Celebrate the Wins

by Julie Boll  - December 10, 2019

Strategic Planning as a Strategy for Celebration

Dr. Brené Brown talks about the need to truly stop and CELEBRATE individually and as a team. In fact, in her research, she uncovered a Daring Leadership behavior specific to this need: Practicing gratitude and celebrating milestones and victories. Daring Leaders are more likely to build celebration into their work and culture. This Daring Leadership trait is in stark contrast to the paired Armored Leadership trap of “working from scarcity and squandering opportunities for joy and recognition.”

In my life, I’ve found practicing gratitude and celebrating milestones and victories does not come naturally. I fall into the “productivity as a sign of self-worth” trap all too often and forge on to the next thing that must be done without properly celebrating wins. 

One way I’ve been able to increase my celebration practice is through my annual end of the year strategic plan review. I use my strategic plan as an annual anchor to help me celebrate milestones and victories personally and as a team. Strategic Planning is a non-negotiable part of my business and it gives me the structure I need to reflect on my year of business, celebrate and plan. It is easy in the day-to-day work to get lost in a particular client, project or even obstacle and lose sight of the big picture.

When I sit down to do my end of the year Strategic Plan review, I can pull myself out of the trees and look at the entire forest. From there I can see patterns and I can celebrate wins that weren’t obvious to me while I was in execution mode. Just naming those wins and telling people on my team (or square squad) about these wins IS celebration. It’s not big and fancy. It’s just the verbal acknowledgment that I slayed some goals.  

The strategic planning methodology also gives me a framework to study the areas in which I didn’t meet my goals. This brings me comfort and reminds me that I have the power to adapt, adjust and pivot in the following year. I use the strategic planning framework to identify gaps and plan for the coming year. I gather data and insights and make my own commitments for the following year. I get to answer the question- is this still important to me? Does this help me fulfill my vision for the future and my purpose in life- or is it fueled by the “please, perfect, perform” trap? 

So… some wins I am celebrating this year:

  • The JBC consulting team helped seven courageous nonprofit organizations get really clear on where they are going and why through vision and long-range planning.  
  • I replaced my income from full-time employment while growing and developing myself in a way I never thought possible. I’ve widened my perspective of the world and I’ve connected with people of different backgrounds and talents. My worldview is deeper and stronger. 
  • I’ve dared greatly. I have spent a lot of time in the arena and I have the strength to show for it. I know I can get back up. I’ve seen the power of Brené Brown’s work up close and personal and I’ve shown myself that I can honor and steward this work. 

Here are a few of my favorite resources for strategic planning. Planning can (and should) be done for those of us running one-woman shops, as well as organizations with thousands of employees, and everywhere in between.

Strategic Planning in Nonprofits (SPiN) developed in partnership with Satterberg Foundation:  Strategic Planning in Nonprofits

Consultants Development Institute: Facilitating Strategic Planning

How are you celebrating your wins this year? 

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