studio and co-working space. This includes the ringing of our ‘victory bell’ and publicly sharing our win on social media. When we reach our quarterly goals, we celebrate in style with rewards that we might not usually be able to enjoy. These have included the Harbour Bridge Climb, hot air ballooning, spa sessions, high tea, the theatre, harbour cruising and fine dining. Celebrating with your team is an integral part in recognising everyone’s hard work and contribution to the success of the business.”

Michael Morris, Head of HR and Talent, Employsure: “Success is not just about a person’s ability to complete the tasks and elements of their job, but more how they apply your business values in their work. We acknowledge performance and achievements based on an equation which forms the foundation of everything we do. The equation is Performance = Capability x Values². This equation for us symbolises that whilst capability is important for any individual and is the qualifier, their values are paramount and are what differentiates them in their success. We recruit, train, measure, recognise, develop, reward, promote, and celebrate based on this principle.

“But it’s not just acknowledging success at work, take the time to celebrate what matters to your employees outside of work – whether a new family member, a proposal, graduations, sporting events, or personal achievements – it’s about celebrating those special moments that will build the culture of celebrating success within.”

Sreelesh Pillai, General Manager at Freshworks AustraliaIt’s important to always celebrate success in business. We pre-plan our celebrations, we all sit together as a team and when discussing our next big milestone we also plan the resulting celebration for when we achieve it.

“This is a great way to ensure we’re all on the same page and that the team is motivated and focused on the goals that lay ahead of us. It’s also important to not just celebrate the big milestones, we also ensure to celebrate the small wins – this creates a positive and driven working culture.”

Ben Handler, Co-founder and CEO of Cohen Handler: We celebrate success in a unique way at Cohen Handler — we ring a bell in our Potts Point office and everyone goes a little crazy. Having multiple offices in Australia and around the world makes it hard to celebrate wins altogether, but we combat this by ensuring that when a great achievement occurs, we make it known across the company by posting it on our internal Salesforce Chatter. This helps everyone within the business strive, recognise and celebrate the achievements – big or small – of their colleagues. We don’t view each office and its wins as separate silos, but as an integral part of the whole company community to be celebrated by all.

“We also measure our success as a business by growth rather than profitability. This vision leads us to greater job opportunities, overall staff improvements and professional growth for our employees, which in the long run leads to the success of the business and more satisfied clients.

Mick Spencer, Founder and CEO of ONTHEGO: “At ONTHEGO we always celebrate success as a team. When an individual team member achieves a goal, we recognise their success and share the news in our internal group chat for everyone to see. Despite how busy we are, and how hard we’re pushing, we make a point of taking the time to celebrate major company achievements and anniversaries. Like the company, we like to make these celebrations unique, edgy, and inclusive – and they usually involve something that is active and social.”

Rhys Taylor, ANZ Regional Director with Aerohive: “Celebrating success is both about rewarding teams for their effort and ideas, and also taking a moment to reflect and review. Instead of immediately starting to scale the next mountain, stop to celebrate achievement goals. Share rewards with those who helped produce them.”

Professor Jana Matthews, Director of the Australian Centre for Business Growth at UniSA: “When your company moves into rapid growth, it feels like you’re travelling in the fast lane. Finding enough time to do the work and keep up can be challenging – let alone celebrating success! But even high achievers need acknowledgement for what they have accomplished.

“At the Australian Centre for Business Growth, we sometimes do a drum roll as we announce a goal that was achieved, and other times we do formal things like wine and cheese afternoons or send flowers to celebrate the launch of a new website or a product.”

“We also try to role model the behaviour we want our CEOs to adopt. At the beginning of each Business Growth Module, we present an Hour Glass to the company that has made the most progress, and at the end of the Module, we present a different coloured Hour Glass to the company that has set the most aggressive growth goals to be achieved before the next Module.

“Celebrating success is more than just a pat on the back. It’s about reminding everyone that hard work is required and that it takes more than one person to enable your team to grow.”


About “Let’s Talk…”

“Let’s Talk…” is an exciting weekly initiative that provides entrepreneurs and industry experts with a forum to share rapid-fire views on a range of issues that matter to start-ups and SMEs. Every Wednesday, we pose a themed question to a line-up of knowledgeable industry figures, with a view to picking their brains for valuable insights to share with you, our readers.

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