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How to Use Celebrations to Mark Important Moments at Work


Here is another valuable Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review. To sign up for a free subscription to any/all HBR newsletters, please click here.

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People have long used ceremonies — bar mitzvahs, baptisms, weddings, inaugurations, quinceañeras — to mark changes and turning points.

Companies have ceremonies too, but they often focus on celebrating the positive: birthdays, work anniversaries, promotions, and project victories.

These types of recognition are important and shouldn’t stop, but companies should consider using celebrations to help people through hard times.

This can be a powerful way to mark difficulties, acknowledge dark passages, honor those who have made sacrifices or experienced hardship, and help people move on.

You may not pop a bottle of champagne after a difficult reorg, but you might gather as a group and read your mission statement aloud or hold a mock funeral for the past (as Steve Jobs did at the 2002 Worldwide Developers Conference, to mark the end of the Mac’s OS 9). Communal experiences like these can help strengthen your group’s bonds, values, and vision.

This Tip was adapted from Adapted from “Why Your Company Needs More Ceremonies,” by Patti Sanchez.

To check out that HBR article and join the discussion, please click here.

Also, you may wish to check out an anthology, Management Tips from Harvard Business Review, by clicking here.

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