Every morning, when we go to work, we are transitioning between our personal environment and our business context. We bring moods and thoughts with us, which have a major influence on how we are approaching our duties and tasks and what we will be able to achieve. A daily check-in with colleagues is an affordable measure to balance out the transition and lead to a more satisfied working experience. It is an great instrument to shape the working culture.
Moods can massively affect the culture
Last week I had a great start in the morning. The sun was shining after few days of rain, my earphones induced an appropriate soundtrack to my brain, and my mood could not have been better. I had some great plans for the day on my mind when I arrived at the office. I had a quick chat with one of my colleagues, but as he was quite busy the chat was rather short and I did not want to disturb him with my ideas.
Throughout the morning I realized that most of my colleagues were somehow stressed. As I did not find anyone suitable situation to talk about my exciting idea, I started to feel depressed myself – a status I did not want to accept considering my mood in the morning. So I arranged a catch up with one of my colleagues for lunch. As she confirmed that she was having a similar experience, I asked her, if she could tell about the reason. She was pointing back to a colleague, who had some bad experience in the morning. But honestly, there was not more we could figure out in the end.
Confidence in possibilities comes from balancing moods – given by the current situation
Now thinking about the situation, when the mood was down, and how to make a change, I had to admit that the whole department was already affected. No chance! The right time for addressing the problem would have been in the morning, before the bad mood had taken over control. A noon it was simply too late.
So, next day I was starting the experiment to pick few colleagues in the morning and have a chat about their mood and their plans for the day. As my motivation was not that high at that morning, I tried it the other way round. Find positive aspects in the stories from the colleagues and make own plans more attractive by having others involved. That day went perfectly fine, considering my mood in the morning. Since then I am trying to make use of daily check ins for shaping my expectations and the culture in the organization.
Being able to transition from personal space into the business context by telling about the mood and leaving it behind can make a big difference. On top those talks about plans create focus for the day and contribute a lot to the confidence, as they put emphasis on purpose and value. Finally that confidence is creating a much more optimistic attitude. That is great!
Implementing check-ins and start culture shaping
Making daily check-ins a pattern, you should be looking for the right persons to start of first. They need to a) be trustworthy, b) share some working context with you, and c) have a growth mindset, which means they believe that things will develop and grow and thereby have an optimistic attitude towards challenges.
If you have found one or more persons, make it a habit to talk to them about your mood, some of your main tasks, and your ideas in the morning. Check out how these talks are working for you and how they affect the others.
Important is to stay authentic when talking to others. Inventing moods, task list, or tell ideas others might want to hear, will not work, as they cannot be carried over into your real work. You must be aware that the purpose of the check-in is to talk, find the right balance for the transition, and help to create focus.
Scaling check-ins across the organization
If the check-ins work for you, you can think about to scale. Drag in more people – those who have a major influence on the spirit in the organization, as they express their moods in the one or the other way already without considering the balancing, and those who do not express their moods, but let themselves be influenced by the others. Do not rush as it will take them time to experience the balancing effect and learn from it.
The people you have chosen initially as counterparts for your check-ins might turn out to be culture delegates. The criteria, by which you have selected them, will make them the right persons to take over the habits and drag in more people on themselves. Start talking to them about it, if you feel that your setup is robust enough to scale.
Btw. if you have managed to establish a collaborative culture in your organization, these check-ins will happen by itself. The balancing effect of them is one of the big benefits of such a collaborative culture.