Do you have a favourite footy team? Aussie rules or rugby league or other sports — do you wear their jersey or scarf to the matches? Do you sing their song? What about at a world level? Have you ever sung the national anthem before a Wallabies or Matildas match?

This month I have been thinking about loyalty. I recall my first overseas trips in the 1990s when I realised how interesting the rest of the world is, but how lucky we are to live in Australia. And then in 2000, I was filled with an enormous sense of national pride as we hosted the Olympics.

A year ago, we watched on the news Ukranians deciding to leave or to stay and fight for their country. As a pacifist, I wondered what I would do in the same circumstance.

And recently we had the King’s Coronation in the UK. I stood amongst the crowds, marvelling at the spectacle, chatting with the locals who’d travelled from far and wide to be there, dressed in all sorts of union jack regalia. Many just wanted to be there for a moment in history and to make it as fun as possible, but there was also a dedication to their country which intrigued me. I did wonder why someone would have the queen’s cypher tattooed on the back of his head!?!

People Need to Belong

From the footy teams to nationalistic pride and back to the companies we work for, people need to feel they belong, that they are part of something bigger than themselves. Uniforms, songs, flags, ceremonies and rituals are all ways that people unite. They are the tangibles that support the Mission, Vision and Values of an organisation.

Some companies I work with have monthly BBQs or breakfasts with their employees. Others have lunchtime frisbee matches or play table tennis. Many have staff awards, birthday cakes, or just morning meetings. In an assortment of ways, they are building company culture. They are creating rituals that develop the team or company identity. When put into words this has been described as “our way”.

Is there a sense of loyalty in your organisation? What rituals do you have in your company? How do you help your team feel they belong? What is “your way”?