Celebrate

Celebrate small wins, mini moments, and game-changing achievements. This reminds everyone how fun it is to be successful. Celebrating also recharges the intoxication that comes with building things that matter. This makes people more eager to tackle new challenges, so do it often. With a connected collection of diversified milestones to keep everyone united, accountable, and motivated, here are a few easy things to celebrate.

– New Hires
– Work Anniversaries
– Product Releases
– Fresh Features
– Customer Testimonials
– Record-Breaking Activities
– Community Gatherings
– Media Spotlights
– Industry Awards
– Event Highlights
– Holidays
– Failures

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Most companies love to celebrate together, but too much of a good thing can lead to unnecessary drama. In contrast, when there aren’t enough good times, the team forgets how to have fun as a team. To stay equitable, listen and learn how different people respond to business breakthroughs. As you consider what and ways to celebrate, invite everyone into the activity planning process. Milestones may not change, but the way you celebrate them sure can. Connecting achievements with inclusive celebrations will motivate everyone, while also infusing a freshness into the mix.

As we celebrate in style, the entire team is supported by a performance-based culture where everyone feels included and has fun building as one.

Milestones

Big or small, internal or external, milestones help people identify with progress. They draw lines in the sand. This clarifies goals while supporting short-term accountability and long-term motivation.

Entrepreneurship is a community sport, but creative problem-solvers working to build a business are still competitive. Milestones tap into this competitive spirit by gamifying a performance-based culture. Recognizing milestone achievements can also boost morale and further unite a team. If you’re collaborating with mentors and/or an advisory team, milestones help keep everyone on the same page as well.

As milestones are established, be sensitive to the diversity of your team. Find creative ways to equitably encourage new and more experienced team members. One easy way to do this, is to establish a few tiered categories for different types of milestones. As you diversify milestones, we’re not creating so many that they become pointless. Instead, you’re curating a variety of dynamic signals that can activate different emotions along a connected and sustained timeline.

As milestones are completed, the culture is nourished with celebration, which we’ll sip on next week!

Listen

Listening is louder than it sounds.

Most entrepreneurs like to talk and the more obsessed we are, the more vociferous we seem to get. Idea machines must be willing to share compelling stories, but listening is a key part of any transmission. This may seem obvious, but with precious air time up for grabs and knowing so much about our own interests, listening can devolve into feeling like a required distraction.

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Hearing is passive. Listening is active.

As we guide people through the layers of understanding, active listening forms a bond much faster than forcing yourself to be heard. The fear of not having time to deliver your message will linger, but when we truly tune into what another person is saying, it shows we care. It also helps us better harmonize our thoughts within the moment and counters the common mistake of overloading others with too much numbing details all at once. Knowing each conversation is part of a broader relationship and community-building journey, good listeners are almost always given a chance to make a bigger impact.

Ready for an experiment? The next time you meet someone new, embrace your inner scientist. Set your introverted/extroverted mindset aside and focus your attention on asking as many thoughtful questions as you can. The less you talk, the better. This will feel awkward if you just fire question after question, so be concise with each response, then return to more thoughtful questions for a more natural interaction. Consider expanding this social experiment by purposely doing this throughout an entire networking event. Remember who you talked with and track how the listening-focused conversations evolve. Over time, how do these relationships built on listening, compare to others where you’ve been more outspoken? Here are a few tactics to support your practice.

  • Center your internal attention.
  • Stay engaged with eye contact.
  • Use jarring questions to dodge small talk.
  • Don’t interrupt or jump to conclusions.
  • Occasionally paraphrase what was said.
  • Avoid the urge to make it about you.
  • Ask curious questions to go deeper.
  • Exit gracefully, without a sense of rush.

This type of active listening will extend your ability to hear more, but also make your responses more in-tune with what others are thinking, versus always trying to prove your point. Selflessness may keep a conversation from landing exactly where you want in that moment, but as you move from one topic to the next, you’ll learn how others work. When done well, an unspoken bond forms. This synchronization creates space to explore more directions you’d like to take future conversations, but now with the priceless ingredient of shared enthusiasm.

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Listening within a support network ignites optimism, connection, and motivation. A healthy balance is to also listen to your challenge network, which keeps us intellectually humble and rooted in reality.

Launch

A successful launch rewards hard work.

No matter the audience or how heavy the news, introducing what’s next is your opportunity to spark energy. This milestone will soon be celebrated, but rocket ships do not launch without intention.

The excitement of sharing something you’re proud of can be intoxicating, but we can only be new once. Launching before you’re ready can lead to carnage. Limping into a launch without a connected cadence will also reduce excitement as attention becomes diluted.

Let’s first look at how to avoid launching before you’re ready. There’s value in shipping your art often, as this is the only way anything is set free to evolve toward product-market fit. This, however, does not give us permission to be careless. Research, internal planning, strategic development, thorough testing, and working with true fans is the easiest way to stress test whatever you’re building. When we normalize a nimble, but detailed-oriented approach, you’ll create confidence in what’s being launched while also allowing your art to connect within the market you seek to serve more often.

When the time is right, planning a strategic launch sequence can initiate a boost loud enough to create attention and also long enough to push through the thick atmosphere of endless distraction. Instead of a single celebration, think of your launch as a connected collection of memorable moments.

The most common misfire is overloading your audience too soon. This may be part of the strategy with a short launch sequence, but when a launch lingers, duplicative content will numb an audience before the intended culmination arrives. One tactic for staying patient is mapping the overall launch sequence. This helps sync development with the timing of communication. Such planning also provides internal clarity and connects valuable context to each transmission.

To map a launch sequence, start by creating intrigue with as little information as possible. Think of this subtle stage like a notice to save the date. Next, create excitement by leaning into the pain. Leak a little on why the audience should be excited for what’s to come. No need for too many details quite yet. Those will land next.

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As the countdown ticks toward zero, fortify the team to determine how you can effectively respond to every type of inquiry during launch. With internal operations ready to rock, release one final burst of hype before delivering the payload on launch day. As thrusters fire and liftoff occurs, you’re now set free to release your art into the universe. Congratulations!

Within the early moments of flight, keep messaging sharp. Deliver on the promise, include singular calls to action, and track analytics to stay strategic.

A thoughtful launch can create a flurry, but attention is hard to earn and it’s gone before you know it. As the loudness of a launch begins to fade, hit the free prize inside button to activate a few more extraordinary insights built to fuel lasting momentum. Once in orbit, maintain a smooth onboarding process for late arrivals and enjoy the view knowing elevation makes us all feel successful.

Pitch Competitions

Pitch competitions create hype within conventions, conferences, and trade shows. Business competitions can also be standalone events. When a founder’s storytelling becomes award winning, pitch competitions can enrich your business. Feedback, awareness, complimentary services, and cold hard cash are all up for grabs.

As you explore business competitions, recognize the commitment required for each event. While application fees are rare, applying for pitch competitions can be time consuming. As you apply for different types of events, repetition makes the process more efficient. Save content before submitting each application for a head start on future submission forms. Along with bettering the application process, consider the competitive environment you’ll be occupying.

How can your initial application solidify a positive first impression? What will be required to participate in a meaningful way? Will the audience respond to a presentation meant to share or a pitch built to impress? How much time will you be given? Who are the judges? How can your narrative be catered to the judges’ scoring criteria? Will there be time for questions? If so, what questions should you be prepared to answer? With these considerations in mind, it’s time to prepare the transmission.

NEXT WEEK: Slide Deck Design