June 20, 2014

Getting and Giving Recognition

My firm’s fiscal year runs July through June, which means that April is an anxious month of building your case for a stellar year-end review, May is an anxious month of waiting for your review to happen (but having no idea how it went)… and then in June, we finally get our results. The month culminates with a big Promotion Day celebration sponsored by each of the local offices, and it’s always a lot of fun. There are a few parts of the day that are for promotees only, but the day as a whole is a chance for everyone to come together for our year’s end, and share in the celebration of all of our people. This year, though, I was one of the promotees, making the big jump from senior associate to manager. I worked really hard for this promotion, and I am so excited!

In New York, where my company is headquartered, we pretty much fill the Javits Center with a few thousand people. In Denver, though, it’s a bit smaller… and I actually loved it even more. Today started out with a breakfast at a local restaurant for everyone who got promoted. Our market leaders in each of the service lines announced every single promotee, asking us to stand up while everyone else in the room applauded. We were then asked to complete the Denver office tradition of making a “five word acceptance speech” about what we were most excited about with our promotion. Some were hilarious (“Better title, better money, YAY!”), and it was a great way to get the day off to a laughing, happy start. From there, we walked over to Elitch Gardens, where we were joined by the rest of our colleagues.

Ferris Wheel Elitch Gardens
It was a gorgeous blue sky day!

We reviewed our company’s financials and some stats for the year, but also got to do some fun stuff – like watch a video of submissions for a “best selfie of the year” competition. And then, more recognition – each promotee was called up to the stage while everyone applauded. Finally, we enjoyed a magic show and a yummy barbecue lunch before heading out to enjoy the rides. I definitely got a little dizzy on the Mind Eraser rollercoaster!

Denver Panorama Elitch Gardens
See that red and blue coaster on the bottom right in this gorgeous pic of the Denver skyline? (Click to enlarge) That is the Mind Eraser. Photo credit: Casey Reynolds

I’ve really been working my butt off this year, and it felt so great to have that recognized at Promotion Day. Sometimes some words of appreciation are all it takes to renew your motivation and enthusiasm, and it’s amazing to me to see how far that simple “great job” can go at relieving burnout.

I tend to be very self-critical and kind of a perfectionist. Although I’m a pretty optimistic person, I tend to focus on what went wrong with something, so I can fix them in the future, rather than what went right. But today reminded me that it’s actually very valuable and necessary to celebrate your successes. As I learned from running marathons, so much of performance is the attitude that you put into it, so recognizing success is one easy (and fun!) way to improve performance.

As I’ve mentioned before, we’re coming up on the go-live for our project, and things are getting already really crazy at work. Therefore, we’ve decided not to do another round of 6×6 goals for the time being – which is probably a good thing, since I completely fell short on my last set.

But I am going to set one goal for myself during this busy period. I want to make sure that I’m appreciating and thanking each one of my team members when they do a good job – instead of just taking for granted that good work comes with the territory. I’m not going to start handing out kudos like they’re worthless, but I do want to make sure I’m noticing the little things that might otherwise slip by unrecognized. Whether or not this improves performance, I honestly don’t care, but I do hope that it makes them feel just as valued and appreciated as I felt today.

Thank you so much to my firm for giving us a day to celebrate our accomplishments!


8 thoughts on “Getting and Giving Recognition”

  1. Congrats Laura on the promotion!!! I can’t stand dizzy rides so kudos to you for surviving the coaster! Always a good reminder to not be so over ally critical. I always find that tough with running that first question people will ask is ‘what was your time?’. More important to celebrate the accomplishment of completing the race or event instead of where you finished. Easier said than done however…. 🙂

    1. Completely agree, Kate! Time is not the only measure of a good race – sometimes it’s more about the experience or who you meet along the way.

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