I love traditions. In my family culture, in the organizations I work in as well. Traditions bring people together by helping us tap into memories of past times where we did the activity and these collections of shared memories bond us.
What traditions does your organization or business have? Do you always have cake on someone’s birthday? Is there a team shirt everyone wears when they go to conferences together? Is there an award you give every year?
The best part about traditions is that we can always create new ones. You can always ask your team to brainstorm on new ways to come together and share an experience.
The worst part is when we continue a tradition just for the sake of continuing it when it no longer has meaning to the current group or is at a significant cost to the organization with little benefit.
Consider your current traditions. What do they cost? What is the benefit? Is it worth continuing? For example, let’s say you always purchase a book for your team, hoping to support their continuing education. But you find out that no one reads the book. Or you’re not sure. Do you continue to buy the book? Or, do you change the tradition so it now includes a morning book club that meets to discuss the book?
Maybe there is a tradition that was previously cut because of cost, but now you realize the benefit was substantial and the lack of it has caused a decrease in productivity. Can you bring it back? Of course!
Traditions are not set in stone, what makes them special is that people are involved, and people are individuals and they change in an organization and business over time. What was an embraced tradition by one group, with many benefits, may not work with a new group.
As leaders, our job is to improve the culture of our teams and traditions help us to do this. Take a look at the ones you have, drop the ones that are not effective, add in ones that are important to the team you have now, and continue the ones that have strengthened the core of what you do for many years.