In this series introducing the concept of transformational fitness, I’ve shared two strategies for building fitness: Adopt a Growth Mindset and Create Safe Spaces. In this last piece, I’ll focus on the role of learning & celebration in sustaining fitness. 

Teams who live and breathe retrospective practices promote a culture of continuous improvement & learning. The rhythm of reflection & celebration serves as an energizer for teams, motivating them and sustaining transformation success.  

Of the three strategies I’ve shared, this is by far the easiest to implement. The learning and celebration strategy provides almost immediate benefits, particularly to the team’s overall growth. To implement it successfully: 

  • Establish a cadence of retrospectives for Scrum teams and cross-team efforts like new product launches/ major release events. Hosting these ceremonies regularly ensures nothing is lost. 
  • Hold the team accountable to walk away with a clear action plan based on what is learned and dedicate time to achieving agreed-upon outcomes. We dedicate our capacity to helping the teams across the organization surface systemic challenges and industrializing improvement. 
  • Scale your learnings! Chances are if one team is struggling with a persistent challenge, others are, too. Broadcast what people learned, how the team addressed the challenge or opportunity, and share the results.

Like learning practices, celebrations are an easy, quick win, too. Here’s the catch; you must celebrate the successes AND the failures. Embracing the concept of failing forward combines all of the strategies covered in this series; fosters a growth mindset and psychological safety, and promotes learning within the organization. 

A celebration can be expressed in many ways, especially since COVID transformed how we work, communicate, and so much more. Whether celebrating successes, failures, individuals, or teams, we ultimately want the recognition to support employee engagement, team empowerment, and transformation goals. To do this, answer these questions: 

  • What do you want to achieve (and why) by recognizing the individual or team, a public statement, or a personal motivator
  • How do recipients like to be recognized, intrinsically or extrinsically? 
  • How do managers and leaders make celebration and recognition a sustaining motion for a team or organization, not a one-time event? 

Learning and celebration can be a powerful lever in sustaining the energy needed for transformation success and fitness. Creating opportunities for reflection and learning are deeply connected with celebration and recognition. Industrializing these practices will be a catalyst for improving transformational fitness in your organization. 

In this series, I’ve introduced the concept of transformational fitness and given you three reliable strategies that, when practiced together, develop stamina, resilience, and endurance:   

  • Adopt a growth mindset 
  • Create safe spaces  
  • Reflect & learn often 

Transformational fitness comes from applying these strategies in the work of transformation. Individuals, teams, and leaders must practice & apply new skills, while also building personal and team confidence. Only then can they achieve a level of transformational fitness to drive large-scale change that sticks. 

Got stories, ideas, or questions? Share them with me in the comments. 


Related links:

Transformational Fitness, Part 1: Are You Fit for Transformation

Transformational Fitness Series, Part 2: Build Enduring Teams


Marcy Pawlak

Head of CX Cloud Transformation

Customer & Partner Experience Engineering