Wednesday, January 18th, 2017
Rituals are as old as mankind. They are vehicles of emotion. A ritual only works if everybody involved agrees to take it seriously, performing each task and symbolic gesture with reverence. The leader or facilitator of such an exercise, of course, is responsible for setting the tone, creating the mindset and walking his or her own talk when performing the ritual.
You might sit there thinking “what am I doing here with all these strangers and what on Earth am I going to say when it’s my turn?” Or you might start playing your thoughts around in your mind to prepare your own speech instead of listening to the guy talking at the moment. It doesn’t really matter. The collective energy of the people assembled around you will pull you in to the ritual sooner or later.
Leadership mostly takes place in our hearts: we follow those who make us feel safe, worthy and belonging to something bigger than ourselves. Rituals concentrate our attention on certain emotions, adding each individual contribution together to create a shared sensation of significance, which seems to magically multiply exponentially sometimes: “Whoa!! Did you feel that?”
Rituals harness our feelings, emotions and sensations to create a sense of community without which we can not solve the challenges we face today. Today, more than ever, our destinies are truly joined together. Yet our differences keep us busy arguing, fighting, debating and doing our own thing. Maybe it’s time to recycle our earliest ancestors’ tribal rituals, symbols and beliefs…those through which they risked their own lives if it meant saving their tribes.
Without ritual there can be no leadership. You may only lead your teams if they feel they are part of something bigger than themselves. If they want to sacrifice their own wellbeing to build something better for all. If you feed on their joyful success as if it were your own.
Summing-up: Bring rituals back into our businesses. Invest time and effort into finding the ones your people respond to. Repeat them again and again until you all stop giggling nervously and finally give in to the shared vibe of belonging. Then your destinies will have linked together to do something more beautiful and significant than you ever thought you would even try. Then you will feel humane on a whole new level.