When making a list of all our favorite things about the holiday season, the main highlights are often our favorite rituals - ceremonial acts repeated in a set precise manner. Every year we can count on the cranberries to appear on the table, the tree to be decorated with ornaments from childhood, or a toast at midnight surrounded by family and friends. Less widespread rituals such as gratitude messages on Thanksgiving or listening to Stevie Wonder as the ball drops often excite even more, acts that are to be expected but demonstrate personal methods of marking the occasion.
In the workplace, we also regularly participate in rituals based on the culture of our organization. These workplace rituals serve various purposes like how we frame our day, how we celebrate a company success, or how we create a high level of alignment prior to a big meeting. Our brain is triggered to recognize the familiarity or consequences of an act. These activities alter us emotionally and can often lead to more energy, reduced anxiety, and improved focus.
Rituals in the workplace serve many purposes, but most importantly they create a shared identity among participants. These rituals bring employees from different cultures together, build social bonds as a team, connect our feelings, and allow everyone to engage around what matters most.
As leaders, we must create rituals to reflect our company’s culture and support better performance.
To create rituals in your office:
- Write down your values and goals, or choose one in particular you’d like to focus on.
- Identify actions to support or reward the desired outcomes.
- Develop a plan to implement these actions within the workplace – and make the plan known to all.
- Put the rituals into place. Encourage behavior that will achieve your goals and reflect the values you hold.
Putting these steps into action, you will see how behaviors practiced over time become habits. And with established habits your team will perform with improved, intentional results.
While our holidays are filled with important rituals connecting us with family and friends, rituals in the workplace serve a purpose in incentivizing teams to reach goals and emulate values. By planting the seed of a ritual within your workplace, you will clearly see the positive reinforcement and higher performance spreading throughout.
What rituals does your office use to boost performance? What new rituals can you establish to better align with your vision?