Syssitia: An ancient Spartan feast meant to fortify connections between soldiers. The Spartans gathered for feasts because they believed that warriors who go into battle together must eat together. These “peacetime” feasts create stronger bonds, and encourage warriors to learn from one another.
We certainly aren’t fighting a violent war at Chewse, but we do think we have something in common with those ancient Spartans. Like them, we know that food is a powerful cultural force that can build authentic connections through family-style meals. As a love company, we use the Spartan tradition to strengthen the relationships between our employees, aka Chewselings.
Syssitia was important to the Spartans because they never knew when “peacetime” was going to end. In a similar fashion, when Chewse was starting out, we gathered to celebrate often, because we never knew if the next day would be our last. Today, our monthly Chewse Syssitia is a chance for us to understand & enjoy one another outside of work. These are chances to explore shared interests, have fun, and connect with coworkers we might not get to interact with on a daily basis.
A Spartan concept, a modern company
At Chewse we aren’t risking life and limb in the name of national glory, but we do fight for the hearts of our clients. This nonviolent battle begins in our offices. There, we fiercely rally around the people who work here so that they can show up every day, ready to fight for our business partners. This passion is only possible because we take the time to nurture deeper ties with one another, through connections like Syssitia.
Our core values at Chewse are love and excellence. Love is more than sentiment; it is action. We believe that doing our best and empowering others to do the same is love. Excellence is inherent to love. We can show anyone love but it’s easier to do so when we know more about one another.
Once we understand what motivates individuals on our team, we can sincerely call and encourage each other to be excellent. Yet, as important as they are, these conversations don’t happen during the day-to-day grind. Instead, they happen when we take the time to connect with each other. They happen when we take the time to go to shows, museums, lectures, sporting events and networking gatherings as a team.
We hope the practices of the ancient Spartans have inspired you as they have inspired us. Try incorporating a regular Syssitia into your company culture and traditions, and see what you learn about each other!