Cultivating a Company Gratitude Ritual

Tracy Lawrence

Every Friday at 4pm, Chewse has a standing ritual: Attitudes of Gratitudes. We end our week by standing in a circle and vocalizing gratitude to one other person in the company. Our team has lovingly abbreviated it to “Atts of Grats,” and it’s hard to imagine what our culture would be without it.

It was born from the desire to end the week with a recap that wasn’t business-related. I wanted to give people space to reflect and to offer that reflection up to the team if they were open to it.

And while we worried that this kind of display could be hokey or insincere, it’s blossomed into something beautiful and core to the way Chewse functions as a culture.

How Chewse Does It

  • It all starts with leadership. As CEO, I kick off every Atts of Grats with my own gratitude. When I cry or express a raw emotion, it gives others permission to do so.
  • Keep it standing. We stand in a circle, which signals that all gratitude should be short and simple — like authentic thanks often is. We also try to limit it to one person at a time (though, of course, people can express gratitude to as many people as they want outside of the ritual!).
  • Link it back to your values. Let your values shine through stories.
    For instance, Integrity — the ability to give real feedback — is one of our values. We often hear people give gratitude that sounds like, “My thanks goes to you, Will. We had an important conversation about how we work together, and it meant so much that you opened up and gave me real yet difficult feedback. You showed a real commitment to Integrity, and I seriously admire you for it.”
  • Keep it real. Inauthentic praise is easy to spot. Offer heartfelt gratitude that ignores office politics and instead comes straight from the heart. If you can’t do that at work, this ritual may not make sense for you. If you can, this ritual serves to augment and cultivate that authenticity.

The Results are Powerful

  • People are truly thoughtful and reflective about all the things they’re grateful for — and it makes everyone a little happier. A little less entitled. We feel a little less in an insulated tech bubble and take a global approach in thinking about our lives.
  • Gratitude unites us into one team. It’s common for an engineer to give gratitude to the Sales team, or for a salesperson to offer thanks to the Account Management team. It’s in these special moments that individuals remember that they are part of a collective.
  • People unmask themselves. They display great acts of vulnerability — the kind of vulnerability that makes it easier to ask for help from someone you don’t know well or from your manager. When someone has a loss in their family and display their gratitude to the team for all the acts of supports, when someone thanks their peer for teaching them how to write a sensitive external email…it isn’t seen as weakness — it’s regarded as strength.
  • Our values are reignited through storytelling. It’s one thing for your values to hang on a wall, as words without context. Atts of Grats breathes life into every value by showing how humans live them out every single day.

Tracy Lawrence

Written by

Let your stomach lead the way. CEO & Co-Founder of Chewse, #500strong, proud Trojan. http://t.co/hhQqMEDVr7

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