As I write this blog it is Easter Monday. My family have come and gone, the feasting is long over. However, the gathering together of the family started me thinking about the value and meaning of the traditions we hold. There are rituals that families follow that help imbue to that family its roots and values. Traditions may have religious significance or be more familial in focus, but they tend to mark the important events within the growth of a family.
My maternal grandparents were Ukrainian. This meant that holidays were punctuated with specific foods and traditions that had, at their foundation, the Ukrainian culture. For Easter, the hand painted Pysanky eggs were a traditional decoration on the table and were an art form I turned my hand to a number of times over the years (not with any significant degree of talent or success however). This year, my young grandsons arrived for Easter dinner with a wooden version of these beautiful eggs, beginning their introduction and connection to a history and past that they have yet to understand but that is starting to take shape none the less. Our traditions serve to pass something of meaning and value to our future generations.
Organizations too develop their own unique traditions and rituals, serving to establish their culture. It is through these small moments that the values of the organization are communicated, that the roots take shape. It is in our moments of celebration that we define what is important to us, it is in our mourning that we give voice to what we value. These moments shape a religion, they shape a family and they shape an organization.
I invite you to give thought to what messages you are passing on to your children with the traditions you have created and observe, the messages that will carry on to your grandchildren and their children in turn. Are they messages of love, of peace, of understanding? Are they values that will help them to shape positive lives, families and communities?
I invite you to give thought to what messages you are passing on to your employees with the traditions you have created and observe, the messages that will carry on to their employees and those below them. Are they messages of love, of peace, of understanding? Are they values that will help them to shape positive lives, families and communities?
I look at the bowl of Pysanky, gracing the center of my Easter table, and I think of the history they represent, of family I have loved and lost, of the generations of family that have come before me that have had a hand in crafted the 'me' that I am and the young men my grandsons are becoming. I am thankful that these traditions and rituals have, at their foundation, a history rich in strength, a positive work ethic, and a willingness and drive to succeed that served my ancestors well in the past, as they serve me today, and that will continue through my grandchildren.
What are the traditions you are creating within your organization today and how will they stand the test of time? We often get caught up in what is expedient without considering how it will test out over time. Know that each action and step you take today is laying the foundation for what is to follow. Take a moment today to think about the legacy that your work is creating and determine whether it is one of design. It is never too late to begin creating the rituals that will establish the traditions of the future.