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The importance of Jazz Hands & celebrating the small wins in big business

Jess Freeman • 03/08/2022

By Amy Coats, Cushman & Wakefield Associate, Project & Development Services, Australia

When you think of corporate life and commercial project development, you probably think of budget allocation, strategies, procedures, resources, and responsibilities, not many of you think of ‘Jazz Hands’ – but I’m here to explain the importance of them and how they apply…

Amy CoatsAs a Project & Development professional, I’m sometimes left feeling a bit awkward in the office environment and it’s usually because I’ve just read an email or gotten off a call and let out a giant ‘Woohoo,’ gotten up out of my chair, done a little dance or waved my hands about. This typically results in my work colleagues looking at me like I’ve gone a bit crazy!

The cause of these events is usually something as mundane as receiving a building approval, getting a client’s acceptance on a design or solving a mechanical design problem. These are all business-as-usual activities for a project manager, and my colleagues don’t usually react the same way.

So, why the excitement you may be asking?

Well, I believe in celebrating the small wins. Projects quite often have an extensive duration, and we all celebrate their successful conclusion. However, achieving minor milestones is a powerful motivator for a project team working toward that shared goal.

A Harvard Business Review article I read recently (I will paraphrase) undertook a study across 26 project teams from seven companies. The article reported that small wins can boost inner work life, ie. the good days, tremendously. The win had a minor impact on the project but a major impact on people’s feelings about it.

These small consistent steps forward shared by many people, then accumulates into excellent execution. Thereby, these small progress events that often go unnoticed are critical to the overall outcome to the project.

Hence, the jazz hands.

So, I implore you all to go away and think about what you have achieved this week and celebrate it with your team!

You will feel better, your team will feel better and your project will be better off for it too!

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