Kudo Cards — A Management 3.0 Practice

It’s a way to encourage everyone to offer instant positive feedback.

Employee rewards and recognition programs are one method of motivating employees to change work habits and key behaviors to benefit a small business. In this article, I am going to share one of my experiences on how a Management 3.0 practice was used to trigger intrinsic motivation

Kudo Cards — A simple physical card to provide a token of appreciation. It’s a way to encourage everyone to offer instant positive feedback.

Rewards & Recognition event

In one of my assignments, I helped my leader in the Rewards & Recognition event.

The event was planned at the back of a team health survey rolled out for the service team that has been making the ship sail through in rough and smooth tides.

It was a distributed team supporting four locations. Out of 9 factors, two factors emerged as focus areas from the team health survey.

  • Rewards & Recognitions
  • Celebrations

The plan was to club the Celebrations and Rewards & Recognitions together. Luckily it was at the year-end, and it was face-face meeting time. So the events were planned in a boathouse at the backwaters of one of Kerala’s prominent areas. I enjoyed it a lot personally 🙂

We considered the below points for the rewards,

The rewards to be a surprise one — When awards given at unexpected times, the intrinsic motivation will be triggered.

Rewards to be public, not private — Everyone should know the why’s behind a reward.

Rewards to be aligned towards behaviors and not towards outcomes

We created a unique remembrance for all the team members with individual wordings about their efforts and hard work. It was handed over by the leader to everyone. Once all the souvenirs were handed over, with a short appreciation note, there was silence, and everyone felt it was not complete.

Since I was asked to Facilitate the entire face-face meet, I had the Kudos card printed with me. I placed all the cards on a table and explained to the group what Kudo cards are — invited everyone to provide on the spot written acknowledgment to their peers for their contribution. My initial thought was to use it during the workshop, not in this event.

To break the silence, I started by providing a Kudo card to one of the team members for constructive feedback that he offered me once. Then everyone joined and started writing for their peers and was reading it aloud.

It was very engaging and was exciting to see people acknowledging for even the smallest of works. A lot of people felt that the event wouldn’t have been complete without Kudo cards.

Interestingly and to my surprise, I received a well-done Kudo for thinking through the event.

One of the peers said, “This event satisfied a basic desire in him, and it is a motivation to him.” The statement I felt is the outcome of intrinsic motivation.

Throughout the three day face-face meet, the Kudo cards were kept in a table. People wrote to their colleagues and readout whenever they reminded of any acknowledgment.

People took few cards with them to acknowledge their dependent team members whom they work regularly. Some carried it to recognize their extended team in their location.

One of the peers wrote a thank you note to the facilities person, and everyone signed at the back of the card and gave a shout out for taking care of logistics for the three-day event.

Kudo Retrospective

Adding on, I used the Kudo concept in a distributed team. In one of the retrospectives of my team, to break the monotony, I introduced the Kudo concept. Using the collaborative tool “Polleverywhere.com.”, I added different Kudo as prompts (Thank you, Well Done, etc.) and enabled the team to provide Kudo to their peers.

People started pouring in Kudo to their peers as well as to their leader. A lot of exciting insights came out of the retrospective. One such was Kudo for teamwork. Being in a distributed location and taking care of several locations activities, the opportunity to work as a group, or even to pair up had constraints. On noticing the benefit out of the teamwork called out, the team created an action item to make it more sustainable. It was a first of its kind for the team, and a lot of positive vibes emerged.

I could relate above to the management 3.0 principles, that the activity enabled to improve the system through engaged interaction. In turn, it brought some delight.

Above is my experience with Kudo cards with one of the groups. To know more, join one of our Management 3.0 foundation workshops.

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