• Lars Christensen

Rituals roadmap by Erica Keswin


I finished this book in October 2022. I recommend this book 7/10.

We can use rituals to start something and to wrap something up. Think about ways to kick off your work day or to end it. Rituals can be your solution to end the pinging from your pocket when you are supposed to spend time with your family.

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My thoughts and notes:

  • "Whenever I've taken over a new team or function, I have everyone participate in 'manager integration exercises,'" wherein she encourages people to consider the impression she (or any manager) leaves on a group. She explains, " My favorite is where I come together with my direct reports, and then I leave the room so that they can answer three questions: (1) What do we know about Daisy? (2) What do we wish we knew about Daisy? (3) What do we wish Daisy would know about us? I then come back to the group, review the answers, which are not attributed to anyone in particular unless they want to, and add, complement, etc. It's a great trust-building exercise that requires a huge level of transparency and vulnerability." This ritual shows psychological safety in action.

  • "Oh, yes, of course, we have values," but then can't tell me what they are. Values won't help anyone unless they're authentic and functional, and memorable. Follow these two steps to make sure you have functional values:

  • Step one: Develop a set of values that everyone in the company can recite. Three to five is a good number.

  • Step two: Use rituals to tie people to your values. According to social psychologist Heidi Grant, rituals help people value their experience more deeply.

  • Out of a new group being onboarded, a group was asked to think about times in previous jobs when they themselves were proudest and then to discuss those memories with their group. Specifically, they were asked: "What is unique about you that leads you to your happiest times and best performance at work? Reflect on a specific time—perhaps on a job or perhaps at home—when you were acting in a way that you were 'born to act.'"

  • Gwen Moran writes in a Fast Company article, "Rituals signal to us that it's time for a specific mindset or activity. They act as triggers to more effortlessly get us ready for what we need to do." Rituals are great preparation, and they can help us wrap things up, too. After all, the end of one thing is the beginning of another. These days with our jobs chasing after us, pinging from our pockets at all hours of every day if we let them, taking time off is a mindset that needs our attention more than ever. Put another way: If we don't take charge of our schedules, our devices will happily do it for us. We can harness rituals at the beginning and end of everything we do, and we can ensure we include our technology, leveraging what we love about it while also pitting it in its place.

  • At Udemy, a Meeting Hero is someone who makes sure meetings are necessary, useful, and have an actionable outcome, i.e., have a purpose.

  • A daily huddle of 15 minutes that goes three rounds.

  • Each person shares an update, like, "I had a great meeting yesterday." or " I will be out of the office tomorrow, so don't look for me."

  • Something you are stuck on that perhaps someone in the group can help with.

  • Share a value story, a moment when observed an employee living one of the company's values.

  • Then on Wednesday evening, the annual rewards and recognition ceremony occurs. A fun side note on the recognition dinner—"at some point in the night, every other person stands up and switches to another seat so that you can sit next to not only two people but four people throughout the night." Talk about cultivating and curating connections.

  • Didier Elzinga, Culture Amp's founder and CEO explained, "If you have a good manager, it may take them 10 years of experience to become a truly exceptional manager. A company with a strong culture of learning and development can accelerate the process so that managers become a great leaders in a much shorter space of time."

  • "81 percent of employees who take a daily lunch break have a strong desire to be an active member in their company." All that is to say, physiologically speaking, our bodies need time to eat, and our brains need to rest.

  • *When the Olympics or World Cup starts, make it a big deal. Pay attention to games and scores, and as a manager, embrace and cheer for the diversity of nationals on your team.

  • "It's our continued push to try to make sure people understand that if you take breaks, you will be happier and a better employee, and it's better for our business, right? So if you think you're being a hero by working all the time, that is false."

  • Create an award for the "biggest helper" or "sh*ttiest moment." You, as manager, give us the first award, and then the first winner is awarded the next, and so on.

  • Howard Schultz, Starbuck's longtime chair and CEO, writes, "A well-built brand is the culmination of intangibles that do not directly flow to the revenue or profitability of a company but contribute to its texture....I always say that Starbucks is at its best when....creating enduring relationships and personal connections...Starbucks is intensely personal. Aside from brushing their teeth, what else do people do habitually every day? They drink coffee. Same time. Same store. Same beverage."

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