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.

Rituals at Work by Kursat Ozenc and Margaret Hagan

Rituals at Work book cover

The book matches the tone of the cover

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:

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

The book breaks up rituals into categories for individuals, teams, and organizations. The one that’s stuck with me is the:

The Daily Drawing (Individual & Team)

start each day by taking 1 minute to draw out what’s on your mind, what’s blocking you, or anything

This really helps with clarity on challenges. I don’t draw a lot, so sketching something abstract really forces me to think about the nature of the issue. I don’t focus so much on the skill of the sketch, but try to get clarity on the issue itself or as a guide that I can refer to throughout the coming weeks.

  1. this isn’t entirely true, but it’s more true than it’s false, and is very dependent on the specifics of the team. ↩︎