Hello, and a very big welcome to a brand new episode of the Elevated Entrepreneur podcast. This is episode number 39. If this is your first time here, very big welcome thank you so much for spending time with me. And I appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule, listening to me and what I’ve got to share with you. If you’ve already been listening to the show, thank you, thank you, thank you, I would not be doing this if it wasn’t for your love and support. If you haven’t already, I’d love for you to check out elevatedentrepreneur.fm/ 39, which is the page for this particular episode but you also get access to a lot of other good stuff, including show notes, transcriptions and specific downloadables that I have created individually for each episode, lovingly and hand crafted download was just for you. And remember, if you’ve got feedback, you want to share some thoughts with me, or you just want to drop in and say hello, head on over to elevatedentrepreneur.fm/speak, S P E A K, and you’ll be able to record voice messages right on your phone, which I will then be able to listen to an even feature here on the podcast. If you want to get a bit of airtime on the podcast, go on and send me a message I’d love to hear from you and tell me if I’m headed in the right direction. All right. Today’s episode is about team rituals over at Cloudscape. I have a team and we work very, very closely with each other. And we’ve come up with a few rituals. And I want to share this with you because today’s times, especially post COVID. A lot of teams are working online, they’re working remotely and it’s really these rituals that bind the team together I want to share with you how we came up with these rituals, what are these rituals and how they keep our teams close together. So, if you have a team or if you’re just curious to know what sort of rituals we follow over on Cloudscape grab your headphones, turn the volume up and help me cue the music.
You’re listening to the Elevated Entrepreneur podcast, a podcast designed to help retailers, restaurant owners and entrepreneurs simplify business operations and use modern technology to elevate their business. Here’s your host, Dhiren Bhatia.
Alright, let’s get started with this episode talking about team rituals but firstly, what are rituals? And why do we do them? Well, ever since man invented fire, tribes of men and women have sat around the fires, and sang songs, spoken, shared stories. And really, as we evolve as humans, as we get into this industrial age, the digital age, and now this knowledge age, we’re really getting farther and farther away as humans as people. But as teams, we want to get closer. And it’s these rituals that really bind humans together, tribes together and at work. The teams are nothing but tribes of people looking to accomplish a shared vision, a goal. And it’s these rituals that are going to make that happen. Rituals are nothing but just habits that are executed on a consistent basis and these start to form the markers for your team’s culture and ability to do things as a team. It helps team members bond, it helps newcomers get initiated, get them to know your values and also improves team cohesion and morale, especially as we get farther and farther due to remote working. Before I tell you about the rituals that my team and I over at Cloudscape follow, I want to point you to a really good website that has such amazing resources. It’s by a fellow podcaster, Maryland’s ACOEM Maryland runs the company cosmiccenters.com, qnd she has an amazing resources on team building, In fact, she has a beautiful resource called the Ritual Bank, which I think will be really handy for anybody looking to learn more about rituals and getting them action in their team, you can head on over to cosmiccentaurs.com/ritual-bank. The link will be in the show notes for you. You can find this at elevatedentrepreneur.fm/ 39.
As I was preparing for this episode, I banked heavily on the stuff that Marilyn has talked about, and I love the way they define shared rituals. She says that rituals are any activities or habits that your team establishes and performs on a regular basis to foster shared culture, collaboration and connectivity. I love this definition. It’s these things that we do on a day to day basis that become rituals, but the effects are so far reaching and go down so deep into the organization’s culture, that it makes a really important case for businesses to actually employ some of these rituals and learn from them and get even better as a team. So, with that said, I want you to understand why rituals are so important and how they can help your teams.
