Erica Keswin is a bestselling author, internationally sought-after speaker, and founder of the Spaghetti Project, a roving ritual devoted to sharing the science and stories of relationships at work. She helps top-of-the-class businesses, organizations, and individuals improve their performance by honoring relationships in every context, always with an eye toward high-tech for human touch. She was named one of Marshall Goldsmith’s Top 100 Coaches in 2020, as well as one of Business Insider’s most innovative coaches of 2020. Her first book, Bring Your Human to Work: 10 Sure-Fire Ways to Design a Workplace That’s Good for People, Great for Business, and Just Might Change the World was published in 2018 by McGraw Hill. Her second book, Rituals Roadmap: The Human Way to Transform Everyday Routines Into Workplace Magic was published by McGraw Hill in January, 2021. Both books debuted on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list.
In this conversation, Erica talks about her book, Rituals Roadmap.
Erica: A ritual is something we do with a regular cadence that is elevated beyond its practical purpose. As I was touring the country on my book tour for Bring Your Human to Work, interviewing leaders from all over, I realized they were using rituals as a tool for the human workplace.
Rituals provide us with the Three P’s—a sense of Psychological safety and belonging, a connection to greater Purpose, and when you combine those two together, you get the Third P: a boost in Performance, which is good for people and good for business.
Since rituals offer us a sense of psychological safety, they are incredibly important in today’s changing world. Rituals anchor us, especially in turbulent times. A ritual is something that if it were to go away, something would feel off. That’s why maintaining rituals during unprecedented times is so helpful.
Geetesh: Erica, how do we incorporate rituals in an online world where physical people-to-people contact is diminishing? For example, in virtual conferences, and in online meetings? Please do share some thoughts.
Erica: The world of work is changing quickly. Even as employees start to return to the office in the next year, we’ll have a new hybrid model of remote and in-person work. But one thing that won’t ever change is how important it is to honor relationships.
There are a number of ways to do this in the hybrid world of work. Start by asking yourself—does your calendar reflect your values? In a time where days can feel like an endless string of Zooms, make sure your people are making time for themselves—to be creative, to collaborate, and to rest.
Incorporate rituals for yourself and for your team. If you had an office ritual pre-pandemic, find a way to adapt it to a hybrid work model, or create new rituals for this unique moment. Think about where you can incorporate them—in onboarding, in meetings, in transitions, around meals—and base them on your values.
Make sure to continue to check in with your team, even if just for a few minutes. In this remote world, we need to communicate even more than usual.
Find the Sweet Spot between tech and connect. Zoom fatigue is real. Maybe instead of a video call, try a walking meeting outside, on the phone. Always match the message to the medium, and find creative ways to communicate that will keep you energized.
Lastly, don’t forget to have some fun. These days can feel long and heavy, so we should find ways to bring a little levity. Maybe it’s a talent show, champagne Fridays, throwback Thursdays or silly trivia with your team—whatever works. Right now we should celebrate all the wins, big and small.
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