A well renowned study by Google discovered the 5 keys to a successful team. Number one is Psychological safety. Today, I would like to share with you a very simple Management 3.0 practice that has been dramatically impactful for the teams I have worked with.
First, let’s explain the Practice
Some companies call them HERO awards, others Rippas or Hugs, we call them Kudos. It is a written and public recognition of a colleague for something she has contributed to the team.
The word kudo comes from the Greek “kydos” meaning “glory” or “fame”.
Why did I decide to use this practice
As we have seen from the google study on building a high performing team, psychological safety, dependability and structure and clarity are key. For team members to take risk and be vulnerable in front of each other is the very definition of psychological safety. Moreover, giving and receiving recognition from team members reaffirms that initiatives matters and have impact. Finally, this practice reinforces the sense of dependability that team members need from each other.
How did I use this practice
I used this practice when working with teams in various contexts.
I decided to first use this practice working with a team having major conflicts. At the beginning of a retrospective, I explained what kudo cards are and invited the team to write post-it notes where they would show recognition and value the work of others. Twenty minutes later, team members started to deliver the cards publicly to each other. It was a very special moment remembering how each member of this team contributed to the success of the project reinforcing how everyone is important in this journey.
• At the beginning of every retrospective, I suggest this practice to the team members. I invite hierarchical managers to these retrospectives in order to to break down hierarchical limitations and to encourage everyone to offer instant positive feedback.
• Each team member show recognition publicly to his team members.
• I create form my teams a Kudos channel on Slack or Teams where they can show recognition for each other on a daily basis.
My learnings as facilitator
Recognizing everyone work makes everyone feel great. I have seen happening breakthroughs through the change of mindset that kudos can bring to the team. Team members understood that if they would like to be recognized they have to go the extra mile not for themselves but for the team. With this mindset, a team member took in charge the task of reducing the time for the application the team was developing. Another one worked on configuring Jira with gitlab to make it easier for the team to follow their tickets. Furthermore, the product owner team took the responsibility of creating a centralized documentation that made asynchronous work happier and easier for everybody.
Therefore, Kudo cards practice gives agile leader and modern managers not only a powerful way to shift the focus from individual performance to team effort but also help them build psychological safety and dependability.
As Jurgen Appelo said, “Teamwork can only emerge as an outcome of people’s individual contributions to that team.” Kudos recognize the individual accomplishments that combine to make a successful team.
For more information on the Kudo practice, please visit:
Kudo Box & Kudo Cards Nurture Intrinsic Motivation – Management 3.0 Practice (management30.com)
Please reach out to me to share your own experience 😉
Thank you very much for reading.