Individual strengths retrospective — level up your team
By Rebecca Jones
5 July 2021
The Individual strengths retrospective is a great way to level up a team by reflecting on and reinforcing their individual strengths. Here’s how you run one.
When to use this retrospective
Use the Individual strengths retrospective when:
You want to inspire and energise the team by reminding them how they contribute to the team’s success.
What you need
For the Individual strengths retrospective you need:
- Post-it notes
At the end of the Individual strengths retro, each team member will have an individual goal. Everyone will know one way they can use their strengths to level up the team.
Write up a whiteboard like this:
How to run the Individual strengths retro
Pick the opener of your choice.
2. Individual’s biggest strength
Ask everyone to silently brainstorm what they think their own biggest strength is. What’s the top thing they bring to the team? Write this on a post-it. Don’t share it yet.
3. Everyone else’s biggest strengths
Ask everyone to silently brainstorm what they think everyone else’s biggest strengths are. Write these on post-its. Use a separate post-it for each team member. Don’t share these yet.
4. Share the strengths
Pick someone to start with. Ask the rest of the team to take turns to tell them what they think their biggest strength is. Post these beside their name on the board.
After the team has shared, the person then shares what they think their own strength is, and adds it to the board.
Repeat for each team member.
5. Pair up
Pair people up. These pairs take turns to discuss their strengths. These could be the strengths they identified themselves, or those shared by the team.
You can prompt them to discuss:
- if there was anything that surprised them
- how they have demonstrated the strength
- if they have any ideas how they can take advantage of that strength in the team.
After the time is up, swap people around until everyone has been paired with everyone. In bigger teams, limit this to a couple of pairings.
4 minutes per round, 2 minutes talking about each person in the pair
6. Come up with individual retro goals
Ask the team to reflect on the insights they’ve gained from these discussions. Based on this, they’ll silently brainstorm one retro goal for themselves. How can they harness their strengths to level up the team or the project?
7. Share goals
Everyone shares their goals with the team. There should be a goal for every team member.
Pick the close of your choice.
9. Make the goals visible
Post them on your physical board and share them digitally. That way it’s easy to keep them in mind and to follow up on them at the next retro.
The art of the retrospective
How to run a Google Forms remote retro
The Treasure Island Retrospective [with video]
Building team happiness through company-wide developer retrospectives