Of course, our organisations are filled with rituals, though they can easily serve to split us apart from ourselves rather than connecting us up with one another and with our more courageous, contributory parts.
There’s the ritual of annual performance appraisal, which so often puts us in contact with our inner critic and our fear, inviting us in a defensive relationship with whoever we’re appraising or who is appraising us.
There’s the ritual of the meeting that everyone said ‘yes’ to but nobody wanted to attend, in which we gain access to the part of ourselves that denies what we’re really feeling and puts on a brave face.
There’s the ritual of the project presentation, with its deck of powerpoint slides that can be designed to inspire questions and curiosity but are often designed to dampen down life and keep everybody safe.
And there’s the ritual of goal-setting, which we can use to cover up how anxious we feel about how little control we really have, and which puts us in contact with the parts of us that reassure ourselves and others about what we don’t believe to be true.
I wonder at what we could we create if we were to more often and more purposefully invent enlivening organisational rituals rather than sleepwalking into ones which deaden. And if we designed our rituals to reconnect us daily with a sense of truthfulness, wonder, responsibility and connectedness to one another, and to remind us of the part we could yet play in this vast and unpredictable world.