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The Power of Celebration [Podcast]

Episode 93: Michael and Kathryn talk about the power of celebration and how reflecting on the the big and small moments in life and work can generate resilience. If you want to stop having tunnel vision and start becoming mindful of moments in your company worth celebrating, then this episode is for you.

People celebrating illustration


In This Episode You Will...

  • Discover why celebrations boost morale and inspire hope.
  • Find out what Christmas memories have stayed with Michael all these years and how it affects his mindset during tough times.
  • Learn how your team can acknowledge and celebrate micro victories as a way to help increase productivity.
“Celebration as a community is really powerful, because it says we are not just about work and the grind, but that we stop and appreciate life."
– Michael Redman

Take the Leadership Blindspot Quiz

 

References:

The Power of Moments (by Chip Heath and Dan Heath)

The Carrot Principle (by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton)

 

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Michael:
              Hi everyone and welcome to the HaBO Village podcast. I'm Michael Redman.


Kathryn:
               And I'm Kathryn Redman.


Michael:
              And we're so glad to have you today. Today we're going to talk about celebrating. Celebration in business and how it affects as a business strategy for management, for your customers. This is a really great thing and it's a great timely thing, because holidays, first of the year type of thing and all this kind of stuff depending on when you listen to this. Or maybe you're going and listening through our old stuff and you're hearing this in the middle of Summer. Celebrations always a great time. It's always a great subject, and it's good for the bottom line. Let's talk about why.


Kathryn:
               Okay, let's talk about why.


Michael:
              All right, so-


Kathryn:
               Why does it a matter to celebrate Mr. Redman?


Michael:
              Do you like celebrating?


Kathryn:
               I love celebrating.


Michael:
              Why do you like celebrating?


Kathryn:
               Because you're stopping for a minute, amidst whatever else is going on in life to say, "Look, this was amazing. This went well. This got done. We need to just stop and be excited about this."


Michael:
              All right. I mean why is that important though? Why is that valuable to you?


Kathryn:
               Well, the obvious is morale, right?


Michael:
              Well, is it morale? Okay.


Kathryn:
               For me, it's morale. It builds me up. It makes me just like, "Okay, I'm doing for [crosstalk 00:01:16]."


Michael:
              She got taller.


Kathryn:
               I got taller in my seat when said that.


Michael:
              In Studio, all the sudden you can't see this.


Kathryn:
               You can just imagine.


Michael:
              Let me narrate. Kathryn moves to the front of her seat, stands up, straight into her spine and wiggles her head on top of her shoulders-


Kathryn:
               And appears to have increased morale. Just talking about increasing morale.


Michael:
              So, now that we're doing stuff for TV on Radio. Oh, Radio podcasts, it's audio. Okay. So it increases morale.


Kathryn:
               It do.


Michael:
              Right?


Kathryn:
               Yeah.


Michael:
              And I mean you're already smiling and laughing-


Kathryn:
               I know.


Michael:
              ... And enjoying yourself. What else about it? She's staring at me like daring headlights.


Kathryn:
               I know. He does this to me is like Audible's.


Michael:
              Come on, this is good. This is really good.


Kathryn:
               So it causes me to feel hope for the future too. Especially if you're celebrating incremental steps in a really big project.


Michael:
              Yeah.


Kathryn:
               When you stop to celebrate, "Hey, we got through this phase. Okay, I can celebrate. We got through this phase which gives me hope that I'm going to get through the next phase because I can remember when I didn't know if we're going to get through this phase."


Michael:
              Yeah, so that's really good.


Kathryn:
               So it increases my hope.


Michael:
              So it increases morale and increases hope. Let's talk about this for a few minutes because one of the things that's powerful in business, you're always looking forward to... Let's talk about your staff.


Michael:
              You're always trying to make sure that... If you have a good staff, that you're continuing to keep their morale up. You want to keep their performance up. You want to make sure that your providing that environment. We talked about this in culture, that environment that helps them perform optimally. You may be a person who just says, "I just want people to perform well." But you may be also a person who says something to the effect of, "Well, I do care that people know that I care about them." And celebration also says "We care about you. We care about something going on. Whether it's Christmas or whether it's your performance or anything like that." People have a moment to enjoy, to reflect.


