Leadership Team Health Monitor
USE THIS HEALTH MONITOR TO...
- Understand your strengths and weaknesses as a leadership team.
- Identify plays your team should run (and why).
AND I NEED THIS... WHY?
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.
WHO SHOULD BE INVOLVED
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.
HEALTH MONITOR AT-A-GLANCE
- With your team, read the definition of each attribute (displayed below) of healthy, high-performing teams out loud. On the count of three have each person rate how they feel the team is doing compared to each definition (thumbs-up/green, thumbs-sideways/yellow, thumbs-down/red). Record the results of each attribute team rating on a Health Monitor grid.
- Choose one or two of the attributes rated yellow or red. Select plays that will strengthen these areas.
- Schedule your next Health Monitor checkpoint (we recommend monthly).
PREPARATION - What you need to complete a Health Monitor
Get a Health Monitor grid
A Health Monitor grid is where you record the team ratings for each attribute. It is best to keep a reference of past Health Monitor ratings so you can see how results change over time. You can draw the grid on a whiteboard, download a PDF, or set it up as a Confluence page using our blueprint. View example of a completed Health Monitor grid.
Are you facilitating the session?
Team health assessment (10-40 min)
Read the name and definition of the first attribute out loud to the group.
On the count of three have everyone give their rating for that attribute.
Thumbs up / green: "We're strong here"
Thumbs sideways / yellow: “We're ok... but a little shaky"
Thumbs down / red: "We're not healthy"
Repeat for each attribute.
You have the right people, and they know what is expected of them. Team roles are explicit, and who is accountable for decisions is well understood. You have the right size team to be effective.
Members proactively provide their experience and insights to make the group more effective. There is trust and respect across the group.
The team has a shared vision and collective purpose which they support, and confidence they have made the right strategic bets to achieve success.
The group is clear on their unique value proposition for growing the business and they can measure the intended impact. Success is defined, and measures identified.
Decisions are made at the right level with an appropriate degree of urgency and discussion in considering both short and long term implications, with trade-offs actively considered. Decisions are timely and effectively communicated.
Each member stands behind the group's vision and value, and this is documented in plain English for other teams to understand.
Clear communication between team members to share insights, knowledge and learning which could lessen risk, complexity, resources, effort, and timelines facing the team.
You are viewed as “easy to do business with” from your key stakeholders.
The team reflects on, then leverages lessons learned and success to make more effective decisions faster. The group is renowned for and has established patterns for GSD (Getting $#!T Done).
Note how many reds, yellows, and greens there are. Then decide on a rating and record it on your Health Montior grid. Keep the discussion brief and don't try to solve problems yet. Just understand why everyone chose the rating they did.
Over time, your Health Monitor grid might look something like this:
Next steps: choose plays to strengthen yellow and red areas
Here are a few suggested plays for improving in each area. Don't treat these as prescriptions! You know your team better than anyone, so check them out, explore other plays, and do what you think is best.
Schedule your next Health Monitor checkpoint
Health Monitors work best when done on a regular schedule; results will change as a projects change. Most teams schedule Health Monitor sessions on a monthly basis. If your team has a lot of red areas, consider a weekly or bi-weekly cadence until you're feeling a bit stronger. Weekly checkpoints can be super-quick (15-30 minutes) since there is already a baseline for your team to work from.
Tips for facilitating a Health Monitor
Setting the context
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
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.
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!
Not so sure about all this?
No worries. We answered users' most common questions about the Health Monitor in this handy-dandy blog post.Read it now
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