Again, it has been longer than I would like since my last blog entry; this is primarily due to my underestimating the amount of time that I would be committing to working on my degree. Hopefully that will change once I complete the shortened winter semester, and get into the regular spring semester. I will certainly be trying to get at least one entry a week here, and more if I can. Thanks to those that continue to stop in!
One of the major school projects I just finished was an essay for my cultural anthropology class on the state of transition, or “liminality”, as shown through the comparison of burial rituals between three different cultures (I chose the Mongols, Kiribati, and Khasi). While my paper was focused on the concept of transition as related to death and burial ceremonies, I think there are some very important conclusions that we can draw.
Overall, the concept of liminality is the transition phase just before a change. This is true in coming of age ceremonies, weddings, birthdays, graduations, etc. The purpose of these events is to show a definite change from what once was, to what will be. Knowing that this happens in so many situations, I have to wonder why we don’t pay more attention to the transition phase in business. It is a natural process that needs to happen, and can be seen around the world in many cultures and many forms, but for whatever reason when we get into business we tend to go against what is natural instead of using it to help us and our people be more successful.
The next time you are working to figure out how to motivate and engage your employees, ask yourself what natural transitions you have built-in to your processes. Do you have levels of employment at each level to create goals and small wins, and do you celebrate those transitions? (Both of these steps are necessary for a truly successful process.) What lets people know that a project is at the end, or has completed? How do you transition people from individual contributor to leader/manager? If you have these processes, how do you celebrate these transitions? Do you make it special and recognized? People thrive on natural processes like this, and I truly believe that if you make these changes you will see improvements in the excitement, enthusiasm, and success of your business.
It may not be the first thing that we think of but we need to be aware of the natural tendencies of the crazy creature that is Homo sapien, and utilize those natural tendencies instead of fighting them.