Michael:
              But the reflection part's really important like you were just talking about, because the way human beings work in memory, we're thinking about now. Our brains really work on now and sometimes old things are programming us to influence and to how we influence the decisions we make, the thoughts we have, stuff like that, happy experiences or bad memories or something like that. But what happens is a lot of times we get stuck in that place where we don't remember all the bad times or the good times and we get really focused on how good or bad it is right now and during the hard times. We're focused on what sucks right now.


Kathryn:
               So we get a little tunnel vision.


Michael:
              So we do get tunnel vision and what happens is if you don't have moments of celebration and moments of sings where you go, "Yes, this went well. Yes, we survived this moment or this financial crisis or this recession or any of those things that happen in business." Because in business, one of the things we're trying to do is build resilience. We're trying to build resilience for ourself, for our staff, but as leaders we really need it because the roller coaster goes up and down.


Michael:
              When you're sitting there and you go, "Okay, I need to remember, have we ever encountered this situation before? Yeah. We had such hit situations before." If you don't stop and celebrate, they kind of all run together. Celebration actually is one of those things. What it does is it puts a mark-


Kathryn:
               Puts a mark in the sand. Yeah.


Michael:
              Yeah. I think one of the things that having holidays is really cool because you actually sit there and you remember and you stop. A holiday causes us in our lives in general forget business. It causes us to stop and say, "I'm celebrating something. We're being thankful for something." That's what celebration is, whether it's Thanksgiving and America or Christmas.


Kathryn:
               Veterans Day.


Michael:
              Veterans Day or something like that, and I say that in America because obviously in Europe they don't have Thanksgiving. We've experiences, we've been there for Thanksgiving and God-


Kathryn:
               It's a little weird.


Michael:
              Let's go to the Italian restaurant and have pizza because these people, it's just another day to them, which is really strange. And you start to realize also the rhythms of your own celebrations and holidays and stuff like that, but it gets you a chance to do that and like, "Oh, remember that year it was really hard and we had that Christmas where we didn't have a lot."


Michael:
              I have a memory of Christmas when I was a teenager where mom and dad just did not have a lot of money. There was some hard times that had happened and there's a memory of a Christmas where my mom would go to these places and she would buy off these discount tables. Literally junk.


Kathryn:
               I hating, Something to put in the stocking or under the tree.


Michael:
              Yeah. She wanted to give us gifts because my mom's love language is gift giving. To her it was super important to have gifts. Then from there it was, "Well, I'm going to give you something." And my sister and I were just like, "Okay, I've been given a camera that is an old dumb camera." They had these things called discs. It was a disc camera. Do you remember dis cameras?


Kathryn:
               I don't.


Michael:
              It was Brown and it looked like it was a real camera that looked like a-


Kathryn:
               Like a Polaroid?


Michael:
              No, not even a Polaroid.


Kathryn:
               Or like one of those vision things [crosstalk 00:06:24].


Michael:
              Yeah, the toys, where you look at stuff and it's 3D, View-Masters.


Kathryn:
               View-Master.


Michael:
              Right?


Kathryn:
               Oh, the View-Master.


Michael:
              The View-Master.


Kathryn:
               I do remember that.


Michael:
              This is a camera that had a card like the View-Master. The reason you don't remember it, is it sucked and it never made it in the marketplace, right? So what did I get for Christmas that year?


Michael:
              And because it wasn't working in the market, they were trying to unload it all and mom bought two or three of them and gave them to us and then you get that kind of stuff and like socks and underwear would have been better gifts.


Michael:
              Now, that doesn't sound like much of a celebration, but what I remember is I remember that Christmas more than most of the other Christmases. I remember the fact that my mom tried. I remember the fact that they were horrible gifts. I remember that I had a crappy attitude and later as I grew up, I realized that what my mom was doing and what she was trying to do and how hard it was that you're in our house and that we survived it and that we made it on to other things and grew up and all that kind of stuff.


