Story: Are we currently experiencing a famine of fun and celebration in work organizations, and perhaps many other institutions? Things seem to be extraordinarily tense these days, not the least of which is the fast paced change in almost all parts of our lives. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like we could all use a lot more fun.
It’s the middle of the American college football season, and my co- author/editor Garrett (who lives in Austin, Texas), reminded me of a few celebratory traditions that make college football so enjoyable. There are many examples in all parts of the U.S., so if you have a moment, please watch Wisconsin’s student body’s “Jump Around” tradition, which will put a smile in your face.
Or watch West Virginia fans tradition to stay in their stadium after every win and lustily sing John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
So what does this have to do with leadership and culture in all countries?
Key Point: I believe most organizations need more celebrations to symbolize, demonstrate and reinforce company purpose and intended values. It is also an opportunity to lift up organization heroes, those who have applied the culture’s core values or purpose in extraordinary ways. These events strengthen everyone’s connection to the organization and reinforces what makes the group special. And sometimes, I think we may overlook the pure benefit of laughter, joy and the fun that can be unleashed under the wonderful cover of a collective ritual. I’m sure that most of the Wisconsin fans don’t deliriously jump up and down by themselves in their homes very often. But at a Badger game, even the most conservative midwesterner can cut loose. Belonging matters and participating in traditions reinforces that sense. What are you doing to create and participate in more celebrations or rituals in your workplace?
Lead Yourself Move:
- Be a celebration instigator within your work group. Even if it’s a small thing like “Taco Tuesday,” or the under-appreciated and carbohydrate maligned “Donut Friday.” Have FUN!
Lead Others Move:
- If you’re privileged enough to lead others then you can definitely apply all kinds of creativity in this regard. Examine your groups’ purpose and values and think of how you might implement a “jump around.” When I was the CPO of an organization, I liked the experience of music and dancing. In retrospect, I would have made it more intentional and ritualistic. What will you do? How about if we are more intentional about creating more moments for joy and laughter?
Jumping Around in Personal Leadership,
One Millennial View: The magic of combining traditions with sports has brought entire cities and communities together in ways that seem unmatched in any other field (no pun intended). As for office traditions, I’ve seen everything from Friday dance-offs, to ringing the gong on the sales floor. I don’t think a great office ritual requires 80,000 jumping fans, but if there’s a little effort to celebrate, invoke some nostalgia, create a laugh, or make my other Millennial friends think that I work somewhere really fun – it’s a whole lot more exciting to show up and get the job done.
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis