Teams that reflect regularly and work to improve themselves have a variety of methods they can use to discuss and agree changes to how they work.
Sometimes a team gets so focused on the problems that have happened, and how to fix them — that they can lose sight of successes, and also fail to learn from good things they’ve achieved.
Where a team forgets to continue good behaviours, improvements can be cyclical, where the team falls back into a bad habit after making progress, and then has to reset again to get to where they have been.
Teams can also become overly negative, and retrospectives become unpalatable as individuals feel blamed or undervalued. This might lead to members of the team not engaging, or avoid retrospectives altogether.
The ‘Vince Lombardi’ Retro
One tactic of the famous NFL (American Football) coach Vince Lombardi, was to get his team to ignore negative aspects of their game and focus purely on what the team does well — and work to improve those areas.
This has the benefit of injecting positivity, and eliminating blame, as well as encouraging the team to make improvements that they will want to work on — as people are often drawn to working towards things they are good at.
A team retrospective with this theory in mind, could work to get a view of what went well and more importantly — why. The team leader will then get the team to agree on a few ways the team can continue the positives and work more on improvements.
This retro idea may not be suitable as a default option— as it’s useful to think about how to reduce negative aspects of a team some of the time. A team could use this idea when they are in a negative place.
If the team are not keeping up good behaviours consistently, or could do with an injection of positive thinking, then this retro might build up some of these behaviours, and improve morale.