How to increase team energy with Kudo cards

I worked as an external agile coach with a multinational company. For more than six months, we developed a product that we truly believed in.

We use Scrum as the most suitable framework.

We had ups and downs, but the Team stayed strong during those days.

One of the difficult moments was when we failed the Sprint goal. That resulted in the delayed release of our new feature for a month. All team members were down. Constantly repeating my favorite sentence, “There is no failure, there is just learning,” didn’t help.

On that particular Sprint Retrospective, the Team’s mood was bad—or we can call it sad. The energy was low, and silence was our additional member. The standard retrospective questions, such as “What was good?” and “What needs improvement?” were ineffective.

At this moment, we needed a new idea. One tool from Management 3.0 could work. Let’s use Kudo cards! I grabbed cards from my office and shared them with the team members. I said:

“Hey, Team, let’s show the world who we are! We stayed together in the most challenging times, respecting and covering each other. Now, it is time to share gratitude. Take one card for every team member and write how grateful you are to them. Take as much time as you need. Be honest, we need this today!”

After that, I shared cards in silence. We said no additional words, just silence like a dark, blue ocean of thoughts.

Every team member was so focused, almost in some trans.

In the end, they just shared cards with each other and read them in silence.

What did I learn? Even in the most challenging moments, we can use some communication tools to create bonding and support a team in continuing their journey. Being grateful and respecting all team members is one of the best ways for a team to succeed.

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