By all accounts, the recent project celebration was a case example of how not to celebrate. It follows on earlier examples where mythology trumps facts and success comes at the expense of other’s hard work. I wish this event I could say that this was a unique example. Across too many companies and communities this scene replays itself. Politics appear to trump performance. Positioning is more important that outcomes. Posturing is rewarded while contributions are apparently ignored.
It is easy to be cynical. That is not my intent. My words are extreme to illustrate the degree of emotional damage one group can do to another. Often, it is not intentional. A review suggests that the driver is ignorance. The principals involved have no ill will; they believe in their perspective.
As I listened to the accounts and reflected on my own actions, I found myself wondering what I was going to do in response. Would I let it go? It was not my battle, or is it? What, if anything, should I do?
I reflected on a group celebrating the good part of a potentially bad event. A prisoner was being transported for trial. A writer documented the event; “one group got as far as Appian Court; another group met us at Three Taverns—emotion-packed meetings, as you can well imagine. Paul, brimming over with praise, led us in prayers of thanksgiving.” (Acts 28.15)
In the recent celebration, there were pieces of good news as well as things that could have been done better. The take-away reminders I hold onto include the following.
When one celebrates, celebrate without doing it at the expense of others.
When one talks about the great things that have happened, acknowledge the unsung heroes.
When one makes fun, do it at your own expense. What is funny to you can be painful for others.
It is good to celebrate. Success should be noted and remembered. One can do this without causing pain and frustration. Life is more than a zero-sum game. Celebrations can be measured by the difference made for everyone.