Ceremony. The word brings up images of ritualistic events outside our work lives, like weddings, graduations, and presidential inaugurations. Ceremonies are not new and are in fact as old as civilization itself.
So why are colleagues Tom Meloche and Kyle Aretae calling ceremony a “new method” in their book title?
Because the enormous power of ceremony is missing in business. The authors point out that ceremony as a conscious organizing strategy remains almost unknown in the business world. Executives, entrepreneurs, and front-line managers cannot formally describe what ceremony is, how it works, or how to leverage it in their organizations. Surprisingly, it has also been ignored by an entire generation of business consultants.
But as the authors say, there is hope. Their book shows how to bring ceremony to life in your business. The authors cite these examples of why ceremony is important:
- Do people come to work because they love what they do, or simply because they are paid? Ceremony builds a workplace people love.
- Do people look forward to attending meetings, or do they sneak out of them at the first opportunity? Ceremony creates productive gatherings people want to attend.
- Are you able to implement significant change rapidly, or do a whole generation of employees need to retire before real change succeeds? Ceremony enables quick, painless, and effective change.
- Do you need to raise productivity, improve quality, and reduce costs, all at the same time? Ceremony is a strategy for doing all three. And it can be implemented in tiny, incremental, low-risk steps.
Let’s take meetings. Or not, as most people would do if they could. Meetings are universal in businesses and clog most people’s calendars. They are also universally ineffective, despite decades of tips and tricks to make them otherwise. A common complaint is of being in meetings all day and getting nothing done. Two common reasons for this universal loathing:
- Meetings don’t get meaningful work done.
- Meetings leave attendees feeling drained of energy or worse, with negative emotional energy.
Good business ceremonies do the opposite. They get meaningful work done and leave attendees with positive emotional energy. Isn’t that what you want in your business?
Another, larger aspect of ceremonies is their ability to make change meaningful and sustainable. Ceremonies define culture, and culture defines what “sticks” in how things get done in organizations. Therefore, change ceremonies, and change happens.
There’s more … and ceremony is for anyone in any kind of business.
I recommend you read the book, especially while you can get the Kindle version for just US$0.99 (here’s a direct link: http://amzn.to/2rr4QsE). The authors took extra time to design it as a meaningful, fast read so you can begin thinking and experimenting yourself right away.
By Mike Russell