The importance of ceremonies

Last night I attended the inaugural Fellows Dinner for Chartered Accountants Australia + New Zealand, (CA) in WA. It reminded me of the importance of ceremony and times where old friends can catch up. Many of the people I met there I had not met before: Stalwarts in the profession who were renowned for their skill and contribution to the profession and the economy of Australia. Many were people I had not seen for 20 years, and some I had seen only a month ago. The evening was delightful.

It was different to the member only events I attend (and I am a member of several professional organisations) as there was a feeling of comfort like a well worn shoe. We had all achieved a level of professional standing (Fellow) and so there was no need to explain ourselves or be forced to hear others self promote. It was Fellowship to the core.

Ceremonies are important as they recognise people and say thank you. We were in a group of 120, but numbers don’t matter. It was the way the ceremony was conducted. No pomp but plenty of ceremony.

We weren’t heralded. There was no need. We knew our worth. CA had let us know in times past. Reinforced in this lovely ceremony.

The ceremony was used, through humour and recognition of our newest member, to instruct how our select group is to strengthen its gene pool. A culture was laid out: be open to newcomers, seek those worthy of joining – all races, creeds and gender – and set the selection criteria high. The presenters confirmed this culture and demanded that we at the top work to sustain it. Demanding this standard from us means that the standards of all in the profession will gain.

The top sets the flavour for those coming up.

So in your firm, what ceremonies do you perform to create these comfortable groups to which all aspire? How are you recognising people? How to do you celebrate the best? How do you bring their skills and abilities forward to set the standards for everyone else?

It’s all about culture. And what is the culture you will promote: Competition or being the best? There is a difference. They should work together but getting it right is a fine balancing act. Tip too far to “competition” and cliques can form which can be cancerous to the firm. It’s not hard to set the standard, but it’s hard to sustain it.

That is my challenge for you today, create and sustain a culture that improves the gene pool in your organisation.

Are you up to it?

Let me know how you go.


Jennifer is a strategy implementation coach who helps leaders turn their strategies into results.

She assists executives and business owners to achieve goals such as improved profit, productivity, leadership skills, business value. Her services are Business and Executive Coaching, Group Facilitation, Strategic Planning, and advising on Board Governance.

 To find out how she can help you, call +61 439 520 182 or email.