The new year’s party is more fun when everyone contributes

A few days into the new year, take a minute and look back. Were you at a big new year’s party? Was it fun? I’m sure it was. Unfortunately, we can’t take it for granted that all parties are fun. A nightmare for the host – so much effort has been put into the preparations, but the guests aren’t really enjoying themselves. How can that be?

Engagement and participation. Was the host able to engage the guests, so they contributed to the discussions, the dancing, and the fun? A party isn’t static, the “fun factor” either increases or decreases, depending on the engagement of the guests. Every engaged guest makes the event more fun, and every disengaged guest drains the party, even just a little bit. No matter how much preparations has been made, if you don’t the guests to drive the fun, your party is doomed.

It’s the same with your business culture. As a leader, you can prepare a lot of great initiatives. But if it is one-directional it won’t really cut it. You as the leader may give rewards, appreciation, and praise constantly, and you might even have a few champions to support you, but it won’t really change the culture and behaviors. It will still be you giving, and your team will be waiting for you to praise them again.

In contrast, if you get your team to take an action, let’s say to give appreciation – Kudos – and you connect that action to the great feeling of receiving kudos, things will start to happen. The release of the love hormone Oxytocin will be connected to the action of giving, and as the behavioral science tells us – positive reinforcement is what really changes behaviors in the long term.

Our concluding recommendation is clear. If you are targeting to grow a culture of appreciation, friendship and sharing success in your organization, a technology based, one-directional tool will only take you to the first step and there is a very high risk it won’t be long-lasting. Instead, you should involve your whole team and make sure you make positive reinforcement a keystone. It doesn’t have to be complex.