Boosting Teamwork With Gratitude
How can we show appreciation for what our colleagues do?
At Thinking With You we have 100 ‘Thinkitos’ each week to give to colleagues. We do this via a Slack channel. You write to whoever you wish to receive your ‘Thinkitos’. You state the number you are giving, and the reason. This information is public across the company. The channel keeps a count.
What’s the intention?
On the one hand, we want the receiver to feel valued. Each learns how they made an impact, and why others feel gratitude. ‘Thinkitos are public.
On the other hand, the giver reflects on what they value most in colleagues. You have 100 ‘Thinkitos’ and you need to manage them. If, by Sunday, you haven’t given them out, you lose them.
Adding ‘Thinkitos’ to our ‘dailies’ (daily synchronizations) and other tools we use boosts communication and shows how we value team members’ contributions—even if we haven’t interacted with them much. On the other hand, they experience our gratitude, and all the other benefits of being thanked.
And how did we live the ‘Thinkitos’ so far?
We’ve had them for two years, and they’ve only brought good things. We always say that feedback and conversation are crucial tools, and we use ‘Thinkitos’ in this way.
Every three months we get together for a retrospective, and to prepare for what’s coming. We always reflect on ‘Thinkitos’ and their distribution. Collectively, it means we give feedback to each other. This deepens emotional connections, and the distribution sheds light on our ‘relational map'—which prompts us to get closer to those farther away.
Some say our ‘Thinkitos’ resemble ‘Merit Money’ or ‘Kudos’. Although these are gratitude-based, ‘Thinkitos’ are more than thanking. Why? Because they give insights to the receiver that help them keep growing. They go beyond meritocracy and reward. They are not a positive discrimination tool. Our intention is not to receive merits, but to give them.
Our intention is not to receive merits, but to give them.
‘Thinkitos’ are a tool we use that helps us improve. As we always say: ‘It’s not better or worse than other tools, it is simply different—like us’.
Diego Rojas is co-founder of Thinking With You, a Spanish change management company. Diego works as an organizational consultant, paying special attention to personal growth and the development of teams. Find Diego on LinkedIn.
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In early 2018 I took on a new challenge. After two years in the popular management world I decided to take a leap into academic life. I started a part-time PhD program in Business at the VU University Amsterdam. Since then I have researched how large organizations (with thousands of employees) can scale and organize without the need for middle management. It’s time to share what we’ve learned.