#002 Authentic celebrations

In bubble #002, I share a story about spontaneous, authentic celebration, and ask for your ideas on how we can make this happen more often.

5 thoughts on “#002 Authentic celebrations”

  1. The culture of blame which permeates UK working beliefs, thought processes and attitudes of organisations towards the employees virtually destroys any sense of achievement experienced by individuals. Establishing and maintaining a team where individual members feel they can enjoy any positive feedback loop is virtually impossible at times, particularly in local or national government bodies, where all policies, procedures and approaches are geared towards ensuring the protection of the organisation at the expense of the employee. I think it is a huge question, but I think it will require a seismic shift in attitudes towards the value of the personal employed. Fear is now hard-wired into agencies.

    However, as individuals we can make each other feel good about ourselves and our minor victories. Actually hearing praise from your peers is more rewarding than some platitude from a boss you have no respect for. When I line-manned teams of staff I always included in team supervision the chance for this by firstly indicating something I felt was being approached with a high level of competence and asked staff what they felt were their observations of other similar examples and in this context people could happily congratulate each other and recognise their own strengths.

    1. If organisations and hierarchies continue in this vein they will find themselves unable to attract or retaining talented people. This is inevitable in what Julian Stodd calls the ‘Social Age‘. Power is shifting from being purely formal and organisational, to more social and loosely distributed networks of individuals and groups.

      Offering regular opportunities for your team to give feedback and praise was a great starting point, Brian. It seems that to move this from a daily ceremony to a spontaneous and authentic interaction – the kind of experience I had today with my friends at the 10k race – would demand a very real cultural transformation.

  2. In my experience since around the year 2000, talented people were the least valued of all staff. Often I found that they were pretty much abused by the professional jealousies of their own supervisors. Before that point uniqueness and creativity were held in high regard. I won an Inter-Agency Award in 1999 from care magazine for my work with young children from barnyards affected by multiple and profound disabilities. I travelled extensively working sometimes with ISAAC (International Society or Augmentative and Alternative Communications) and the future seemed all possible and technology very much one the side of the disabled adult. Five years later all inter-agency work was suspended and everything turned inward. A colleague and hugely creative individual was virtually told that work she had produced allowing carers the chance to record their own little video stories (blowing their own little bubbles) was her just showing off and pretending to be clever. Sneering mockery for what was to me pretty amazing work. She left, as you can imagine and have already indicated on your response above.

    I hope things are changing though, and I am very happy to be no longer a part of a large organisation and am now organising my own time and energies. For the first time in 25 years I feel free of the weight of that culture and the future now looks like a double doored horizon that is opening wide and light is starting to flood through.

    1. You describe a deeply toxic and unpleasant environment. One bent of self destruction. And from what I’ve seen this is only one of many out there.

      The challenge I see for ALL organisations, if they are to survive (let alone thrive), is to engage with the times we live in.

      Resources are often slim, especially in the public sector, and demand changes rapidly. Couple this with a workforce that has changing priorities, expectations, values and skills, and orgs that stick to a ‘command and conquer’ or ‘firm-grip’ style of management will be self-defeated.

      A Stourbridge based 1980’s band once said ‘Pop Will Eat Itself’. And so will grandfathered organisations relying on patterns of control in an age where information, knowledge, ideas and learning is freely shared. Eventually.

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