Friday, October 18, 2013
Why You Need Rituals in Your Business
The dictionary defines a habit as "an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary." Sound familiar?
You probably arrive at your office a certain time every day, maybe turn off the alarm, turn on the lights, make coffee, power up the computer, check emails, and so on. Some of these habits are positive, and some are negatives you're trying to overcome.
These habits are often random and don't require much thought or deliberate action. They blend into the day-to-day fabric of life.
A ritual is something quite different than a habit. A ritual is deliberate (not random) and carries with it a deeper meaning. A ritual is an act carried out on purpose with full consciousness that has a real reason behind it.
A parent reading to a child every night is a deliberate ritual that has meaning. The child will always remember it, and the act will help develop a love for books that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Many of you know I volunteer with the Boy Scouts as Cubmaster of Cub Scout Pack #31. I was reminded by a parent a few weeks ago that Scouts serves as a modern day ritual or "rite of passage".
In our business world, we fall into habits. Some of the habits are unavoidable. To make a positive impact and institute real change, we need to add some rituals to our daily lives.
In the business world, there are two places where rituals can have a major impact: customers and employee relationships. Developing positive rituals for addressing both camps is crucial to success.
Harvey MacKay, the author of Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive, owned an envelope printing company. Mr. MacKay grew a bankrupt company into a $100 million enterprise by developing a ritual of learning more about his prospects, customers, and employees than any of his competitors did.
He eventually developed a ritual that was the key to his success. This ritual involved compiling highly detailed customer profiles consisting of 66 questions covering every aspect of their lives -- from business to personal, family to social, and everything in-between. He made it a mission to learn as much as he could about the people who did business with his company.
"Knowing something about your customer is just as important as knowing everything about your product." ~ Harvey MacKay
One of the common characteristics of successful people in many walks of life is their keen observational skills. They study the people around them, noticing qualities and human nature. Some of us, unfortunately, walk around with our eyes half closed while performing mindless habits.
Three Elements of a Ritual
When - What time are you going to act?
Where - Where will this happen?
How - In what manner will this occur?
Meaningful rituals can have a real and positive effect in our lives. The kind of ritual you need will depend on the type of impact and change you hope to make. Success depends on action. Select one meaningful ritual you will institute now. That one ritual could be the difference between dreading another day of mindless habits versus looking forward to a day of making a difference in the world.