In my quest to solve the puzzle effective behaviour change in organisations, I came across this interesting article about how brands are emulating religion by using rituals to bring consumers into their community and encourage habits that involve them using their specific product - eg Oreos 'twist, lick and dunk' or Corona's 'lime wedge in the bottleneck'. They are successfully tapping into the power of rituals which humans are born into in every culture and religion.
Rituals, religious and otherwise, determine behaviour at birth, adulthood, marriage and death. They also follow annual cycles such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan or Harvest for instance. We always try to work with the existing cycles and drumbeat of an organisation so this got me thinking how we could create rituals in organisations to drive effective behaviours and habits.
By understanding the culture of the organisations and which symbols stand out or which processes/activities are sacred or even despised, we can reconstruct or re-emphasise the nature of that event to create the desired/effective behaviour. Linking this closely with the purpose and values of the organisation would send a powerful and meaningful message and could even be made to be engaging and fun.
For example, annual budgeting processes are painful. If we wanted to be more customer-centric (which everybody does nowadays), how could we reconstruct the process to be done for the benefit of the customer. It would take a bit of work and imagination but it would send a very clear signal to the whole organisation and become a fundamental annual ritual which would put the customer at the very core of everything your organisation does.
That's just one example. Whatever you are trying to change in your organisation, with some examination of the way you do things, you can create rituals that speak volumes to your people and help them do what's right for your business. Another idea for the pot. The quest continues...
Rituals follow a specific script, and possess symbolic and personal meaning. This is what makes them so powerful. They sometimes, but not always, involve participation by others. Over centuries, people have developed religious rituals to mark rites of passage in life such as birth, the transition to adulthood (like Quinceañera), marriage, and death. People also perform rituals to mark certain times of each year like the end of the harvest season; to please or praise divine powers; or to ward off misfortunes (specific Vedic ceremonies in Hinduism). Sociologists have argued that rituals are important to every culture because they provide order and structure to our lives, and assure us of our place in the bigger scheme of things.