Creating Team Rituals (Part II of Defining Your Teams Culture)

Creating Team Rituals is the second blog in a series of blogs to help you create a team culture of excellence. The first of the series is Defining Your Teams Culture.

Once the desired “behaviors” are created and defined (discussed in Defining Your Teams Culture), it is time to communicate the behaviors and create a plan to make it part of the everyday life of all team members. It is important to first document all of these behaviors and definitions in a concise manner. This document is then to be handed to all team members together, but the timing of this meeting should be taken into consideration. It is recommended that this meeting should not happen during any type of team turmoil as it will not be taken seriously and can possibly do more harm than good. It should however take place during a positive time and positioned as a way to help what is already a well functioning team to become even better.

Reviewing the behaviors is only the first step. Now it is time to create a plan to continually reinforce these behaviors and hold team members accountable for them. One way to do this is by creating cyclical rituals or routines, which help the defined behaviors, become habits. A technique to accomplish this is to create a “Behavior of the Week” plan. Each week the team leader will send out an e-mail to all team members introducing the behavior of the week, along with the definition and an example or two of how this behavior is to be used. Below is an example of such an e-mail:

From: Mike Adams
Sent: Monday, July 23 , 2014 8:45 AM
To: Team Members
Subject: Behavior of the Week – Be Responsive

Good morning team.
I hope everyone had a terrific weekend.

This week’s behavior is:
Be Responsive – Honor the 24 hour rule for all client requests, such as information, proposals, return calls and e-mails.

An example of how this behavior had a positive impact on our team and the organization just last week was when Meredith closed a $25,000 sale because of her responsiveness. Her proposal was in the hands of the client within hours of their meeting while our competitors took days. This showed the client our impeccable customer service and professionalism, which was one of the key deciding factors on hiring us.

Notice that this e-mail was brief and positive. The examples used should show how the behavior has had a positive impact as opposed to how the lack of behavior has harmed the team. Now that the behavior of the week has been communicated by the team leader, it is the team member’s responsibility to briefly discuss this behavior during every team meeting and team member interaction. This does not need to be more than a minute or two. It is also encourage to share an example of how the behavior was recently used during these interactions. This sharing may lead to engaging conversations that can help everyone involved. The more engaging these conversations become, the less likely it is that they will become stale. Keep it simple, keep it brief and keep it fun.

Once all of the behaviors have been used as a behavior of the week, it is time to start the process over with behavior number 1. This time around, try assigning other team members with the responsibly of sending out the Monday morning e-mails. This will add a new feel to the message as well as continually engage the team members in the process.

Although this may seem like a lot, it will only take minutes a day to help create the culture that will lead your team to optimal success.