Lesson #23

Don't Drink Your Own Bathwater—You Could Choke

As a company approaches a milestone—whether it is opening a new store, launching a new product, or employing a new process—it is important for the CEO to become the CCO: Chief Congratulatory Officer.

Depending on the company's culture, those ceremonial congratulations can take many forms. It might mean an all-out bash with champagne and caviar or giving everybody who has worked around the clock a few days off. A bonus, monetary or otherwise, also works, as does a simple, quiet dinner with time for reflecting on the achievements you've obtained as a group. Different degrees of success will determine how to recognize the accomplishment. What form the celebration takes isn't as important as the actual time to pause and say, “The team is appreciated.”

A crucial part of whatever celebration you decide to hold is to encourage team members to rehash both the good and the bad parts of the undertaking. These replays tend to take on a life of their own and improve with age. Certainly, this pause is instructive as those who were involved rethink what worked and what didn't. It's also therapeutic, a healing process of sorts for those whose toes were stepped on or whose noses may have been pushed out of joint in the heat of battle. The celebration gives the team time to savor the moment and imbues in them that intangible and hard-to-describe sense of what it feels like to win.

However, there's one chief danger that awaits every company, ...

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