Posts Conclusion - Rites of Passage

Conclusion - Rites of Passage

Butterfly and Pupa Photo by Miriam Fischer from Pexels


Planning rites of passage basically looks the same. The results are different, but that is because of contextual differences. When you look over all the previous posts in this series the similarities in questions are worth calling out.

Summary So Far

So much of what that happen in the operation of business comes with transition. Transition comes with uncertainty. People look for coping mechanisms when dealing with uncertainty. Here is where a mindful manager, coach, or even executive can capture opportunity to increase employee happiness.

Rites of Passage

Examining transitions and asking, “What are the sources of uncertainty?” allow us to define a map through that uncertainty and help with a better all-around experience. By now, I hope you see a commonality to all the posts in this series. We identify uncertainty, and approach it through 3 stages.

First Stage

In the first stage, as was said before we draw attention to the fact that things are new. We make explicit what was previously implicit. The goal here is to give people permission to acknowledge the newness of the situation. What is new, and how we acknowledge it will change from situation to situation, but the need to recognize it remains?

Sometimes we are giving people the right to grieve, other times it is the right to make mistakes. Sometimes both.

When approaching a new situation, one that was not mentioned before, ask yourself: “What makes this situation feel new?” Then focus on that. It may feel weird, after all most people are not used to addressing emotions in the Western workforce.

Second Stage

This is again about skill acquisition. But that is a nuanced term. Sometimes these skills are direct and outlined by the position the person is entering. But when someone leaves the company, what skills are being acquired? Here people must learn to act together with the new container that was formed. The social skills of navigating that container are the most important and hardest to learn.

One thing that is sometimes surprising is that the very container can change its role by the addition or removal of a person. If that is happening, then realize that a new rite of passage is needed to address how this container or group has changed within the company.

Last Stage

This stage feels the most nebulous. People have already accepted their difference, and acquired new skills, yet there is something left undone. Here we signal to all involved that the transitional process is over. This gives individuals explicit permission to move on. It is important to give that permission, as not doing so can leave people with a sense that things were incomplete or unsettled.

Tying it all together

So, this is my take on how rites of passage can help businesses. I know there is little here in the way of examples, templates, or formulas to follow. That is intentional. If I gave people these things, they would use them. In using a rite of passage developed in a different context, they would fail. I wish to save people that pain, but it means that I cannot give you a clear-cut answer.

However, if you approach a transition with compassion for those it affects you can craft something halfway decent. If you then take that halfway decent idea to those affected by it, they might be able to help you refine it.

I wish you good luck in your journey in exploring rites of passage. If you have success, I would love to hear about it.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.