We loved a good party, so we celebrated every time we crossed a $100k/wk milestone ($100k in cash collected for the week, $200k, etc). Our first such party was a black-tie affair in January 2005 at the Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center (during a blizzard).
The most memorable celebration might have been the one for crossing $500k in the spring of 2007. The full company gathered in the office around 4pm, and everyone was handed an envelope from their manager. When Marc (Founder & CEO) gave the word, each person opened their envelope and found five crisp $100 bills inside. Of course, it was great to get $500 in cash, but it was just as rewarding to watch other people open their envelopes.
The one hundred faces simultaneously racing from confusion to shock, amazement, excitement and pure glee were a sight to behold. As the music cranked and the bubbly flowed, a steady parade of people came to shake Marc's hand and thank him.
Everyone at TheLadders that day will remember that celebration, yet no one remembers the day when their quarterly bonus was direct-deposited into their account... which is a long way of saying that I couldn't agree more with Steve's lessons learned:
-Cash has a much greater affect than a check.
-Done correctly it turns incentives into legends.