But let’s talk about some of the rituals that my team and I at Cloudscape, the ones that we follow, because we’ve come together over the last four years as a small team started out as me and then, as people get included in the mix, we grow bigger and bigger and we’ve really stuck to rituals and I think today, we are such a strong team because of those very rituals. I’ve divided our rituals into three types of rituals, the daily, the weekly, and the monthly and then there’s a fourth bonus category of one time rituals. So let’s get started with the daily rituals. This is a ritual that we practice daily without fail, at 9:30am. Everybody gets on a call, call the standup, or the huddle, the huddle is really the marker that sets and starts everyone’s days, and also tells the team that we are now starting our day. So it’s about getting on a call and sharing three key items. What’s your win? What’s the victory that you’re celebrating? What’s the one thing that you’re going to focus on today? And what’s the thing that’s blocking you the most, or what’s the one thing that is causing impediments in your daily work? So these three are pretty much the things that everybody will go around in circles and talk about, and this call is no more than five to seven minutes but I can tell you, over the last four years, this has become the one thing that everybody knows will happen without fail rain or shine and it is something that we all prep for and it’s about making this call as productive as possible, and making sure that the team actually sticks true to the agenda because a lot of times it’s hard to come up with a victory, it’s hard to talk about what you’re celebrating. But sometimes if we dig deeper, if we ask the team member to go a bit deeper into their mind, they will always find out something that makes them happy. And I think that’s really the beauty of this call. It’s about finding those little joys in life. Everybody has big ones to share occasionally, but it’s the little ones, the time spent with family, the time spent with your spouse, the things that you’ve done with your kids, the things that you’ve accomplished personally, both work or personal, can make such a big impact in our lives and men sharing those a we are being more grateful and be we’re also letting the team know, and creating that connection, which is why rituals are so important. It’s about that connection.
Now, moving on to weekly rituals. The daily stand up is also then converted into a weekly standup so Sunday mornings, the start of the week here in Dubai is typically when we will also add one more piece to that agenda, which is what is the focus of the week. So we have on Sundays typically it will be four things that every team member will talk about. What’s the one thing that you’re happy about? Just celebrating, what’s the one thing that you’re going to accomplish through this day and through this week, so it helps set focus and also purpose to the week. And finally, what’s the one thing that is causing impediments. The other weekly ritual that we love over at Cloudscape is Tuesday Coffees, Tuesday Coffees are basically an hour spent with team members as a team talking about everything under the sun but we’re, this is the time when we grab a tease, we grab our coffee, we get together on a zoom call, and we make sure we chat about everything play games, have a great time, do icebreaker exercises, but really just have a very casual chat about what’s happening in our lives. It could be a meet the pets day showcase, show and tell. We’ve had such amazing memories created from TJ coffees and it has become such a big part of our culture at Cloudscape. In fact, it’s the one call that everybody looks forward to.
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The other bi weekly ritual is game night. Every two Thursdays, the team will get together at five o’clock and spend an hour and a half playing online games with each other. They include Uno, Gudo, escape room games, we’ve found some really cool stuff online and we have fun as a team. We’ve also played Monopoly online. It’s just a brilliant way to blow off some steam, and everybody gets together and really talk trash to each other and it’s all about being competitive. Again, the only rule is not talking about work stuff. Everything else is game, but work stuff is not allowed on game nights. The next section of rituals is the monthly rituals, these rituals that we do on a monthly basis and there’s a few in here that I would love to talk more about. The first one and the most important one is the monthly operations meeting, or the ops meeting, as it’s lovingly called in our team. It’s really a meeting that happens once a month and we spend about 90 minutes, and we go through the business as a team and we talk about all of the different metrics that we are tracking in all of our various teams and then we share that together with each other transparently, making sure that everyone’s aware of what’s happening across the organization, what are the numbers that we’re following, and how we’re doing as a business. I think this is so powerful. If the team feels bought into the discussion, they appreciate it more, and they understand why and how their efforts are making such a big difference. The other key thing that we also do in the monthly ops meeting is we are sharing feedback, everyone gets a turn to tell us about what they’ve heard from clients. So we review as a team, we talk about suggestions. And we also give feedback to each other. And we do this in the form of appreciations and kudos. Appreciations are a big thank you that go out to team members that have helped someone do something and kudos is our massive pat on the back for something that a team member has done over and beyond their work duty.
