group of people throwing confetti in the air for ceremony

“What a nice ceremony that was to recognize Julie today. Ten years of service, some great accomplishments along the way, and now a promotion to Director.  I am glad we had a promotion ceremony for her.”

“We have this cool ceremony when we bring on board new employees for their first day. The hallway is lined by all of us, they have to break through a finish line tape, and run through a short chute high-fiving us like they just won a race. Our supervisor then gives an informal introduction welcoming them, gives them their nametags and we have short breakfast event.”

“I always read the employee spotlight first in our monthly newsletter. It gives us insight into the accomplishments of our colleagues, many which we do not see very often.”

“One of the gatherings I looked forward to at my last organization was our monthly leadership circle. We all had the opportunity to submit short write ups on a peer that we thought exhibited exceptional leadership that month. Our VP would bring us all together and read the recognitions followed by lunch as a team.

What traditions, ceremonies, or events do you have for the individuals you lead? Why do you have them? Maybe a better question is; Regardless of culture, why are there so many ceremonies and celebrations?

Ceremonies are a part of the fabric of our human existence, they weave together the chapters of our life. Every significant event in our lives has a ceremony to mark the transition: Birthdays, proms, graduations, religious events, promotions, achievements and funerals.

For each one, we take the time to recognize the change, the transition, usually followed by a celebration. The ceremony marks the event or transition and the celebration recognizes the past and is in anticipation of the future. Each anecdote above meets the criteria of marking an event or transition.

A key element of each ceremony is reflection, which is an important part of leadership development. Reflection by definition is a pause and an opportunity to look at ourselves, evaluate our current state and evaluate what has passed. Stories become part of that past that allow us and others to capture the learning with potential to leave a legacy and impact the future.

How could you hit pause in your organization to reflect, recognize a transition, capture important events, and refocus for the future?

What impact would those ceremonies have on your organization and leadership?