ANZAC Day – It’s one of the few national traditions observed in our relatively still-young nation. It’s a truly iconic Australian tradition that has steadfastly held strong over several generations. I’ve just been to this year’s ceremony at my children’s school and I’m reminded again, that the ANZAC Day message is a powerful and unifying one. It does make you stop, take stock, and be thankful to generations before ours and the country we live in today.
Back to the office afterwards though those same words I’ve just heard about “tradition” – remembrance, legacy, gratitude, history, age – couldn’t seem less relevant. It would seem that these are not words synonymous with what we do in the quick-or-the-dead world of business every day. These are not even words that we as business leaders routinely use with our teams.
In fact, we probably actively avoid them, as they actually feel pretty counterintuitive to concepts we might be trying to drive, such as transformation, change, progress, innovation.
So while we’re hyper busy pushing to change-adopt-lead-repeat faster and faster, does tradition still have any place? Is there still value in say, taking time out of an otherwise jam-packed schedule to revisit the past, reflect, reassess and recalibrate? Where’s the value or ROI on that?
The answer is most definitely YES – tradition matters big-time in business and it should in your organization as well. The reason? Tradition represents a critical piece of our personal and company culture. If we fail to value our traditions, big and small, we lose touch of our identity, as business leaders, and as a business. Here are 4 ways traditions matter – more than ever – in our organisations of the future.
Never underestimate the power of a great story! Think back to why you started your business, or how it was started, or why you do the job you do. The traditions and stories behind you or your business are immensely interesting, real and motivating. Your staff want to know these and so do your customers. These are the stories that tell your staff and your customers about your brand values and what you’re all about more than any polished pitch!
Inclusion and Team-building
Traditions and a company culture that grows out of them gives a team a sense of joint purpose – a reassurance that within their organization all change, no matter how dramatic, will be executed within a community.
Traditions provide a showcase for modelling behaviours, dealing with failings and celebrating successes, expressing thank-yous for contributions, and giving your customers a way to experience the way you operate. Building on traditions and revisiting them can help set the bar for the way things get done in your organization.
Building on tradition, familiarity, culture and values is critical to building trust – both within and outside your organization. There is simply no underestimating the importance of trust in getting the most out of your team, building your brand, winning and keeping customers, and perhaps most critical right now, attracting the right kind of millennial talent to your team that can build on your traditions and take your organization somewhere new.
So whether it’s beer-o-clock on a Friday, or the team retreat every year – Don’t sacrifice your traditions when things get to busy. Take time to build on the traditions and values that made your business what it is now and use them to map out where you want to go.