The iconic picture of marines hoisting the flag at Iwo Jima (and the WW2 memorial that it inspired) might lead one to think that it captured the scene of the final victory there. It doesn’t.
Putting a flag on top of Mt. Suribachi marked a significant achievement on the way to the final battle for the island. A month of hard fighting with many more major battles would be needed before the final objective was reached.
Yet at that time (and for decades since), that symbol of victory was incredibly important to the success of the over-all mission.
The lesson for leaders is this: don’t hesitate to celebrate hard-fought victories along the way. Heroic milestones may be missed and the opportunity lost.
Am I suggesting that leaders should announce premature victory? No. (Emphatically, no.)
What I am suggesting is that you do not ignore the power of noticing and celebrating pivotal moments.
Based on my interactions with many leaders across the country , I can tell you that the ties that bind people to their organizations are more tenuous than ever.
If leaders were ever able to get away with not being great acknowledgers of success efforts (and I am not sure that one ever really does), that behavior will not work today. —Not if you really want your teams to live up to their potential.
So plant flags around success. People need to see clear signs of your positive energy to get to that next step.