The Collective Impact Forum team created this “color check” tool to help encourage honest conversations within the team on how we are doing, which can then prompt discussions about what things we can do to support each other, especially during this time.
This can help prompt conversations when people are feeling overloaded with tasks and need help, feeling bored and would appreciate guidance on new directions to take, or are feeling grief and may need more time or understanding.
Ways to use this tool:
1- Using it at the beginning of meetings to check-in on how teammates are doing
2- Using it during periods of high stress or busyness to help teammates talk about shifting work or priorities in order to reach a more balanced state.
One Color or Multi-Color
There’s no “right way” to choose your check-in color. You may be one color or multiple at the same time. Each choice is valid and will depend on the person.
When the tool may be less successful:
If it’s hard to be honest with your team about how you are doing, this tool may not be as successful. Through regular use/practice, listening, and acting in support of team members through challenging periods, that culture of trust and honesty can grow where it will be easier to share when you are feeling Red, Orange, Blue, and/or Gray without fearing repercussions or judgment.
This tool helps provide a way to share how one is doing. In that way, it can help contribute to trust-building and relationships, but it won’t work without empathy, understanding, and an active interest in supporting team members.
It won’t work well also if there is a strong culture of presenting “stoic strength” where everyone is in a challenging color, but that is the accepted norm, and to discuss shifting to a more balanced, less stressed state would appear that you are being “less productive.” In order for a tool like this to be useful, there would also need to be a shared goal of encouraging team members to reach a state where they feel balanced and/or energized.
What happens if I want to add an emotion?
This is an open-source tool. Feel free to adjust it to what you need to better serve your team members and community needs.