Photo by Hanny Naibaho on Unsplash

How to start the cultural change based on gratitude

One of the principles of management 3.0 is managing the system instead of managing people. People need to be part of the system and responsible for the management too. The managers have to learn that management is a collaborative task, so they need to learn to delegate and generate a proper context for collaboration, self-management, and transparency. The creation of that context is linked to other principles of management 3.0 “To commit to people and their interactions”.

How can we commit to people?

First, we need to create a safe environment and then we need to see how people interact. The second point is very important to give support to foster those relations, and one thing that we can use to strengthen relations is gratitude.

Gratitude is one of the fundamental statements in ontological coaching. According to Rafael Etcheverría’s book (“La ontología del lenguaje”), the human being has six fundamentals statements:

Concerning gratitude, when we say “Thank you”, not just saying it for good behavior or good manners; instead we recognize the impact that the other person has in our lives.

According to one study from the school of business, Portland State University, expressing gratitude to a colleague could improve both lifes. The research exhibits a positive relationship between gratitude shown in the workplace, physical health, and mental health. According to professor David Cadiz “Employees that receive positive feedback are healthier, and that can impact the bottom line,”. It allows to prevent stress-related symptoms and reduces temporary replacements.

It looks like a simple idea, but how could we use a tool that allows achieving a continuous gratitude loop?. Maybe you are thinking, how can I form this loop if gratitude is just a word?. Don’t worry, the Management 3.0 comes to our rescue, with a lifesaver named the Kudos.

A Kudo is a public recognition to another person for something that someone has done for the team. The Kudo is not only a powerful tool, but it is also a contributing factor to empowerment and motivation. It allows a public recognition at any time independent of the hierarchy and independent of formal recognition programs in specific times.

There are two kinds of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic; extrinsic motivation is driven by external rewards (bonus, vouchers, stock options, etc), and intrinsic motivation is independent of external triggers (aspirations, professional goals, etc). If your work environment demands innovation you have to consider intrinsic motivation to allow emerging creativity and be more productive. Obviously, both types of motivation are necessary but it’s also necessary to balance which kind of motivation should predominate according to the work environment.

About the practice, there are different kinds of tools or templates that you can use, or maybe you can create your own Kudo Cards. You should present the practice to your team, and then, there are many ways to implement it. Some ways are:

If you want to elaborate on the practice and have more information, you can go to

I’m working in a transformational process in a financial company, and I’m getting involved in different teams that are going through their learning and including agility in their routine. Some weeks ago, I worked in a team that needed to enhance their capacity of communication and their integration. They applied Scrum as an Agile framework and their goal was to develop tools for their digital customers. The team was formed by three developers, two testers, one functional analyst, one architect, a scrum master, and the product owner.

They weren’t fluent in their communication and integration as a team. When I thought of a practice to propose to them, I wanted to provide something that allowed them to share the positive things that they have done. Kudos should enable us to rise to the challenge. So, I decided to make an appointment to explain it to the Scrum Master. I recommended not trying to improvise when you explain the practice, independently of the simplicity of the concept, you need to be effective with the message and teach the benefits of Kudos and Kudo Wall to get the expected results.

After teaching to the Scrum Master, we co-created a Kudo Wall in Trello and decided to explain the concept in a retrospective meeting. We decided to add a column that described how to create a Kudo using the tool to help the team. Additionally, we placed a column for the team and columns for each member, it allows everyone to show recognition to the team or a member.

Column for help

The Scrum Master designed the check-out of the retrospective with kudos, introduced the Kudo Wall, and the concept of Kudos, and also explained why she thought that was very important for the team at that moment. We didn’t expect people to write kudos after the Scrum Master introduced the Kudo Wall, but to our wonder, people began to write Kudos on the Kudo Wall at that moment. I believe they only needed to express themselves and to have room to reflect and thank each other.

Kudos to the team
Kudos by team member

As a facilitator, I learned that with the frequent use and exposure to this tool in different meetings where the team reflects on their capacity and their process, we can create a new mindset that allows us to generate small changes in the bonds and in the organizational culture, too. In our case, the team developed a habit that reinforced the continuous improvement loop based on gratitude. As a result, they began to give positive feedback on a regular basis and that influenced their motivation.

In future sessions, I think that maybe it is a good idea to make room for celebration and arrange dates for it. The energy after these sessions could increase a lot.

So, what are you waiting for to apply this wonderful tool? Think that’s very simple and the benefits are a lot and include cultural changes based on gratitude.



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Federico Martín Pascual

Engineer, agile practitioner, father, husband, brother, son, and friend. Enthusiastic about basketball.