When the Bell Tolls

RitualsThere’s a bell in the pizzeria: i’m sat at the bar, right across the counter from the team making the dough and assembling the pizzas. When a customer leaves, they ring the bell and drop a tip in the jar. Not always: many don’t. Some rings are quiet: some loud and flamboyant. But when the bell tolls, the guys give up a big cheer.

I ask them where the ritual came from: nobody knows. A ritual linked to the place.

The community is transient: constantly changing, as these things do in small towns and students come and go. It’s not a sight unique to America. But the rituals, the ambience, somehow they stay.

This relationship between place, people and ritual is fascinating: the ritual is not owned by one individual, but rather perpetuated through tribal wisdom and knowledge. Fragile, yet permanent. Not a feature of design, but rather emergence. And how many teams celebrate so visibly when their performance reviews come in? I guess maybe the bell is particularly authentic as tribute: both financial and also culinary. There’s a real pride here: i can see it in the way the guy stretches and tosses the dough. Silently competing. There’s nothing half hearted here.

Rituals are important: bonding, cohesive, persistent. What rituals do you see at work, and how many are celebrated so loudly?


About julianstodd

A learning and development professional specialising in e-learning and learning technology.
This entry was posted in Reflection and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to When the Bell Tolls

  1. Pingback: This Week’s Links « Timothy Siburg

  2. Pingback: The Shadow of Ritual | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

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