Celebrate Rarely. Grind Daily.

I was driving recently, can't remember where, and listening to the radio when the commentator I was listening to (again, can't remember who) said this:

“Celebrate rarely, but grind daily.”

The commentator said this when commenting about his own beliefs.  He doesn't think you should celebrate all the time (but, Tim, celebrations are important – celebrate the little things!), in fact, he felt you should celebrate rarely.  Grind out daily work – as if it was daily work, when you do something really worth celebrating – then celebrate.

Soon after I read Paul Hebert's post on Engagement – check it out – We Have Employee Engagement @$$-Backwards it's one of the better reads I've had in a long while.  I connect with Paul's ideas, not because I don't trust people/employees will do the right thing, but because I've spent 20 years watching what people/employees will do – which is usually they'll find ways to manipulate the environment to their own benefit.

This is the crap all those Engagement vendors don't want you to know.  They'll raise your engagement scores – then they leave – you'll see them go down – so you'll have them back – they go up again – it's a nice revenue cycle for them!  You measure a baseline of engagement and survey.  You act upon the survey and make changes to increase engagement. Repeat.  Eventually, what do you have left to do or give to get more of an increase in engagement – and by the way – when is enough engagement,


enough?  The engagement cycle that most organizations are on – if an expensive cycle that leads back to where they started.

I love my team.  I really, honestly, do.  My team is like my family.  One thing my team gets is that I don't celebrate frequently.  My expectations are very high.  I believe in the daily grind.  People who grind daily are people who I want on my bus.  Don't get me wrong – I love to celebrate!  But I love to celebrate big accomplishments – not daily deliverables.  Most engagement 'experts' will tell you that isn't a good recipe for success.  Partly because most experts confuse 'celebrations' with 'communication'.  Frequent communication is essential for strong engagement, celebrations and the handing out of trophies, prizes, etc.  has short term impact and long term consequences that are very hard to maintain.

So, what's my equation for great engagement?

1. Set high expectations.

2. Give your people the empowerment and tools to meet those expectations.

3. Communicate with them honestly about your business.

4.  Reward them well for meeting those expectations.

5.  Repeat.

It's like 5 steps – I give it away for free and in not one of those steps does it say ask employees what they want and then give it to them blindly (although, I'm sure my wishes that would be a step!).

Celebrate rarely. Grind daily.  An engagement philosophy, that I can guarantee you, is not being sold by any engagement guru.


FOT Background Check

Tim Sackett
Tim Sackett SPHR, is the ultimate Mama’s Boy!  After 15+ years of successfully leading HR and Talent Acquisition departments for Fortune 500s and smaller technical firms, Tim took over running the contingent staffing firm HRU Technical Resources in Lansing, MI. Serving as the Executive Vice President, Tim runs the company his mother started over 30 years ago, and don’t tell Mom, but he thinks he does a better job at it than she did!  Check out his blog at www.timsackett.com. Because he's got A LOT to say, and FOT just isn't enough for him.


  1. Chris C says:

    Quote is from ESPN’s Colin Cowherd

  2. Tim Sackett says:

    Chris –

    Thanks – I couldn’t remember – I knew it was on the radio and I was driving!

    Love listening Colin!


  3. I’m afraid I’m guilty of not celebrating enough. It use to be I’d celebrate every chance I got. My car started without needing to get the jumper cables out? Fantastic! Party time! Client feels the interview went well? Awesome – it’s party time! The check for that big placement finnaly arrived? Wo0T! Party time!

    I guess maybe the thrill is gone for me. I’ve become too cynical. I now expect my client to be enthused about the interview they just had. Checks better show up….frequently.

    One of our team fills the job they’ve worked on so hard the past 6 weeks? Great. Time to move on. What are you going to do next?

    This is they crusty rut I’ve fallen into. I say NO MORE!

    I’ve decided this year to make celebration a decided, mandated part of my world.

    “Life is short!” I tell myself. “Celebrate every win!”

  4. Tim Sackett says:

    Jerry –

    You know – I’m the same way. When I started in the game – we would crack Champagne when we made a placement. Now we make 20+ a month – and nothing! I don’t want to celebrate everything – because it loses its meaning – but I also need to do a bit more with my team!

    Thanks for the comments!


  5. Molly says:

    This article really resonated with me. Some recruiters want to celebrate every fill when really that is the expectation of their job – to fill jobs. Celebrations are absolutely warranted when someone accomplishes something beyond the requirements of the job. If you get a gold star everytime you “Meets Requirements” that is all one will strive for.

  6. aidandalyni says:

    Love it. Easy, simple approach to engagement.
    For years been banging this drum but no-one listens

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