We’re told not to be emotionally attached to the outcome. I couldn’t disagree more. I want you and your team to care about results. 

The easy emotion is feeling the rush of excitement when you nail it.  Celebrating, high-fiving and doing the victory dance.

It’s the uncomfortable feelings we try to avoid – disappointment, regret, and frustration.

As a recovering Pollyanna, I used to dismiss uncomfortable emotions.  I’d rally the troops with “it’s all good” and look for the “silver lining” and the “lessons learned.” I’d lean on “there’s a reason this happened.”  While there’s still value in seeing the “bright side,” it wasn’t until I finally let the disappointment hit our shared ego and pride that powerful progress was made.

If it’s always “all good” then there’s nothing to change, nothing to do or shift.  Which, if you think about it from a team member’s perspective, is concerning.  If the boat is sinking and “it’s all good,” we’re all going to drown while our leader is in state of denial.

Harness “negative” – read not fun – emotions to galvanize your team and motivate them towards action.  When you visit* disappointment, regret and frustration you start to ask why.  You evaluate how did we get here, and not there.  It lights a fire to change and improve.

In our case, we got mad and we got recommitted.  We stepped up our game.  We recommitted to excellence and all of those efforts we knew led to the outcomes we wanted.  We also stopped being attached to those initiatives that weren’t garnering the results we wanted – no matter how “brilliant” they seemed.

We recommitted to creating outcomes that reflected what we were working towards as a team, and who we said we were in the world.

*I say visit, because you don’t want to stay there.  Disappointment can become a black pit of despair and shame if left to wallow.  You want to be proactive, not paralyzed.  When you miss the goal, it’s closing the gap, working towards a solution, that brings your team together and creates a level of newfound pride when milestones are reached.


Team Building/Culture Building Activity:

Morale informs your team’s confidence, enthusiasm and discipline.  Morale is the energetic context within which they get the work done.

Let’s say you look around your office and it’s feeling a bit sluggish, meh or ho hum.  How can you quickly change that energy force field?

Surprise your team and put on some music.

Depending on the experience and emotion you’re wanting to generate, consider any of these tunes from my recommended playlist:

  • Instill confidence:
    • We Are the Champions by Queen
    • Eye of the Tiger by Survivor
    • All Star by Smash Mouth
    • Respect by Aretha Franklin
  • Stress reduction, kindred spirit, warm fuzzy goodness:
    • What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
    • Imagine by John Lennon
    • Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen
    • Feeling Good by Nina Simone
  • Courage to overcome obstacles:
    • All You Need is Love by the Beatles
    • Wavin’ Flag by K’Naan
    • Waka Waka by Shakira
    • Gonna Fly Now (by Bill Conti, theme song from original “Rocky” movie)

Consider, everyone could belt out the song at top of their lungs, participate in a destress dance fest or shimmy in a conga line.  Share the DJ role by creating an ongoing shared playlist.

There’s a reason they say music is medicine. Research shows music strengthens group identity, boosts social closeness and increases positive emotion by releasing endorphins and dopamine.

Talk about a panacea for workplace culture!  Of course, music isn’t a silver bullet, but it’s like the Master Cleanse when you want to lose 10 pounds before going to your ex’s wedding.  It does the trick.

For long term workplace culture health, you have to do the deep work.  If you already have, then the music will simply help sustain your rockin’ rhythm and add some sparkles.