Michael:
              It's moments like that where I go, "Well, this might be hard, but we've been through hard times before and we were able to get through." If we just said, "We're having a hard year, we're not going to celebrate it or anything." I would never have any of those memories. Now I'm not saying we should always have crappy memories, but the power of that to lodge into longterm memory is powerful.


Kathryn:
               Yeah,


Michael:
              And to give us reasons to hope. It's one of the reasons why you see in literature throughout history that people are reminded to build monuments or things like that. Or societies do that because they're remembering a victory that happened or remembering a difficult time that happened or survival through a drought or something like that.


Michael:
              And there's even The Dust Bowl in the Americas in the early 20th century I believe is when it happened kind of around the time of the great depression. You see that things of people surviving from it and so how do you celebrate? You celebrate victories to appreciate what you have and to move on. How do you do that in business? How do you do that in your company?


Michael:
              So we celebrate in multiple ways. We celebrate holidays. We have a Christmas party. We're recording this now in December. We've had our company Christmas party. Well we do white elephant gifts at the Christmas party, which are funnier than all get out. There's usually one that's really, really funny this year. It involved wigs and a very funny story that had to be read. I won't even go into it any further than that. You can find some of them on our Instagram and our Facebook page. Then from there we had a-


Kathryn:
               A secret Santa exchange yesterday.


Michael:
              Yeah. And so-


Kathryn:
               Those are real gifts [crosstalk 00:09:11].


Michael:
              We all have a $20 budget is the way we do it at Half a Bubble Out. And there's a drawing kind of right after Thanksgiving and you pick one person's name and you're willing to spend $20 and yet everybody in the company got a choice whether they want to participate or not. And everybody does, at least at our company, nobody wants to be lifted out.


Kathryn:
               Nobody wants to be left out.


Michael:
              And you have a little thing. Just so you know, if you've never done this before and you're trying to figure out how to do it, the way we do it is our staff has put together a Google Sheet with tabs for every person and there's like 15 questions on the tab.


Kathryn:
               Yeah. Stuff he likes stuff he don't like, what you're repulsed by, what you like, just to give some ideas so that you're not just trying to buy something in a vacuum.


Kathryn:
               The other thing that we got to do this year, which was interesting is it was the first time we have had to work out how we do it with somebody who's remote. So we have one of our favorite humans left Chico and moved to Idaho and but still is working with us. And so it was really fun because the person who pulled her, we just said, "Buy something that isn't super horribly expensive and we're going to do the FedEx thing and we'll pay for the FedEx." And that way she gets to be included. And we pulled her in on a Zoom meeting.


Michael:
              Zoom meeting.


Kathryn:
               And she was just in the room during the gift exchange. Super fun.


Michael:
              I think that's really a cool tip because we use Zoom a lot for a lot of different business meetings and everything else. We use Zoom for our one remote staff. We have friends that have, their entire company is remote. Actually one of our friends, Ryan Levesque I say it so much for spelling sake. So Ryan Levesque and The Ask Method Company, they're 100% and they actually have six or seven people close to the office that they could actually bring in. And he says they purposely keep them separate and remote because conversations get lost.


Michael:
              There is a rhythm and a culture that they have in a remote state where they use Slack, they use Zoom and all those kinds of things and too many off-line conversations happen that leave other people out.


Michael:
              And I get it. He says it's not easy either way. There's challenges either way. But I started to appreciate the fact that consistency is the bigger part of it. So if the way we do it, we have a mixed culture, right? So we have some remote, some not, and we brought in Amazon, prime shipping. You can ship anywhere. It doesn't cost you anything to ship off of Amazon so you don't have to pay for UPS or FedEx. But the other thing is you can do this online and then we go through.


Michael:
              If you've, never had done a secret Santa or anything, this is the way we do it. One person opens at a time and there was a card that was created this year and you had to guess who gave that gift because you it's all secret, right?


Kathryn:
               It's all secret.


Michael:
              So it adds fun. It's, morale, you're celebrating stuff like that. It's activities. It's memory making and the Heath brothers Chip and-


Kathryn:
               Dan.


Michael:
              Dan.


Kathryn:
               Chip and Dan.


Michael:
              Created a great concept book that's called-


Kathryn:
               The Power of Moments.


