Salo LLC, a financial and human-resources staffing company in Minneapolis, incorporates rituals throughout its work cycle. When customer requests come in, they are posted on a wall-size whiteboard, and can only be recorded, altered or erased by the salesperson who landed the client. "That's their graffiti, their mark. You wouldn't alter someone else's graffiti. It would be bad luck," says Salo Managing Director Gwen Martin....
[snip] Salo employees prod transactions along with another ritual: "When we are about to lock a deal down, it's bad luck to high-five each other, because you might jinx it," Ms. Martin says. "So you do a 'pinkie-five' instead," tapping pinkie fingers.
Once a deal is done, the salesperson rings a big brass gong on a bank of files in the center of the office. "People get up and cheer and clap," says Kelly Weight, a business development director. Other teams in the company have their own celebration rituals, such as chest bumps or victory dances.At a previous employer, I always liked it when the marketing guy would walk up to our whiteboard and write down an order from a customer -- by the end of campaign, it became a rather fun thing for him to walk up to the whiteboard, pick up the red pen and announce (via writing) another large order. I kept telling him that we needed a bell next to the whiteboard, but him picking up the pen was just as good, really.
Academic groups have their interesting rituals. I've heard of bottles of champagne for every synthesized natural product or (via a member of the Doyle group) a coffee mug per publication. I've even heard of a week off (or was it two weeks) per publication? (Boy, that would be a good motivator.)
I think the ritual that I could do without would be the 'project beard':
...To speed up work on a stalled music-website project, Tony Kimberly and Matt Bernier, co-founders of a Kansas City, Kan., Web-development company called Spotted Koi, cooked up a ritual—vowing not to shave or cut their hair until they finished. In the next 2½ months, Mr. Bernier, who usually wears his hair cut short, says "I looked like I had lived on the streets for a couple of years."
He adds, "Friends said, 'Seriously, are you ever going to shave?'
Mr. Kimberly says his project beard was "tremendously itchy" with a "strange-looking" combination of brown and red hair. A few weeks into the ritual, his girlfriend asked, "So, when is this over?" The social pressure and his dislike for his beard "gave us motivation," he says. They finished the project and later repeated the ritual on another new product.Uhhh, no thanks.