Based on Jurgen Appelo’s management 3.0 exercises IDENTITY SYMBOLS and celebrating success and failure with this post I describe how we apply it in our department.

Have fun while reading and building your own new picture of your environment.

It started with…

our department Kick-Off last year. We reorganized our team structure and created a department consisting of four teams. We included a session to create our identity symbols during the kick-off.

Every team had to draft a picture symbol for the team and for the whole department. We just provided different pens and paper and kept it self organized.

It was great to see how engaged team members discussed what elements would fit for describing the team. Hidden creativity got uncovered and every team came up with team symbols and a suggestion for our department symbol.

Every group tried to pitch their suggestion and all department selected their favorite version (via dot voting).

… and got distributed and used this way

All team symbols as a banner on top of our Scrum of Scrum board

Each symbol was recreated in a digital format (thx again to our specialists) and printed professionally – as A3 prints and small postcard prints. This way we had versions, that we added to our Scrum of Scrum board and at every team wall.

In addition symbols get used in presentations of teams and their results in our public reviews.

Best of all – teams use it on their own without instrumentation and instructions. Could be a sign of real identification!? 😉

And what about that bell?

If we can walk away from a failure and say, “I learnt from this experiment”. Then it was worth failing.

According to Jurgen’s suggestion, we use it for celebrations of “things/events”.

Whenever something happens that creates a learning opportunity – e.g. an important release, an incident – or is something to celebrate too – e.g. birthdays, bigger changes or achievements – someone rings that bell.

Immediately everyone joins the board and news are spread.

Often (not yet always 😉 – it’s combined with some sweets and/or (for sure non alcoholic) drinks.

Interestingly departments outside our location notice our celebrations too (and news get spread even more).

Again an example of a tiny change with an important impact. News spread, we celebrate learning and add to identification (motivator: relatedness, status, goals, honor, acceptance) with what we do and where we work.

It’s about celebrating everyone’s (small or big) contribution and triumphs and making recognition an everyday topic that matters.

Celebrate FREQUENTLY, celebrate NOTICEABLY, celebrate REMARKABLY

Further readings

Great games for learning lean and connecting people


What about you? How do you celebrate learnings and foster identity? Thanks for your comment – I guess it will help everyone building an even better place to work at 🙂