Michael:
              Thank you.


Kathryn:
               We've talked about it a little bit before.


Michael:
              I'm looking at switch right now. Oh, there's Power of Moments on the show with her.


Kathryn:
               Yeah a blue one.


Michael:
              And they talk about three significant types of moments. We did a whole podcast on that, but this is capitalizing on those moments and the celebration as a community is really powerful because it really does say that we're not all about work. We're not just about the grind. We want to make sure we stop and appreciate life.


Michael:
              One of the things that we've learned over the years with our faith and the way our friends have practiced life and other businesses and mentors that we've had is really remembering to celebrate the wins at work. And we really celebrate those.


Michael:
              Every time we close a contract, we have a bell on the wall outside my office. We ring the bell. Like, I just read an article the other day about Pavlov and that whole concept of just association. You ring the bell, contract. Somebody walked into our office yesterday and was one of our friends slash clients came through, did some stuff on the way out. He rang the bell. I'm like, "You can't ring that bell. We didn't have a sale."


Kathryn:
               That was illegal.


Michael:
              Because the bell means sales.


Kathryn:
               He's predicting our close today. That's what he's doing.


Michael:
              Oh, is that what he's doing?


Kathryn:
               It was advance, advance bell ringing.


Michael:
              But [inaudible 00:13:43]. It was wrong. So there's an association, right? This bell's been up for a long time and we even dreamed about the bell for a few years before we actually bought the right bell.


Kathryn:
               It's hard to find the right bell.


Michael:
              It was.


Kathryn:
               I really like it.


Michael:
              Well, this has got character and gravitas. Okay, over dramatizing that a little bit, but it's cool bell, it's brass bell and it hangs from this cool hook. That said, celebrating moments and then everybody gets to stop and go, "Yay." And if you don't, they just all blend together and you lose these opportunities, these windows that are open for a short moment and they're gone.


Michael:
              You can't go back a week after Christmas and celebrate Christmas. It just for the average person, it doesn't work well. You don't go celebrate somebody's birthday a month or two after it's happened. Usually that means, well, everybody goes, "Eh, you're late." And that doesn't matter. It doesn't feel like you remembered me if you show up later. So how did these things translate to dollars? How does these things translate to having a more Passion and Provision company?


Kathryn:
               Well, primarily if your people know that you care about them individually and that you care about when they do really good things for clients, they're going to continue to do good things for clients and happy employees, cared for employees. Just bottom line do better work. There's study after study after study online about what it looks like to improve morale and performance. And so much of it is about being human. Actually interacting and caring and investing the kind of time that it takes to identify and celebrate and note what's happening.


Kathryn:
               We do a lot of talking about this Care Principle, right? Which the concept of public recognition being a multiplier for what a good culture looks like. So you have the key things in place, trust, accountability, communication and one other one that's escaping my mind at the minute.


Kathryn:
               But you have these goals... Goals, that's the other one, just came back. So you have key areas that you have to establish, you need trust, you need accountability, you need goals, you need good communication. But when those are in place, in the Care Principle, the author talks about the fact that public recognition then amplifies, catalyzes just kind of explodes the power of the company and the employees.


Kathryn:
               And so there's tons of research in that book about how just public recognition. Celebrating as part of public recognition, "Look what you did. Let's ring a bell." Whether it was closing a contract or making great strides on a campaign for a client, actually training an audience that never ever buys anything to finally buy something. Just just had that win with a client. So fun. So those kinds of things just shift how your employees function at work and that makes them want to perform because they know that you're paying attention.


Michael:
              Yeah. I know it is. And the research is there. But it's intuitive, right? How many of us have ever had a job... Now when you're the employer, it's harder to remember sometimes, but we all had jobs somewhere. We all worked for somebody else at some point. And by the way, if you can't remember those at all, just think about clients, any kind of customer clients. We all have difficult, at least one difficult client or have had a very difficult client. Just think about that. If you're having anything, because that's kind of your employer too.


Michael:
              How hard is it to engage and to move forward and to be happy about what you're doing. When you're dealing with somebody or putting up with somebody who doesn't appreciate you or makes your life miserable, everything else, you're not excited about getting to work on that postpone work. Sometimes it just takes you-


Kathryn:
               Dread every email that comes in.


