Snow Days and Other Traditions

The United States was hit with a major snow and ice storm a couple of weeks ago. While my newsfeed filled up with stories about the weather and its aftermath, my social media populated with images of kids sledding and drinking hot chocolate. In the midst of all of it, I became a bit nostalgic and thought back to my childhood.

I grew up at 13917 S. State Street in Chicago, in a neighborhood called Riverdale. We were no strangers to cold weather and snowstorms. We were also familiar with a phrase that kids waited with bated breath to hear on the radio or see across the bottom of the television screen.

Snow Day.

My wife, Jamie, and I are professors at Vanderbilt University. Like most learning institutions, COVID-19 forced Vanderbilt to deliver classes online. Jamie and I were talking this week about how the shift to online learning as a more viable option might eventually eliminate the concept of a Snow Day. When future students hear of a pending snowstorm, they will likely learn that their school’s administration merely flipped the switch to go online, allowing for learning to continue as everyone hunkers down to wait out the storm. That’s a great thing, but it might also indicate that the Snow Day tradition is destined for the history books.

In a way, COVID-19 offers us the opportunity to hit the “tradition” reset button. It can serve as a great opportunity for you and your team to assess current practices, become more inclusive, and redefine what you value. After all, some traditions allow us to create a greater sense of connection and purpose, while others hold us back as they represent the “that’s the way we have always done it” mindset.

We’ve created a tool and video to help you to assess your team’s traditions. They give you the chance to consider if the tradition aligns with your organization’s values and supports your goals, or if some traditions may be unexpectedly holding you and others back from doing something better together. Click here to get the tool and watch the video.

Make it a great day!