Show Appreciation with the Kudo Wall

Kudo Wall

As mentioned in an earlier post, most creative thinkers are driven by intrinsic motivation. Some of these motivational factors are the approval from teammates or the relatedness with their team. One way to achieve this is by (positive) feedback from teammates.

A way to express this feedback can be either on a personal level or visible to others, i.e. in the form of a public space, such as the so-called Kudo Wall. When I first introduced the concept of a Kudo Wall, people ask me about the word “Kudo”. It is a word some might know from video games or sports.  According to Wikipedia, it comes from the Greek word κῦδος (kydos) and means acclaim or praise. Hence a Kudo Wall is placed where people are honoured for their efforts or achievements.

To avoid confusion, you can also use “Wall of Fame” or “Thank You Wall” or something similar. However, I like using the word Kudo, as it makes people curious and initiates a conversation.

You can use the Kudo wall to place notes with praise for teammates. These notes can be signed, or anonymous, they can be dedicated to the whole company, a team, or simply team members.

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Preparation

  • Hang a large Poster on an open space within your team space, preferably at or close to an area where people gather around, such as the kitchen or the coffee machine. I often use a flip chart or brown pin board paper. Write a heading, as mentioned above (“Kudo Wall”, “Wall of Fame”, “Thank You” etc.)
  • Prepare some flash cards or preprinted cards from Management 3.0 and a set of pens in a place them next to the wall.

Learnings

  • I usually place the Kudo Wall without further explanation and place at least one Kudo Note on the wall where I praise the team, the organisation or the organisational entity, so people will know what the wall is about. People then start to talk about this new thing in their workplace.
  • I officially introduce the wall a couple of days later in a routine meeting (or sprint review or retrospective).
  • The location is important. It should be a place many people pass by. It should be a place where a conversation can take place (without disturbing others).
  • I saw that a Kudo Wall especially emboldens people that have not been appreciated before or people that haven’t known that or how their work positively affects others. A positive note encourages the receiver to praise someone else. On the whole, it fosters a positive atmosphere in the workplace.
  • Make sure cards, and a pen is always present, so people can spontaneously write a note.

The Kudo Box as an Alternative

  • As an alternative, you can use the Kudo Box. The Kudo Box is a closed box with a slot for the notes (such as a mailbox). All acknowledgements are collected in this box during a period of time, e.g. a Sprint.
  • At the end of this period, the whole team gathers around the box. The box is opened, and the notes are read, and the people whom these notes are dedicated are celebrated.
  • I tried this only once and have mixed feelings about this concept. Firstly, people have to use the box. This takes a few attempts – hence lead by example. Secondly, not everyone might be praised, and people that are not might feel a bit sad or wronged. Hence, I prefer a Kudo Wall over a Kudo Box.

Further Readings

 

 

Original Images of the Kudo Cards are © Jurgen Appelo, Creative Commons 3.0 by http://www.management30.com/

Chris

Agile Practitioner, Trainer, Coach at vividbreeze consulting
Since the late 1990s Chris has been working in different projects for major national and international corporations, small businesses and start-ups, advising companies in areas from software architecture to project management. Chris has been part, led or coached project teams of different sizes. His field of expertise encompasses agile project management, business and requirements analysis as well as technical analysis, design and implementation.
Chris