Michael:
              ... Twice as long. Yeah.


Kathryn:
               Even the easy stuff is hard.


Michael:
              What person, who's has ever had a boss who didn't appreciate them and didn't like them and made the employee's life miserable. What employee ever felt like, "Wow, I'm so engaged in my work because it sucks and my player doesn't ever care about what I'm doing. Wow. I love my job." It just doesn't happen. And when you love your job, when you like what you're doing and you feel like you're competent at what you're doing, you're doing stuff at a higher level, more faster, you're catching mistakes, you're editing yourself, you're doing all those things better. That's just performance and celebration steps into that thing.


Michael:
              And with us being in the holidays right now. I love the sense of celebration. I love the sense of people being happy and when we go out with our daughter, I've been shopping with Jenna lately and at restaurants and different places like that in the last week and she goes out of her way no matter what and way more than I remember too to say, "Hey Merry Christmas."


Michael:
              Somebody at Best Buy, we buy something and they give it to us. Whether it's a $10 thing or a much more expensive thing and she's like, "Merry Christmas." At the grocery store, "Merry Christmas. Have a lovely Christmas." And the person behind the register is not saying it and then they're like, "Oh Merry Christmas."


Michael:
              And she was telling me a couple of nights ago, "I love this season. I love this time. I love to see people's reactions. I love to see how they stop." Most of the time it's a moment of, "Oh, that was nice. Wow. You were polite to me." Because in retail you get a lot of people who are just cranky in the holiday season and they're not celebrating very well.


Michael:
              So I just look at that and go, "That's an example for me of celebration." And those kinds of things translate to the office and they translate to all this different stuff because we practice celebration. We even practice it growing up with her. So now she works for us and she helps facilitate some of these great celebrations in the office.


Kathryn:
               Yeah. There's other things that we do that are less dramatic in terms of celebrating. One of them is that we'll typically in a Monday morning meeting say, "Okay, what was a win last week? Let's all share a win. Right? Something that went well for you." So before we get to what's ahead and what does the week look like, "What was a win?" And those are just mini celebrations where we get to kind of listen to each other and acknowledge, "Yeah, you did really well in that."


Kathryn:
               So that's just a small way to instill a culture of celebrating and noticing and recognizing the wins along the way.


Michael:
              Yeah, we do this because we want to encourage you, the listener. We want to encourage you to think about it. How often can you think about in a day places that you can do little micro celebrations? How can you appreciate those things? If you can start to change your mindset, your inner game is going to improve as a leader. If you start to look for the wins in your own little life. Whether, "I got a parking spot during the Christmas holidays and I didn't have to walk too far." Or sometimes "I got it right in front of the shop." But taking a moment to really appreciate those things. Taking a moment to appreciate somebody's kindness. Taking a moment, like when you start to look at those things.


Michael:
              When we were in New York city, I've trained my mind enough now that I'm looking for most of the time, people who are polite. And when I find people who are polite out in public, I actually, just recognizing it is a little moment of celebration, a micro celebration. And our last trip to New York city, when we were there, we had talked about it a lot. It was amazing how many people were actually friendly.


Kathryn:
               Yeah. Our favorite story from that was we were walking and we needed to be someplace and it was further away than we had anticipated. And we went up to a cabbie in New York, yellow cab and he rolled down his window. He was on a break, he was actually eating and on a break. And we're like, "Do you know..."


Michael:
              We didn't even know that at first.


Kathryn:
               No, we didn't.


Michael:
              Because he didn't tell us.


Kathryn:
               So we're like, "We're trying to get to this place." And he's like, "Okay, that's several blocks. You know what, hop in and I'll take you." So he did. And I never noticed, but he never started the meter. It wasn't running. And when we got there, we were like, "Great, what do we owe you?" And he said, "This is on me. Don't worry about it."


Michael:
              "I was on my break. I didn't start the meter, don't worry about it."


Kathryn:
               We were like, "What the heck?" I mean, who does that?


Michael:
              These are stories that nobody talks about.


Kathryn:
               Oh my Gosh.


