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TEAM BUILDING

How to Create Inspiring Rituals for Your Team

You'll keep employees connected and motivated by figuring out the right type of ritual for your business.

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Here's a strange but eye-opening exercise: Try pretending that you're a Martian, new to Earth, and take notes on your business's observable rituals. What do you observe when your team enters their workspace?  What happens after meetings?  What happens when the team achieves a goal?

Our rituals create the fabric of our culture, and they are critical for defining connections within our teams, but once they're established, they often seem like "the way we do things around here." It can be helpful to reflect on whether that's the best way you could do things around here.

Effective rituals connect our team members to each other, to their leaders, and to our compelling cause.  These might be as simple as bringing in doughnuts to celebrate employee birthdays; hosting regular social events; creating a photo board of new team members and customers; ringing a bell when a big sale is made; or sharing a proud moment at the beginning of every staff meeting.

Yum! Brands is the world's largest restaurant company--it owns Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, Long John Slivers and A&W. To start each staff meeting, all employees all do the YUM! cheer, and it's an honor to be asked to lead it.  Everyone participates, every time, with everything they have. Trust me, I've been a guest during a meeting and have done the cheer myself.

Sound corny?  Not at all. It is an energizing and fun way to connect a team and start a meeting. It's a powerful ritual. But it only works because it fits their culture.

Effective rituals--those which incorporate a business's specific culture--build connections. That's why it's essential to select rituals that fit your leadership style and the chemistry of your team.  It has to feel comfortable and natural for everyone in order to work.

Could your team use a ritual to connect? Take a moment to think about creating something fun, easy and meaningful.  Keep it simple.  Start with just one ritual, stick to it, and don't compromise it.

IMAGE: Shutterstock
Last updated: Aug 6, 2013

LEE COLAN is founder of The L Group, a consulting firm that equips and inspires leaders at every level. He is a leadership adviser and presenter of practical ideas, and a Thinkers 50 nominee for Top Management Thinker of 2013. Colan has also written 12 books, including the best-selling Engaging the Hearts and Minds of All Your Employees. His latest book is Stick With It: Mastering the Art of Adherence.
@LeeColan




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