This book one was fun for big picture thinking around culture and process. It’s something I’m always up for, so I might be overly sweet on this book… but there’s also some fluff, and it’s fully aimed at groups of people who are not remote workers.
The sections that meant the most to me were the opening chapters on the importance of rituals. It’s a bunch of small notes on rituals that all feel true in different ways:
- Rituals give order and meaning
- Rituals provide a safe space to experiment
- Rituals increase performance by decreasing anxiety
- Rituals help people deal with negative transitions
- Rituals ensure performance by motivating and bonding people
- Rituals improve the quality of an experience
- Rituals enhance the feeling of control
A ritual might not do any of those things, but it, done right, can be all that and more. It reminded me of a lot of the things I did in sports to help with all those little issues. So why not convert them to the office?
Well, because office work is different than sports. And I say that as someone who relies deeply on my sports experience when managing. It’s much easier to have a ritual around a physical activity than a mental one. Particularly one that is shared among a team. 1
Still doesn’t mean you should’t try! Thats why this book exists! BUT! And it’a big but, there’s an assumption made that your team will be up to experiment, and would get more than anecdotal value from something like “The Zombie Garden”. It might be possible! But it feels like a stretch, adding to that disconnect from reality a lot of these feel rituals feel brainstormed and not real.
If you have a great team, you likely already have rituals (if not, make some happen, seriously, did you see that list?). If you don’t have a great team, you likely have more important things to work on. If you’re right at the precipice of a team becoming great, yes, this book is for you. Get over the peak and into the valley of greatness. Check out this book from the library and try something.
this isn’t entirely true, but it’s more true than it’s false, and is very dependent on the specifics of the team. ↩︎