with greg layton

The Inner Chief is for leaders, professionals and small business owners who want to accelerate their career and growth. Our guest chiefs and gurus share powerful stories and strategies so you can have more purpose, influence and impact in your career.

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In this episode we explore the incredible power of ritual and tradition in building your tribe. I share 3 magic traditions that will boost any team spirit and the role of the chief in leading them.

Traditions and rituals in a business sense are the stories, language, gatherings, symbols that give a team deeper meaning and a sense of belonging

They reinforce what you stand for, what you believe in, what you have in common and that you share something.

Tradition comes from an inner space that is seeking meaning, deep human connection and understanding. All of us long for traditions, they nourish our spirits and when at their best, they ennoble us and those around us.

When work feels soulless, like it is crushing your spirit and the people aren’t committed to the team or their work. When they won’t go the extra mile for each other, they bicker and fight and good people are leaving and average people are staying. Then, there is a good chance, you haven’t got the right rituals and traditions that build a tight team spirit.

In a classic sense think anthems before a big sporting fixture, the All Blacks haka and traditional Australian response of uniting arm and arm and accepting the challenge, think huddles, catchphrases, stories and annual trips, awards and celebrations.

These all have an inordinate effect on the culture and spirit of a group whatever the size.

Team spirit flourishes with positive rituals and traditions and is toxic when they’re lacking or negative. In the words of The Inner Chief’s spiritual mentor, Damien Price:

“They express beyond words, our common bonds, our core values, our reason for wanting to belong and our shared purpose. So often the best traditions are small and simple but speak straight to the heart of the matter.”


Traditions must bring out the best in people, must celebrate what is great about you, be linked to your values and the spirit you’re trying to create.

    The way you start meetings is symbolic that you dive right into things. And here a few options for your weekly or monthly meetings:
    – Somebody share a quote or something inspirational
    – Somebody to a 15 minute presentation of what they learned from a book
    – Everybody shares the best moment of their weekend
    One of the most common reasons why teams battle to connect is the shallowness of their relationship. They simply don’t know each other deeply. High performance teams break bread. Go deep. A couple of ways you can start doing this is by getting people to share One thing no one knows about you? or the most embarrassing moment in my life was?
    Another way to do this is that once a month someone has to introduce another member of the business like their a guest on The Tonight Show. They introduce them then ask a few questions like David Letterman would do. Then they swap.
    Look at your internal awards and see if you can create two awards. One that is given to the person that goes above and beyond the demonstrate the values. And another that is a fun award that is for the biggest stuff up or funniest moment of the month. Have a trophy made, name the award something that resonates with your team's internal language. If you do this every month it gains momentum and opens the door to loads of good storytelling in the team.


A chief leads the traditions. Protects them, nurtures them, grows their significance over time. They ensure that the traditions and rituals keep deepening the bonds and induct newcomers into the group in a way that brings out the best of everyone involved.

When someone dishonours a ritual or tradition they remind them of the importance and this might be done with humour or through a quiet word.

Remember, you can’t impose your own traditions. The leader, through credibility and authenticity, will lead the group creating and organically growing traditions. And if it ‘feels right’ not only will the group want to be there but over time as ownership deepens it becomes a deeply engrained way of connecting.

Stay epic