Why We Need Rituals With Guest Erica Keswin
season 3, episode 11
Welcome to The Work Place, where we talk about the cultures we work in, and how to make them better for everyone. I’m Andrew Scarcella.
This episode, we’re talking with Erica Keswin about her latest book, Rituals Roadmap, which reveals the power rituals have to connect us to purpose and power us to new levels of performance.
Join us after the interview for Tangible Takeaways, where we’ll talk about the ideas and actions we can take with us and implement our own workplace cultures.
Erica Keswin is a bestselling author, internationally sought-after strategist and speaker, and founder of The Spaghetti Project, a roving ritual devoted to sharing the science and stories of relationships at work. She was named one of Marshall Goldsmith’s Top 100 Coaches of 2021 as well as Business Insider’s Most Innovative Coaches of 2020. Her first appearance on The Work Place was in season one to discuss her book, Bring Your Human to Work, and this time she’s back with her second book, Rituals Roadmap: The Human Way to Transform Everyday Routines into Workplace Magic.
Erica was interviewed by Meghan Stettler, a director at the O.C. Tanner Institute and perhaps the most composed on-camera presence I’ve ever seen this side of Tom Brokaw.
Now it’s time for tangible takeaways, where we take big ideas out into the cul-de-sac for their first bike ride without training wheels, holding the back of the seat as they pump the pedals, gathering speed, then letting go and watching them ride away, still wobbling a bit, but look at them go. Look at them go. They grow up so fast, don’t they?
1. The first is that rituals are an essential part of an intentional employee experience. What IS a ritual? To Erica, there are three things that define a ritual and make it more than just a habit.
It has intention. Even if it starts by accident, it’s never done by accident.
It has a regular cadence or repetition. Once a day, once a year, etc.
It goes beyond a practical purpose. It has a larger meaning.
In other words, it doesn’t matter what the ritual is, it’s the meaning behind it that makes it powerful. A good test is to ask yourself, if I took it away, would people miss it? Feel less connected? Less aligned? That’s a ritual.
2. The second is another three. The three Ps of ROI for rituals. The first is psychological safety. A known cause of team cohesion, trust, and ultimately, innovation. The second is purpose. Rituals, done right, are extensions of the values that drive your organization. And lastly, performance. Not just personal performance mind you, team performance and organizational performance, too. Rituals are the support beams of workplace culture, connecting the foundation to the rest of the house.
3. The third is an audio ritual that we do here at The Work Place before every interview. A tiny song played on a kalimba by our editor slash composer Daniel Foster Smith. It’s just for us, and we rarely include it in the final cut, but I like to think it sets the tone for each conversation. A few calming notes to allow everyone to breathe and settle before the questions start flying.
As always, this episode was written and produced by yours truly—with original music and sound design by Daniel Foster Smith.
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The Work Place is sponsored by O.C. Tanner, the global leader in engaging workplace cultures. O.C. Tanner’s Culture Cloud™ provides a single, modular suite of apps for influencing and improving employee experiences through recognition, career anniversaries, wellbeing, leadership, and more.
If you want your organization to become a place where people can’t wait to come to work in the morning, go to octanner.com.