Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Gruffalo Kudo - The Appreciation Challenge Cup

Main Takeaways
Reading Time: 3 minutes The Gruffalo is a metaphor for fear, dauntlessness, and the luck of the tiny ones when getting great by using their phantasy only. Use a soft toy as challenge cup to show your appreciation.

Show Your Appreciation with The Gruffalo

How often are we caught in daily business life by small, tiny problems? Then suddenly one, two, three, ten, thousands lurk around every corner and pile up, we get shocked, paralyzed. Suddenly we can't see the forest for the trees. We are unable to start because we don't know where. We are overwhelmed by problems.
The worst, we humans start to focus heavily on problems, weaknesses, and failures only in their environment. We lose the sight of the positives. And very often we talk only about negatives eventually.

In such situations, we are happy and thankful for a helping hand showing us the way out of those dilemmas. One easy opportunity to get back to a more positive view is to get valued and value others for their support. In a recent blog article, I wrote about Kudo cards aka Appreciation cards as instruments to show others my appreciation and to say "Thank You" for a trivia but which helped me a lot.

The Gruffalo

Armin Schubert, a friend of mine, agile coach as well, and CEO at Emendare created a very nice variant of this Kudo: the Gruffalo challenge cup.
The idea is that you have in your office a cuddly toy, e.g. The Gruffalo. Hand this puppet, as a  kind of challenge cup over to someone to whom you want to say thank you. Each recipient of the Gruffalo is asked to put it visible on her desk and to pass it to the next person doing her a favour.
I bet, having the Gruffalo sitting on your desk,  your colleagues will ask you very often and you have the opportunity to tell the story why you got it from whom and for what. This will happen to more and more people around you, and all of a sudden your whole team, or office is talking about positive and charming pleasantries. And everybody is in a much better mood.

The Story Of The Gruffalo

The Gruffalo is a figure from the correspondent children's book by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

The story is about a mouse, walking through a forest.  She encounters several dangerous animals which want to eat her and uses clever tricks to evade danger by telling each animal that she has plans to dine with her friend, a Gruffalo, a monster-like hybrid that is a half grizzly bear and half buffalo, whose favourite food happens to be the relevant animal.

After getting rid of the last animal, the mouse is terrified to encounter the real gruffalo – with all the frightening features the mouse thought that she was inventing. And, the gruffalo as well threatens to eat the mouse, But again the mouse tells the gruffalo that she, the mouse, is the scariest animal in the forest.

Laughing, the gruffalo agrees to follow the mouse as she demonstrates how feared she is. The two walk through the forest, rendezvousing in turn the animals that had earlier scared the mouse. Each is terrified by the sight of the pair and runs off – and each time the gruffalo becomes more impressed with the mouse's apparent toughness. Exploiting this, the mouse threatens to eat the gruffalo, which flees.

Why The Gruffalo Metaphor?

The story about the Gruffalo is widely interpreted as a didactic play on the meaning and experience of fear and dauntlessness, and the luck of the tiny ones when becoming great by using their phantasy only.

Of course, you can use every other soft toy you want: unicorns, elephants, monkeys. Find a creature which metaphorical or symbolic interpretation fits best your organisation or team. And, it should have also a funny look or weird shape that spark storytelling and communication immediately.

How Does The Gruffalo Works?

Achim explains in his blog post the team-internal mechanisms and reasons, how the Gruffalo works.

  1. The current "owners" of the Gruffalo become more sensible and watchful to daily trivia to say Thank You because they look for reasons to pass the Gruffalo to the next person.
  2. The new "owners" of the Gruffalo become mindful for drams which they maybe have accepted as a matter of course without valuing them.
  3. People not directly involved in the interaction become curious and ask for the reason of the weird creature sitting on the desk. They get told about the tiny good act.
  4. All of a sudden, more and more people talk about positive small aces – and they recognise them all over the place. What they had not done without the Gruffalo.

Here are more tools to show your appreciation.

Further Reading

Appreciation card template: Appreciation CardGive your colleagues, co-workers, and friends a smile — give them appreciation! Use this free, printable Plays-In-Business appreciation card template.

: Wikimedia, .