As I've discussed before, I believe that business is largely a game of inches. More often than not, the wins that propel your business forward are hard won. They take time, effort, and extreme dedication on behalf of your entire team.

Year-end is almost upon us, and it's easy to feel exhausted by the time you reach the finish line. However, I've learned just how incredibly important it is to not to let the struggle get the best of you. Success is a function of your team's efforts, and you have to celebrate those efforts if you want to foster positive morale going forward.


Celebrate your wins

At my company BodeTree, we work with a lot of financial institutions and other large organizations, so our sales cycle tends to be long and challenging. It's simply the price of doing business in that industry. There are many times where you'll be so close to signing a contract, only to have the timeline pushed out an additional month at the very last minute.
As a result, when a deal is finally signed, it can feel somewhat anticlimactic. I've learned that as a leader, you have to fight against those feelings. If you don't, your team will feel like they're bogged down in an unwinnable battle, and morale will suffer. Every win counts, no matter how big or small, and wins should be celebrated.
Remember that people need constant reinforcement
For some leaders, there's a temptation to look at victory celebrations as an unnecessary cost center. It's easy to fall into the mental trap of thinking that closing deals and moving the business forward is people's job and that their baseline compensation should be sufficient.
The reality, however, is that money isn't the sole motivator for many people. It's an important part of the equation, but ultimately great employees are motivated by intangibles.
It's the recognition of a job well done, or a sign of empathy after a long battle that keeps people going. Regardless of the underlying logic, the truth is that people need constant reinforcement and recognition. It isn't enough just to pay people or fall back on the "it's your job" defense.
Real leaders understand their team members and have empathy. This empathy allows them to understand what drives people and helps them to reward them in meaningful ways.


Let your culture shine through

Not every celebration needs to be extravagant. In fact, victory celebrations are often a great chance for you to reinforce the key tenants of your company's culture and values.
At BodeTree, we have a culture that values irreverent fun. I've learned that you have to have a sense of humor if you're going to stay sane in the small business financial services space. As a result, many of our team's celebrations tend to revolve around dares, practical jokes, and an arguably unhealthy obsession with Star Wars.
That’s why every time a new Star Wars film comes out, we bring the whole team together for a day of celebration. Today, for example, we’re dedicating most of the day to watching the franchise’s newest release, Rogue One.