By Ross Hutchings, CAE, Executive Director, CSDA
Regardless of whether you are an optimist, realist, or pessimist, to help build team morale and keep your organization moving forward business experts today agree that it is important to celebrate your successes. Because most of us tend to look at things a bit more pragmatic, we are probably saying to ourselves right now, “Yea, but…” So, let’s clear the air— yes, an organization that only focuses on its wins, eventually loses. We must examine what we are not doing well and figure out how to do it better. And I would dare say that most of what we do in managing our organizations is just that— figuring out how we can improve things. What I want to point out here, however, is the sometimes-forgotten technique of applauding your team for a job well done.
If you do a search about celebrating successes you will find articles about 3 reasons, 6 reasons, 10 reasons, etc. Regardless of how you break it down, they all have one thing in common— recognizing individual and group accomplishments is an important piece to a productive team. Some of the reasons are obvious, while others may be a bit more obscure. First of all, recognizing success is very powerful. It changes your physiology— releases dopamine, which is the euphoric natural chemical helping us feel good or happy. Because this is such a positive physical reaction, people want to repeat the action, which changes the psychology throughout the organization.
Peer recognition is powerful because it brings external validation to a team member’s work. It boosts their self-esteem, which according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, is the second highest. Celebrating success within a team brings them closer together through self-reflection on how it took everyone on that team to achieve this goal. By recognizing both individual and team achievements the team becomes more cohesive and unified.
Success begets success— by recognizing the successes individuals and/or teams have achieved you are providing the blueprint and setting the tone for the organization. It becomes a positive mindset or self-image for each of the team members. Break down the overall goal into smaller achievable milestones and celebrate these along the way. You may find a synergy that helps you achieve your goals quicker than expected.
I recently celebrated my first year here as your Executive Director and as an example of celebrating successes and recognizing accomplishments, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for the great work you have done this year. I have been amazed at the amount of volunteerism that exists in this industry. It starts with the directors— the dedication and willingness to travel throughout the year to attend the myriad of meetings that CA DCSS and CSDA holds, is nothing but astonishing. Then most of them serve on at least one, if not many committees and workgroups, spending another tremendous amount of time and energy working to ensure we are providing the best service possible to our clients in pursuit of benefiting the children throughout the state. Add to that the number of members of LCSAs who work on various CSDA committees and task forces, some serving as chairs and many attending multiple meetings each year.
It would be impossible (and take too long) to list all that CSDA has done this year; however, I would like to point out at least some of the exceptional achievements we have accomplished:
- Created new bi-monthly ONE VOICE Newsletter
- New strategic plan and one-year business plan
- Reenergized Advocacy Committee— began work on issues/positions
- Work and products from 13 active committees
- Annual Child Support Conference & Expo
- Leadership Institute
- Legal College
- Policy Symposium on Children & Families
- Began revamp of committees, policies and procedures, bylaws
- Working on updating tools for communication: Poll Everywhere, SharePoint, expanded Level 3, creating discussion boards, etc.
- Membership meetings with deep-dive discussions to facilitate “one voice”
- Strategic-focusing Board
- Director visits at their LCSAs
We still have more to do to achieve what we all hope from this organization, but we are on the right path. It starts with our leadership, your President, Vice President, and officers along with the hard work and direction set by your Board of Directors. It continues with the motivation and leadership exhibited by our committee and task force chairs, the collective voices and opinions from our committee members, directors, and other LCSA members at our membership meetings, and through the support of our business partners and other non-IVD stakeholders.
I would be remiss if I did not thank the professionalism and dedication from your staff team: Lisa Bispham, Danielle Wermund and Sheri Sundahl — they work very hard to support your efforts.
Thank you for your efforts and hard work. With your continued guidance, knowledge, and passion I am looking forward to many more great things in the years to come!