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  • Tomás Romero Borzi

Generate powerful conversations by having transparency about your emotions

Actualizado: 21 de nov de 2020

How to grow and cultivate an empowered system, Vol II.


How to motivate your teams, and generate meaningful conversations by adopting transparency to talk about their emotions, feelings, and daily work with the Niko-Niko Calendar practice of Management 3.0?


For the last few years, understanding how other people are engaged, which are their motivations, goals, values are every day more important, and organizations require those skills for their leaders and managers.


Those spaces or conversations allow generating other kinds of relationships between the teams, their members, and how they are.


With our context changing so rapidly, and even more with the last months (thanks to the COVID situation) all the things we knew, were adapting themselves or trying it.


We suffer changes on higher and incredible scales, and those changes affect our work, our lifestyle, our studies, our way to do things.


What a better moment, to try to see how the others are, how are they managing his daily basis, how are these kinds of situations affecting each other?


Like other well and known practices (like Kanban, Improvement Kata, and others from Toyota Production System), Niko-Niko Calendar was created in Japan by Ms. Sachiko Kuroda at Fujitsu Software Technologies Limited, and here you have a link to read more about it: https://management30.com/practice/niko-niko-calendar/.


Ms. Sachiko proposes to have a board available to everyone where they can express or share through an emoji how they felt about certain things, like a mood-thermometer.


This board can be about how they felt regarding activity, you can extend the board and use it on a daily basis to check how everyone felt day after day.


The goal of this practice is to allow the team to express their emotions, and you as a leader to have some very-visual indicators to act when necessary, or generate dialogues if needed.


As on Vol I, you can do this on a very wide way, on a spreadsheet, a table on a presentation, on miro, mural, draw it yourself, and, as others practices, you can do this at your own pace, on your own house, with your family, with a group of friends, with whatever you want.


We are persons after all (or first than nothing), so understanding how you, and the others are, is a very important thing.


Again, transparency, as a tool allows you to validate the impact of choices, the decisions made, and how the others are.


These kinds of indicators and practices, allows you and others to show which situations encourage to continue doing, or not encourage at all, when to approach to talk someone, to share some space, to talk with someone else, also to identify if there is any relation with activities and how the people feel or affect them (on a positive or negative way).


As part of an IT and Software Development company, that has a presence in more than 15 countries around the world, emotions, feelings and how the people are, it's important thing.


I started using Kiko-Niko Calendar as an end of day checkout with a team which I have been working, and we have different projects and initiatives for the organization we worked (we are 6 people, from different areas of the company, like Recruiting, Talent Development / Career, Robotic / Business Analyst, Culture Hacking, and Technology).


After some minutes I presented this tool to them, one of the members told: “my psychologist recommends me to do an hour-check about my emotions and with that take an average status of my days” how awesome is that?


We have confidence with the others, which facilitates us to express ourselves about our days.


How do I use this practice?


What you are going to read is a proposal, not a ruleset, or steps to follow, those were the steps that I did with some teams, so you can adapt it on your own with whatever fits better.


  1. Since all of us were remote (thanks to COVID), I used a Miro board, with our faces, the days, and then each of us put one of 3 faces (red/angry, yellow/sad or so-so, and green/happy) to use in the grid we had.

  2. At the end of each (work) day, I asked them to place one of those faces in the corresponding column.

  3. The face they considered best represented his end of day emotions, mood, energy.

  4. Even on Day 1 / 2 when we started, powerful conversations appear around the mood of each other.

  1. Asking someone that has 1 or 2 yellow/red faces, if they are ok? If you can help or join them on something particular if they want to talk about something.


And as I mentioned, powerful conversations start to happen.

Professional career crossroads, burnout for so many work hours, calendar being exploded by meetings and no rest time, familiar or personal reasons, a lot of things can affect our mood, feelings, and emotions.


Not only me, but others also started to have meaningful conversations, being more empathetic with others, and knowing better, how work, life, career, family, friends could affect them.


Day by day, they continue adding how their days were, and with that, an space for a conversation appears where they (could, if they are interested) share their experiences, what happened, how they manage to be happy every day or share tips to improve their moods or to manage different emotions through the day.


The simplicity, power, and impact that Niko-Niko Calendar can have, is tremendous. How something as simple as putting a face/emotion to your day generates a lot of actions after that. I see other teams that add different emojis, another type of face, and also numbers or values to each face.


Not to assimilate a number to someone, but to potentially understand on a higher level what happened that week, day, or month, and how it could impact the team (for good or bad).


We had so many metrics, indicators, KPIs, and other things for performance, delivery, quality, why not have some numbers for the feelings and happiness for the ones who made that possible?


As Peter Drucker said, “you can't manage what you can't measure”. Kind of true, but we can’t manage people’s happiness, what can we do? Be there for them, ask them if they want to talk, give them space, give them the moment they need, and whatever is needed to make them feel better.


What we can do, one of those things is to start using Niko-Niko to have their emotional feedback in a fast, beautiful, colored way (and very effective in my experience).


The tool by itself will not do the entire work, we have to be there for them, as they need to be there for the others, but what the tool does, is to bring transparency to situations, actions, moments where we can talk and be there for others.


It would help you to identify the mood of others, how motivated they are, if they need any help, or if we can do something for them, improving the dynamics of interactions.


As a Facilitator I learned, that it helps me a lot to have powerful conversations and help others to improve their daily basis, their motivations, and their impact on their surroundings. In addition, express our emotions, and be true to ourselves it's an important and powerful thing we can do. It's OK to not be OK. Having a space of confidence, and space to talk if something happens it's vital for all of us (and now, more than ever).


My next experiment with this practice will be, as a Facilitator, to encourage them to use other emotions or feelings as well, to extend their options, and if they want a 1-phrase comment about the checkout.

Hope this can help you and others too.


You did not work on a team? Does not matter, do this for yourself, your happiness, and your motivation

You did not use agile? Does not matter, there is no need for any methodologies, framework, practice, this is for any people

You don’t know how to use miro, mural? Does not matter, you can use a spreadsheet and colored-cells, you can grab a piece of paper and edit on an image editor online, you can use a table on an online document, you can do a lot of things while they are shared with others.


I share with you the steps I applied, and the activities individually but are so powerful and potent individually, that can be empowered by mixing them with others, of course, by knowing what is the goal, objective or what you want to bring into a visible aspect by acting.


See you next time, on the next How to grow an empowered system volume.




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