Rituals

What is a ritual?

A ritual is an act of symbolic content. Rituals are consciously used to illustrate, highlight or emphasize the emotional side of a symbolic act. Rituals are an integral part of all cultures. They arise from a specific context and make sense in this context. Rituals can be found everywhere where people live together, in the family, the workplace, in politics. Examples of rituals are weddings, birthday celebrations with friends or a farewell dinner at the workplace.

What is the function of a ritual?

A ritual is used to give emotional meaning to an action. It serves to give rhythm to temporal, social or biographical sequences. Rituals provide transitions, structure daily life, regulate social events and facilitate interpersonal communication. They provide guidance, safety and emotional support.

How important are rituals in projects?

Rituals shape the complex, often concurrent processes in projects and provide emotional support. Professional challenges are overcome with clearly defined objectives and milestones. With these instruments the project's course will be reviewed and corrected and risks will thus be minimized. Rituals are used to support emotional challenges. They shape collaborative teamwork, create a sense of unity and motivation and also provide emotional orientation.

How can we create rituals?

The regular celebration of a success constitutes a ritual, for example. Occasions for celebration might be the achievement of an intermediate objective or the arrival of a new partner in a project. With this act, the achievement gains emotional emphasis. Employees experience esteem and recognition, and the team is given a sense of togetherness and strength. Another ritual could be a meal or a celebration at the end of the project. It is a good way for the project team to celebrate achievements and difficulties that have been mastered .It also signals the end of the existing project constellation. The ritual facilitates the transition and allows the team members to experience it more consciously. The path for a new challenge will be freed.

Why you would disregard these aspects

  • You find rituals irrational and have no conscious appreciation of them.
  • In the hustle and bustle of everyday life the active organization of rituals is forgotten.

What you have to gain

  • Rituals strengthen the team's sense of togetherness and thus its motivation.
  • It makes it easier for the team to deal with difficult situations.

What you can actually do

Think about which rituals are appropriate for the team and put them consistently into practice.

Questions for critical reflection

  • What are important events in your project which could be emphasized by means of rituals?
  • In your project planning, have you allocated time and financial resources for rituals?