I love a good celebration, especially after a long project where everyone has worked hard together to deliver the result. Real achievement is always worth celebrating. Of course a celebration like this has some real benefits. It strengthens the team, it helps people learn from their successes and it provides a faster transition to the next project
The problem for a control freak is that they hate this kind of celebration because it recognises real achievement and so gives power, credibility and kudos to people other than them and we can’t have that.
The common mistake that junior control freaks make is to snub the celebration, spoil the party or even block it outright if that have that much control. All that does is breed resentment, which many control freaks are happy with but which ultimately gets in the way.
The more advanced control freak has a far cleverer technique that takes full advantage of the frailty of human perception. They celebrate the ordinary.
That’s right, they pick something that would never normally get more than a nod of approval and turn it into an event to celebrate, from the micro-celebration through to the full blown party. Someone wrote a letter today – woohoo! The first anniversary of rearranging the furniture – let’s send out the invites!
Fake celebration is such a good control technique because it works on so many levels. It fulfills our deep need to party without changing any power balances. It provides a historical record to show just what a good boss they’ve been. Most importantly it uses up the celebration quota and party budget that every organisation maintains, whether explicitly or not, so that there isn’t any quota left for celebrating real achievement.