Discover how to energize and motivate your teams

Kudo Box

If you have observed that people on your team leave tasks incomplete, do not participate in activities outside of work, avoid changes, have conflicts with colleagues or complain about their work, then you may have unmotivated people.


Today I want to share one of my experiments and the results obtained by applying the practice of Kudo Cards and Kudo Box”. It is a simple Management 3.0 practice that generates great results. It energizes people, boosts motivation, increases performance as well as the team’s commitment.

Demotivation within work teams is a major issue. People that do not enjoy their work, show poor levels of willingness to work and can lead others to be demotivated too. Having many happy people in your company could result in more productive and better work teams.

It consists of giving thanks, recognizing the contribution, the work, the help you received from another colleague, in writing and making it public. To do this, you have to write a card called “Kudo” card, highlighting your reasons to appreciate someone’s collaborations, and deposit it in a box, for a later opening.

You can give this recognition to any person in the organization without any hierarchical or departmental boundaries. I do recommend to repeat this practice frequently, even to give small recognitions daily.

A few years ago I started applying Kudos in work teams that are still using it. Although the team members have changed, the habit is still being used and included in the daily dynamic. It is so interesting, that the teams close to the Kudos are attracted to understand what the dynamic is and because of its simplicity and the benefits it provides, the rest of the teams are immersed in this initiative to use Kudos.

Having explained how Kudos works, let’s describe how I have applied this practice in Scrum and Kanban teams: 

  1. Select the Place: select a location near your teams’ workplaces, place a lot of printed cards (it will be the “Kudo Cards”) and a box to deposit the cards (it will be the Kudo Box). I recommend you to always keep the Kudo Box and the Kudo Cards in the same place.
  2. Explain its Value: Remember frequently the importance of writing Kudos, of thanking in writing the people who helped you, or who have done something positive for you, for the team or the project. 
  3. Invite others to write Kudos: When the end of the sprint is near, you can send an email to remember the opening of the Kudo Box, this way the people of your team will be aware of writing them. Invite them to try and see the great results that this dynamic generates. Once the teams have the habit of writing them, they will remind one another.
  4. Open the Kudo Box: At the end of each sprint, one person from the team opens the Kudo Box and hands out the Kudo Cards. You can set the frequency of the opening depending on the situation of your team.
  5. Visualize the Kudos: As a good practice I recommend you to put your Kudos visible and enjoy them daily. It is always gratifying to read them and keep in mind the acknowledgments you have received.

I have also applied this practice in retrospectives, in Inceptions and in general you can apply it at any time you consider appropriate. It is always a good time to spend a few minutes and thank all the people who have contributed to your day a day. You can adapt the form of its application depending on your organizational context.

And in these days where we must #stayathome, you can send Kudos Online through the website http://www.kudobox.co/

For me, I find it very gratifying to see how people in my teams are motivated when they receive a Kudo Card. In my experience, people participate frequently and even the person most resistant to these initiatives gets involved. It has always generated good results for me, and it is a practice that is easily adopted by the teams. If you ask me today what I would do differently in applying this practice, I would say apply it from day one. It will work for you.

Being recognized and having someone value your contribution, allows you to have a united, sustainable and cohesive team, increases engagement, decreases turnover, improves productivity and whose investment cost is very low.

I invite you to experiment with this practice and check the results. Remember, giving a smile is free.

Kudo Wall

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