The magic of December is undeniable. With many religious and cultural holidays around
the corner, the world lights up in joy, gratitude, and celebration. While many of these
festivities primarily focus on spiritual and familial connections, they also indirectly
underscore a pivotal lesson for business leadership: the power of celebrating people
and their achievements.

When leaders pause to celebrate accomplishments – big or small – they acknowledge
individual and collective contributions and foster a sense of belonging and motivation.

In today’s fast-paced business landscape, where employee retention is paramount,
celebrating becomes an important tool.

A Glimpse at the Data
An Institute of Leadership & Management report showed that recognition of
achievements is among the top factors that boost employee morale. According to
Gallup poll, employees who feel they need to be more adequately recognized are
twice as likely to say they’ll quit within the next year.

Another study from Deloitte found that organizations with a strong culture of
recognition had a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate. The numbers show that when
employees feel celebrated and valued, they are more likely to stay.

The Ice Cream Test
While high-end bonuses and retreats are great, sometimes, the simplest gestures make
the most impact. Consider ice cream, for instance. Picture this: On a regular workday,
leaders surprise their staff with a cart of assorted ice creams. The joy in the room is
noticeable. Why? Because ice cream isn’t just about the treat. It symbolizes
appreciation, a momentary pause to enjoy, and a break from routine.

While this may seem anecdotal, the “ice cream test” mirrors the Principle of
Reciprocity in social psychology. When someone does something for us, we naturally
want to return the favor. This isn’t just about physical gifts. It can be as simple as a
kind gesture, acknowledgment, or even, you guessed it, a scoop of ice cream.

Don’t Race Past Celebrations
Celebrations can often take a backseat in the corporate rush to achieve more, outdo
competitors, and keep climbing the ladder of success. Leaders might wonder, “Why stop
celebrating this milestone when we have the next one to reach?”

The answer lies in human nature. Celebrations are more than just markers of
achievements. They are moments of respite, acknowledgment, and rejuvenation. The
old saying goes, “It’s not the destination but the journey that matters.” By pausing to
celebrate the journey’s milestones, leaders provide the motivation and morale boost
necessary to tackle the road ahead.

Final Thoughts
December’s festivities teach us a vital lesson in leadership that celebrating is not an
optional luxury; it’s a necessity. Leaders aiming for longevity and success should view
celebration as an integral part of their strategy. The data speaks for itself. Recognize,
appreciate, and, every once in a while, serve up some ice cream. The returns, regarding
employee loyalty, engagement, and productivity, will be sweeter than any treat.

“In the joy of others lies our own.” – Paramahansa Yogananda.

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Dive in with David on this recent Podcasts!

David Nordel is being featured on another great podcasts called The Vertical Momentum Resiliency Podcast where he gives his insights and the struggles he faced on his journey to become a leader.