In a recent survey conducted by Harvard, almost half of the 400 participants said they engage in some sort of a ritual before performing a task that causes anxiety. The other big benefit of rituals in the office is it helps bring teams closer together, keeping them more connected and getting them involved on a new level.
One company, Salo LLC in Minneapolis, has integrated rituals into all aspects of work life. For example, each customer request is posted on a big whiteboard, and can only be changed or erased by the person who signed the client. They also use colors to keep track of each request -- it is initially written in black, updated in blue or orange and a red check mark signifies the need for new ideas. Another one of Salo's rituals is the "pinkie-five."
"When we are about to lock a deal down, it's bad luck to high-five each other, because you might jinx it. So you do a 'pinkie-five' instead," said Gwen Martin, managing director at Salo. The pinkie-five is simply a high-five using only your pinkie fingers.
When deals are complete at Salo, the salesperson celebrates by ringing a brass gong. Other teams within the company will celebrate victories with chest bumps and victory dances.
"Knowing they are performing a ritual puts them in a mind-set of lowering anxiety and feeling more confident," said Francesca Gino, an associate professor at Harvard Business School.
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