Have these 4 Features in Your Rituals

Do you have rituals in your team? Something you do together before some key event?

In our laboratory, we found a study that proves that group rituals in the team contribute to the achievement of meaningfulness at work.

Task meaningfulness, in turn, leads to:
✅ high motivation
✅ improvement of work performance
✅ improvement of well-being

So, you don’t need to change the task for the people to have more meaning.

If you don’t have rituals in your team yet and you want to create one – you should know that rituals must contain 4 features.

Here’s the takeaway from the study:

1️⃣ Physical actions: rituals involve specific types of “words and acts”.
For example, the University of Notre Dame football players run an identical route before every game. The employees of a manufacturing firm Cambridge Air Solutions complete a stretching program at the beginning of every morning meeting.

2️⃣ Psychological import: rituals represent a group’s values ​​and exemplify the tradition.
Here’s the case with the Notre Dame football players – walking the same route is meaningful to the team as the football players believe it will bring them luck during the game, even though it doesn’t directly lead to winning a game.

3️⃣ Communality: group rituals, by definition, involve multiple participants.
Communal features of group rituals are presented in different forms of commonly performed movements.
For example: performing movements at the same time in sync with others or completely imitating the movements of other participants.

4️⃣ Regularity – meaning transfer should be more likely to occur when a work task immediately (or repeatedly) follows a group ritual.
Rituals can be performed:

  • before or after an important event for the team
  • at a fixed time in which they are regularly performed
    For example: in a ritual called 5 × 5, on the fifth day of each month, at 5 pm, five employees at a consulting agency, R/GA, share a turning point in their lives for five minutes with the rest of the company.
    The study proves, that performing a group ritual is most likely to make subsequent tasks feel more meaningful.

If you want your team to be strong, cohesive, and motivated to work – create a group ritual.

And if you already have one, see if it contains the 4 features.

Check out the full study Work group rituals enhance the meaning of work, by Tami Kim, Ovul Sezer, Juliana Schroeder, Jane Risen, Francesca Gino, and Michael I. Norton published in the journal: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes

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