Health Monitors

The Health Monitor is your team's chance to take an honest look in the mirror. You'll assess your team against the eight attributes most commonly found among healthy teams. At the end of Health Monitor session, you'll identify strengths to exploit as well as challenge areas to grow.

Anybody can run a Health Monitor session, so don't wait for some directive from on high.

Read why Health Monitors help your team Copy link to heading Copied! show

As a leadership team, you are a multiplier. You have many people looking to you for inspiration and direction. You produce work that is visionary and strategic instead of tactical and operational. Your leadership team might consist of senior executives charged with increasing customer engagement by 30% this year. Or it might be a collection of junior leaders from across the company whose teams are taking your product to market in a new country.

Over the years, we've observed eight attributes common amongst healthy leadership teams. This Health Monitor is a chance for your team to get a reading on each of them – to check your vital signs, if you will. From there, you can run other plays that change the way you work so you're building muscle in your weak areas, and follow up with quick checkpoints to track your progress.

Although the leadership team Health Monitor is most effective when run at the start of an initiative, you can run it at any point. For longer-term initiatives, we recommend running the full leadership Health Monitor play every three months, with quick checkpoints every 2 weeks.

Bring all members of your leadership team. Remember: these are the people responsible for directing the day-to-day work involved in this initiative – not the ones executing it.

Team performing a health monitor

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New to the Health Monitor?
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We will take you step-by-step through a Health Monitor, record results, and recommend next steps for your team.

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Tips for facilitating a Health Monitor

Setting the context Copy link to heading Copied! Show

The purpose of the Health Monitor to assess how well your team is working together. Brutal honesty is the key here. It's not all doom and gloom, though: you'll uncover good things too, and exchange some high-fives…

You'll be assessing your health strictly within the context of the project you're working on. There are no right or wrong answers, and everyone's opinion is equal.

During the Health Monitor Copy link to heading Copied! Show

If your team includes 8 or more people, you might want to divide into sub-groups and work through the initial ratings for each attribute. Then, come back together and converge on full-team ratings.

If you're new to the Health Monitor, it helps to display the names and descriptions of the eight attributes on a screen, so the team can see them easily.

How you think about red, yellow and green will be unique to your team. Use your intuition and don't worry about establishing standardized criteria for each color – that only distracts from the discussion.

Make sure each person has a voice and a chance to contribute to their group's ratings individually before moving into whole-team discussions.

If your team members tend to "settle" or call something "okay” when it really isn't, start with red as the default rating for all attributes, and make groups justify their way to a green rating.

Resist the temptation to solve problems, and just focus on observations.

Next steps Copy link to heading Copied! Show

Set a regular cadence for Health Monitor checkpoints. Are your reds and yellows moving toward green? Have any of your greens slipped into the red? Regular checks help keep momentum high and catch problem areas before they become destructive.

Some teams incorporate checkpoints into an existing team ritual, like a weekly team meeting. Other teams periodically replace rituals like sprint retrospectives or stand-ups with a checkpoint. But you can schedule the checkpoints separately, if need be.

For the checkpoint, pull up your Health Monitor grid. Have the full team assess how they're doing on each attribute using the same red/yellow/green ratings.

Pay special attention to the attributes you chose to focus on during the full Health Monitor session. When one goes green, choose a new focus and look for plays that will help. Remember: the plays are different ways of going about your daily work, which means you can run them even if you aren't struggling. Preventative care works for teams just like it works for our bodies!