The holiday season is here, that means it is time for the traditional dinner, turkey, mash potatoes with gravy, homemade apple pie, cool whip and of course some vanilla ice cream on top!

This is the start of traditions many of us will experience over the next several weeks. Christmas will arrive and my now adult children will have expectations of streaming lights across the roof of our house, hundreds of Santa figures the inside of the house, food, presents, and visits from friends and family. Yes, it is tradition, all these things will happen, as “Tradition Rules the Season.”

As protocol let’s remind ourselves of the definition of “tradition” 1) an inherited established or customary pattern of thought, action or behavior, 2) a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable.

What if I wanted to CHANGE our family’s customary patterns? What if I did not put up streaming lights or Santa’s throughout the house? What if?….. What would be the family’s reaction?

Outside of total outrage, they would be in complete denial this was happening. They would be extremely stubborn, resistant and anger and may even try to take matters in their own hands and attempt to decorate! They would refuse to accept this new holiday approach. They would feel a sense of loss and hurt. They would be very unhappy.

Change is not easy under any circumstance. Whether we experience it at home, or in the workplace. As well the degree or depth of a change does not reduce the fact that we as human beings have been programmed as a child that tradition, customary patterns, is also about honor. I have heard the phrase “we must honor our tradition.” A change would be considered a disgrace.

Is the difficulty people today have with change the fact that embedded in our brain we feel like we are actually breaking a tradition?

How can we accept change and at the same time make it feel honorable? Here are a few options….

  • Create a new personal tradition. Experts agree that when you experience a loss, replace the emotion with a new focus.
  • Create a team spirit focused on obtaining the new Recognition of achievement along the way will create in itself a tradition.
  • Don’t go cold turkey! Eliminate a portion of the tradition, one step at a time. Example, the lights trimming the house may not be put up, but the Santa’s inside the house are still part of the holiday tradition. Small steps when breaking tradition will allow people to be more accepting. It feels less invasion to their personal feelings.
  • And lastly, create a game. Tradition or not, people are competitive and with the right approach and end goal in mind, a little competition may perk up the most laid back individual. Today many call this gamification and has become popular within organizations as well as with customers.

Tradition shouts; “We have always done it this way” “If it is not broken, don’t mess with it” But breaking tradition takes some skill, techniques and at times bold action.

What tools and techniques do you bring to your team so breaking a tradition is honorable and acceptable?


the dip

VLT is focused on reducing frustration and disengagement of employees during a transition. Otherwise known as “The Dip”

Rather than being stuck in the dip of negativity with poor productivity and higher risks of safety incidents; VLT helps you shrink the dip!

Contact us to continue this discussion. Start you own tradition!

Happy Holidays!


Written by: Carey G MacConnell

Vice President and Co-Founder of Voyager Leadership Training LLC

Growing confident, competent leaders through simple proven techniques.

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