Building right business rituals in firms

02 Oct, 2020 - 00:10 0 Views

eBusiness Weekly

Joseline Sithole

The price for a few body parts of Tapiwa Makore, a young boy who was gruesomely murdered in Murehwa, was US$1 500 for the herd boy. We will never know what the other conspirators got or what business this head was supposed to have buoyed. What we know is that we are irrevocably shocked and horrified at the details of this horrific murder.

The sad story of the little boy who had woken up to guard his family’s garden and taken a swim to cool off, made very sad reading.

To make matters worse, more body parts which did not match the boy’s missing ones were also discovered at the crime scene. In Zaka, on another mountain in Chief Nhema’s village, the skeletal remains of three year old Miriam Jenjere were discovered after she had been missing for three years through identification of the clothes she was wearing the day she was abducted.

I cannot fathom the journey that these two young innocent souls undertook to their deaths. Whether they knew they were going to be murdered or if in their young souls they thought they would be back home. And I certainly cannot imagine the horror within their souls when they were being butchered.

It is believed that for body parts to be effective they have to be harvested while the victims are still alive. Just as well, His Excellency President Mnangagwa has come out guns blazing against these gruesome and heinous crimes against our children. The President of Tanzania took the unprecedented decision to arrest over 600 witchdoctors who were believed to be sanctioning albino ritual killings.

In Tanzania, albinism is quite common, with one in every 1 400 people suffering from the disorder. Sadly, albino body parts are believed to be highly potent for “muti” to enhance business success. In Africa, ritual killings are pandemic and indeed throughout other developed regions.

Leo Igwe, a Nigerian human rights advocate and humanist working with the International Humanist and Ethical Union notes that, “Ritual killing and related human rights abuses take place on the continent because many people still believe that the use of charms and the performance of ritual sacrifice can fortify them spiritually, enhance their fortunes in business and during elections, or protect them from harm, disease, poverty, accident, death or destruction.”

Uganda is another country where ritual killings are pervasive. According to Pastor Peter Sewakyrianga of Uganda Kyampisi Childcare Ministries” Children have become a commodity of exchange, child sacrifice has become a commercial business.” It is not clear whether the businesses ever reach dizzying heights of success. But as long as entrepreneurs believe in these archaic methods of business growth, the future of innocent souls in vulnerable communities will always be at risk

Other than pure greed, the advent of get rich quick schemes have pervaded our nations. Last year I wrote an article on “Microwave Entrepreneurship” that I believe will open conversations on the need by entrepreneurs to follow good business practices in growing their businesses.   

Contrary to the above, companies and big organisations do practice positive rituals that grow their businesses. “Chron” business website, notes that “Business Rites and rituals, which also include habits and ceremonies, together shape the culture of an organisation”.

The website goes on to say that rituals are “generally experienced on a team or departmental level and are practised on a regular basis”.

They are practiced on a regular basis, such as weekly or monthly. The purpose of rituals can vary, from helping team members bond with each other to keeping others updated on business matters. Rituals usually have a goal or objective, such as learning something new or getting to know a recent hire.

What are the advantages of having company rituals?

Rituals in organisations assist in cementing company cultures, and they help to enhance employee participation. A great number of company rituals are done to celebrate success in various forms. In most of the previous companies that I have been employed in, we celebrated when we closed a deal on a new project or at the end of a successful project. This meant that we were entitled to some food fest somewhere especially a braai. Christmas dinners and parties are also a must on companies’ calendars. It is thus important to set aside budgets that go toward funding these functions.

Promoting continuous learning

Conducting a debriefing session is always a very positive ways of evaluating the success, and sometimes poor performance of projects. Certainly there are many skills that can be obtained through managing and executing projects. In these sessions key lessons learnt and best practises, should always be highlighted so that there can be improvement in the execution of future projects. Company employee awards and company review sessions are rituals that are meant to ensure that appropriate interventions are carried out.

Improving employee relationships

Many company rituals are also meant to improve employee relations. What better way to improve employee relations than to go out for a picnic or go out on a hike as a team. That way, employees may actually learn to connect on a personal level and improve their relationships. Companies can also call motivational speakers or schedule monthly games. In one company where I was employed we played Volleyball every Friday.

Focusing on personal milestones

My birthday was an exciting one this year. My boss surprised me with my favourite carrot cake from my favourite restaurant.  Employee birthdays, graduations and other milestones are all rituals that need to be celebrated. Equally employee family deaths and employee deaths should be treated with respect and the support they deserve. At one company that I was employed at you were not supposed to come to work on your birthday.

Some interesting business rituals

Netflix one of the biggest streaming organisations in the world observes some interesting company rituals, which feed into the company strategic direction. On Thursdays, the company allows colleagues “to get together to discuss meaningful and deep topics that go beyond small-talk”. The company also holds monthly lunches and invites speakers who give them insights from topics which are highly educational. Morning stand ups, focus on tech and product news and where necessary are used to celebrate any organisational wins.

Apple also does “little” rituals that make a “big” difference to their employees. These rituals normally happen during launches. Some employees have observed that during product launches they were treated to very good food.

On another launch employees woke up to find a kiddie pool full of goldfish. 

But the Japanese take my trophy for the most endearing business rituals. The Japanese are notorious for their preparation for meetings as they are highly risk averse. So meetings are meticulously planned and you know that when they come for a meeting they are well prepared for the meeting. Have you ever seen people shuttling in and out of meetings with others asking what the meeting was all about?

In conclusion, it might seem to me that those who practice ritual killings of our innocent children could well to start learning on good business practices and rituals. Rosaborth Moss Kanter has this to say about business rituals, “Throughout human history, people have developed strong loyalties to traditions, rituals, and symbols. In the most effective organisations, they are not only respected but celebrated. It is no coincidence that the most highly admired corporations are also among the most profitable”.

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