Since today is Halloween, I’ve been thinking of the value of tradition with your people. Yesterday I went to a client that has an amazing people culture, and although the people were committed to the important session we were conducting, they all wanted to go to the Halloween pot luck at lunch. It was a fun and vast tradition – my client said that grazing started right away and lasted all day. Everyone looked forward to it, and it has become one of the few traditions that is meaningful in their culture. I have to say the food looked amazing!
This morning, I went to my hair person, and she told me that they really enjoyed having kids in costumes parade through the salon yesterday for Halloween. Next, I went to Ihop to get some multi-grain pancakes with chocolate chips, and everyone there had very cool costumes. They seemed to be really enjoying the Halloween spirit, and the customers seemed to enjoy it as well.
My Dad also got flowers for my Mom every Halloween, and so this Halloween is bittersweet since he just passed away. I liked that idea of tradition, and so the last two years, I ordered her flowers from him as he couldn’t do that anymore due to his Parkinson’s. Nice to receive flowers for over 50 years every Halloween!
These types of traditions can pull people together. We are much more likely to collaborate with those we like and trust than anyone else. Do you have any traditions at your company? Can you create one? How about in your department? Or with your group? Silly and fun traditions can yield great results. For example, one of the groups I belong to had a bowling competition, and even those who are not bowlers enjoyed the competitive spirit. Another group (a women’s professional group) really enjoyed a cooking class and bottles of wine. Who wouldn’t? I got to know several of the women much better that evening. And they found out I attended because I value relationships and like to eat!
Be creative and think of ways to start or build upon a tradition. There’s no need to spend money or ask for approvals. Find something that is enjoyable and would pull people together. Ask your colleagues for ideas. You’ll be surprised how a silly Halloween costume could have folks talking for days to come….