Last week I talked a bit about the sprint to the finish line, or other periods of gathering together to do the good hard work.

After that hard work, there should be time to celebrate what we’ve been through. Depending on the difficulty of the experience, we should take time to express gratitude and appreciation.

As a leader, this is one of your primary roles. People look to you as the heart of the organization.

I’ve been a firm believer that there can be no such thing as too many honest thank-yous. And the way to thank people as a group is to celebrate together as a group.

Imagine that I’m on your team, and as a thank-you gesture you give me an Amazon gift card. I appreciate that, of course, but I suspect that you probably just picked it up at the grocery store and charged it to your company account. Unless it came with a rather lengthy show of appreciation from you personally, I’m going to quickly forget it.

And even if gift cards are given to everybody on the team, they still feel rather impersonal and cold. I’ll buy some books, she’ll buy some clothes, but we’ll not really talk with each other about how this changed our lives and was worth the hard work.

Or suppose you take us out to a great movie – I still remember the boss who took the whole team (on a bus!) to see Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Yeah, that reference ages me. But the experience was quite memorable.

Why? Not because of the movie itself, although that was quite cool. But because we had the hour-plus bus ride with each other, and the energy was high and festive. It was a celebration of what we had just been through as a team, and it was special.

When you’re celebrating the team’s contribution, make it special. Celebratory. Interactive. Personal.

Let people engage their hearts in the experience.