Checkboxes Versus Check-ins

by Matt Poepsel, PhD

Diagnosis is one of the four aptitudes within the talent optimization framework. And when it comes to diagnose, a lot of times we think about things like collecting copious amounts of people data, looking at employee engagement, surveys, whatever it might be, but there are also lighter weight, cost effective, even free ways that we can conduct diagnose in terms of our talent optimization practices. An example might be within team meetings.

So in a team meeting, we could do our checkbox approach and say, Where are we at with XYZ project or this client, whatever it might be. And I’m checking in on the health of the business in that regard. And the other option is to use something known as the check in so how do we actually check in with our people and see how that they’re doing? In this case,

Brene Brown a couple years ago, had this LinkedIn Post who was wildly popular, that she talked about starting every meeting with a two word check in taking turns sharing two words that describe how we’re feeling that day. Now, this was a practice that started during the pandemic. But it’s critically important today to there’s a lot of change taking place in organizations, some teams are hybrid or fully remote.

Doing a two word check in like this is a great way to diagnose how your team is feeling, because it’s going to show up in the work. Remember that everything that we talked about, and talent optimization, all people practices take place within the business context. So how are people doing? This is a very excellent way within diagnose to say, let’s find out, let’s give them a chance to articulate it. What happens is by demonstrating vulnerability for ourselves as leaders, as well as to create a safe space for our people to kind of show up at work and experience and support one another.

That’s going to provide the types of foundation that’s gonna allow us to do our best work. So diagnosed doesn’t always mean some of the things we think about in terms of fancy HR tech and, and long surveys, etc. We can do it if we’re just willing to open the door a little bit. Thanks to Brene Brown for showing us one example. There are many, one example of how to do exactly that.