Create rituals that support your high performance culture

Rituals are the regular rhythms that tell people what matters and set the tone for your culture.

In high performance cultures, they are used to reinforce what matters.

This tool is about making sure your rituals are supporting what you want and not somehow sending a different message.

Reading time: 4 minutes

What will it do?

This tool is about making sure your rituals are supporting what you want and not somehow sending a different message. It’s a tool to use at least annually and ideally every 3 to 6 months to make sure you’re staying on track.

You can also use it in advance of each ritual, particularly if there are any you’re concerned about. It’s also worth looking at the “Building a Culture of Excellence” kitbag to make sure you’ve got the basics in place.

Three steps to take

Get focused on the things that will make the most impact for you

1. Look at the table below. These are some of the most frequent rituals we see. Add in any you have in your organisation that are missing from the list and prioritise the ones that have the biggest impact on your culture, where “1” is highest & “3” is lowest.

Rituals Impact
Goal or budget setting
Goal reviews
Performance reviews
Reward & recognition
Conferences & events
Internal meetings or “town halls”
Team member 1:1’s

2. Look at the table below. You’ll see a number of high performance culture factors your rituals should be reinforcing. List your 3 rituals that have the biggest impact from step 1 and score each one on a scale of 1-10 in terms of how well that ritual reinforces that ingredient. 1 means it’s rubbish at it and 10 means it’s great. It might be useful to do this with 1 or 2 others so you get a broader view.

High performance culture factors High impact
ritual 1
High impact
ritual 2
High impact
ritual 3
Our purpose or mission
Our history or story
I report on it
Our behaviours
It’s high on my agendas
Our attitudes
Our values
Our process and tools that help us win
Performance improvement
Talent identification, acquisition and fulfillment
Leading around here

3. Now take the same top 3 rituals and with everything you’ve learned in Step 2, decide what you and your team are going to start, stop and continue doing with that ritual. Remember that if any of your high impact rituals are scoring highly, then your job is to make that strength stronger!

High impact ritual Start Stop Continue

Your plan

Get a plan Stan. The basics you need to have in your plan are set out below.

Plan basics

  1. What are you going to do? This bit is easy – it’s the 3 things listed above. No 3 is particularly helpful here. If there’s anything else you need to do, jot it down here.

    My actions:

  2. When are you going to start? You don’t have to be great to get going, but you better get going if you want to be great.

    My start date:

  3. How often will you be reviewing it? Getting great has a lot to do with making things a habit.

    Check in dates:

Get serious

The difference between having a plan and making it work is about action. So get this in your diary now. Tell the people who need to know so that they can support you and won’t just think you’re being weird. Do it now.

Remember, it’s progress not perfection. You’re looking for gradual improvement, not for Rome to be built in a day.