Kudo Cards to appreciate the strength of your colleagues in finance innovation areas


Finance innovation areas require a high level of motivation and focus on their strengthens and the strengthens of their employees. I use already some years of Kudo cards in my daily practice to show my appreciation to my colleagues in agile software teams. This helps me as a facilitator to foster motivation and a good way of collaboration

The practice: Short explained

Kudo cards have written, short appreciate statements with the job and personal related content like “Great Job!” or “Many Thanks”. It does not matter if a leader in the organization wanna show appreciation to its employees or the employees to each other or direct to the manager. The (printed) cards can be derived to every person in an office and if the person feels that it is the right time to show appreciation in a visual way, then the person can place the Kudo card on the desk of the person who should be appreciated.

A Kudo card shows one appreciation as shown on figure 1.

Figure 1: Kudo Cards

They can also be personalized like writing the reason why somebody gives this appreciation as well as the name of the recipient and the sender.

Why did I decide to use this practice?

My colleagues in the financial software development teams were often very focused on their work and did interact very functional and sometimes in a bad mood with each other. This decreased their productivity and the office was sometimes full of “hot air”. To train and foster their positive mood, I wanted to introduce a way to show their appreciation to each other and that they are able to learn what the others really like and recognize as strengthen.

How did I use this practice?

In the second Sprint Retrospective as their new Scrum Master, I explained the concept of Kudo cards and the reason why I feel that they will help us as a team to foster collaboration. I derived to every team member a printed set of Kudo cards as well as a digital version. Like this, the team members were able to put a Kudo card on the colleague's desk if they wanna show appreciation OR send an MS Teams chat message with the right card to each other. Another way how I used Kudo cards was as a warm-up/check-in format during my fourth Sprint Retrospective in this team. In the beginning, the people placed a digital Kudo card (selected by themself) to the person's picture to whom they wanted to show their appreciation (1 Kudo card per person) in the first 5 minutes of the Sprint Retrospective.

My learnings as a facilitator

Kudo cards helped me as a facilitator to break the eyes in many of my teams and foster a team system of collaboration and appreciation. Till now, I would not change my way of usage because the feedback of my teams was very well. From my experience, it is reasonable to introduce Kudo cards already early in a team-building process so that the team members can learn from another which strengthens (s) the others recognize. This helps them to focus and show their maximum performance.

During our next retrospective, the team members were interacting very respectfully and openly with each other. It was obvious that the Kudo cards improved the team's energy level and there were giving feedback that also the psychological and emotional safety was improved.

The individuals in the team raised up the point, that they now know each other much better their own recognized strengths which were recognized from the others. This improved the trust level in our team fostered by the new transparency and clear way of showing appreciation for each other.

Next time, I will let somebody from my team do the facilitation and being a participant. Because this person got a Kudo card from one of his colleagues were was highlighted that he run a very good workshop in the last month. To strengthen this appreciation also from my side, I will offer him to facilitate the next Kudo card timeslot and prepare with him this timeslot together.

I plan to run a team weekend where I would like to use Kudo cards on both weekend days in the evening. For both days I plan some team-building activities in nature and I would like to give the opportunity to my team made to show appreciation at the end of both days to foster our team feeling and positive energy level for the upcoming business week.






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Christoph Dibbern

Christoph Dibbern

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