These are things that exemplify Cloudscapes values. And these are then logged in our HR management system and the person with the most kudos is at the end of the year gets a special prize as a thank you for being such an amazing team member. The other thing that we do on a monthly basis is a knowledge sharing call. The idea with the knowledge sharing call is for everybody to be able to share what they know. And these calls can go anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes and it’s typically a presentation by a team member or a guest on a topic that is they feel is very important to share. We’ve had some amazing presentations, from personal finance to YouTube channel personalities talking about how to create YouTube channels. We’ve had team members talk about Reiki, we’ve had team members talk about acupuncture, and acupressure. And we’ve had such an amazing time learning so many other things that we all are so good at, personally. Again, it’s all about making the team stronger and learning from each other and the bonus is really everyone gets to sharpen their presentation skills. The one thing that I must say, that is really key to make this a successful ritual is a feedback round at the end of the presentation, everybody gets an opportunity to give the presenter some feedback.
Good feedback really is all about what went well, what wasn’t that good and what the presenter could do better for next time. This adds so much value into the knowledge sharing call. Oftentimes, it’s the part the presenter really gets to take away a lot from and those are the two things that we do on a monthly basis. Now there are some one off rituals that we do for the first and the most fun one is the welcome lunch. Typically, when a new team member joins us, we will head out for lunch, grab some food, grab some drinks, have a really good time, and get the team to know each other and get the new team member feel welcome into the team. The other one of ritual that we will do is an after action review. So typically, after a big project, or after a big call, we will get the team together and do an after action review and an after action review really is a very simple discussion about what happened on that call or presentation or project, what went well, what could be improved on and then so we can take feedback from each other and make that process even better. Another similar ritual that we follow is something called the feedback session with clients after a big project Rohini from our customer success team will reach out to a client and find out how we did on that project and we get to review ourselves as a company and then we share that feedback internally. Again, really powerful, not necessarily a team ritual but I wanted to mention that here that it’s always good, also look for feedback outside of the team.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed learning about rituals. I wanted to also take a few minutes and tell you the other side of rituals. A lot of times what ends up happening is we as teams start doing too many meetings and that’s a feedback that I’ve heard from my team frequently that we are meeting quite often. And we’re trying a few new things that I’d love to share on this podcast episode with you. One is that we’ve created a new rule that all team meetings should be less than 45 minutes. So anything that’s more than 45 minutes needs to be broken into a second meeting or a third meeting and this gives the meeting to be super productive and super tight. To support this initiative. What we’ve also launched is something called Hugo Hugo H U G O, is an online team meeting agenda planning system that allows you to create really sharp, concise agendas and very clear meeting notes. It’s a beautiful tool. It’s free to get started with, we started playing with Hugo just a few weeks ago and it already is such a big part of our team meeting sessions. The other thing about Hugo and making meetings stay within 45 minutes is having very sharp purposes and agenda so we also have a sub rule that says no meeting will happen without a clear agenda and purpose and this again, makes it so much more easier for team members to get prepared and understand the context of the meeting, before getting on the meeting and it’s all done in an attempt to keep meetings under 45 minutes.
The other thing that we’re trying is something called asynchronous communication, which basically means using video and voice, to share ideas and have meetings, but outside the context of a meeting, so being able to use video messages and voice messages to send messages to each other, using slack that someone can then respond to at a later time without feeling the pressure of being in a room or being on a zoom call, and making decisions right there and then this is something that is so new to us at Cloudscape. We’re continuing to evolve and learn from this. And there are some amazing resources again on asynchronous communications that you can check out. It’s something that very new to us, and we’re loving the idea and we’re getting better. So I hope that you will give that a shot. Thank you so much for giving this episode a listen, I hope that you’ve enjoyed learning and listening to me talk about our rituals over at Cloudscape and hope that you will be able to use some of them in your teams and remember, head on over to cosmiccentaurs.com/ritual-bank to get access to a whole load of other rituals that you too can try in your team.
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