How do you make a behavior a habit? By celebrating the behavior.

“Celebrate” is Step 6 in Andi Simon’s new book On the Brink, a book she wrote to help organizations change their culture.

It seems intuitive, doesn’t it? We grew up with celebrations like these when we took our first steps and our parents cheered, or when we came home with a great report card and it ended up on the fridge.

As adults in the workplace, we seem to celebrate a lot less. Somewhere along the way, we learned to focus more on the gaps to bridge than on the progress made. We also tend to believe that good behavior is simply expected and not worthy of recognition. But this view of recognition is too narrow. I’ve often said that when we recognize an employee in front of her peers for doing the right thing, what we are really doing when shining the spotlight on her is to make everyone else recognize the behavior we want to see in all. From that perspective, recognition and celebration are close cousins.

So go ahead! Celebrate good behavior! Not only is it fun, it can make these behaviors a habit.

After all, culture is simply an outcome of our habits.

For a summary of Simon’s book, see a great post by Thomas Fox.

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