Michael:
              They talk about the complaints and the frustrations. I walked in, I opened the door for people in so many different places and actually got thank yous. And then there were people who opened the door for us. It was amazing. When you start looking for it, oftentimes what you can see. And then when things go sideways and people are kind of cranky and everything else, I get cranky. But I try and remember. It's not always like that.


Michael:
              I have been telling this story about New York city as many times as I can because I'm also trying to remind myself and remember through repetition something that was so extreme. My expectation because of the way the media talks about it and the way the reputation is, is these people especially in Midtown Manhattan, that people aren't friendly and that is not true.


Michael:
              I want my expectations of people to be on the positive side and I don't want them to start on the negative side. I don't want to just assume everybody's rude in a jerk where I'm going and I'll find more positive things. I think you'll do that in your company. I think you'll do that in your employees. I think you'll do that with your customers and I think it produces an atmosphere where it's a lot like LA now compared to LA in the seventies and eighties. Where seventies and eighties the air was so thick with smog, you could touch it and it just kind of hampered things and now it really is way cleaner and way nicer.


Michael:
              And even though you're in the middle of the city and the sprawl and all that kind of stuff, the idea that you can see blue skies in the mountains now when you couldn't before and it was Brown in the air. I think that's just kind of just a real life picture of what living in a place of looking for the good things, celebrating having micro celebrations, appreciating the big moments and the small moments that are positive and holding onto them and then telling those stories again and again it helps culture survive and thrive. And we want you to have a Passion and Provision culture that you're not only surviving but you're thriving and everybody else is thriving in it.


Michael:
              So we think celebration's awesome. Today's day to talk about celebration. We are appreciative of you, the listener. Thanks for listening to us. Golly, thank you so much. We are so appreciative of all the people who've been paying attention to us. As we get closer and closer to a hundred episodes and we actually enjoy doing this.


Kathryn:
               We do.


Michael:
              This is a lot of fun and sharing and when we hear stories from you, it's even more encouraging because we know that there is things that we're saying, guests that we're bringing on topics we're talking about that help cause you to be able to think about things, learn things or at least something that you've known a long time that maybe hasn't been brought up in a while and it's adding to you. So we just want to say thank you for the messages and the notes and the comments and stuff like that that you bring and we would ask that you'd help us spread this word more. Tell your friends, tell other people on social media, but hit subscribe if you're listening to us in Apple podcast. Because it was iTunes, now it's Apple podcasts and we would just love it if you hit subscribe. They know that you're listening, they know that you like us, leave reviews. That's great. But hitting subscribe is helpful.


Michael:
              And then just send us a message at info @habovillage.com we'll get a message, send us your questions, send us your comments. Is anything actually resonated with you? Send that. And if there's anything you'd like us to talk about, we'd love to hear that. All right, well, do you have anything else to add?


Kathryn:
               I think you've summed it up.


Michael:
              What are you most thankful for today?


Kathryn:
               I am most thankful for the fact that yesterday we completed our first full revision on our book manuscript.


Michael:
              Oh, the book comes out March, April, 2020.


Kathryn:
               Dying to look like a book.


Michael:
              It's pretty big deal. It's huge.


Kathryn:
               Pretty exciting.


Michael:
              It's been lot of work and we're starting to see the benefit of it. Yeah, I think the thing I'm the most thankful of right now, and I've been trying to think about how to say this to people because people go, how are you doing?


Michael:
              That we're busy as a company and sometimes that's bad. I'm very thankful that we have work and that our staff, our team is doing good work for people and that we're helping others, especially in this Passion and Provision fulfilled movement that we have found herself called to and pushing forward. So I just love that. I love that. I love it when I hear those things. And so I'm thankful for that today. Thankful that I get a chance to remember that when we come on this podcast.


Michael:
              Now we're back to work or the other types of work that we have.


Kathryn:
               Because this is work, it's just fun work.


Michael:
              We know that all of you have something to go back to. So thank you again for listening. Have a great day and week and we will talk to you soon. I'm Michael Redman.


Kathryn:
               And I'm Kathryn Redman.


Michael:
              And this is the HaBO Village podcast. Take care.