Month after month, year after year Gallup ( reports that over 70% of employees are disengaged.  On the other hand studies from the Standish Group (Chaos 2014) and Emotional Intelligence work by Daniel Goleman repeatedly show that engaged, highly productive teams have deep emotional connections. In order to make positive team progress it is clear that it is up to the individual to become self aware of their current emotional state and feel comfortable sharing that with the team.  This game provides a simple, low tech, approach to identify the reasons behind one’s emotional state, and how to use that knowledge to engage with his/her team.  As importantly, it strongly encourages the player to ask for help, increasing that person’s emotional connection with someone else.  This game is based on the Check-in Core Protocol originated by Michele and Jim McCarthy, and looks inward so that the individual gains self-awareness. 


Outline/Structure of the Demonstration

The session will begin with definitions and discussions of self-awareness, the check-in protocol, and how self-aware individuals increase team connection.  The session will end with the detailed steps of the game, and an example as shown below.


  1. Wait at least 15 minutes after check-out.  Most likely cortisol levels will be high, and time is needed to get a steady state.  Presence is severely hindered when cortisol levels are high
  2. Write down 3-4 sentences describing the facts around the environment before the check-out.
  3. Perform a check-in with yourself.  Pretend that each distinct emotion is a person and has a turn to check-in
  4. Write down the check-in and it’s description.  Add the question What is the emotional cause? at the end, but don’t fill it in.
  5. Go down each point and answer the question.  Try to be as fact based when determining the root cause of the emotional reaction.  It is okay to label an answer "Don't know"
  6. It is highly recommended to have a person outside the team (ideally a therapists) investigate you to answer to come the root cause answer.  Don't be afraid to ask for help.
  7. If 70% or greater of the points mentioned above have solid, fact-based answers (i.e are not "Don't know" consider checking back in sooner rather than later.  Lower than that it is recommended to keep asking for help and do more reflection on self-awareness.




I checked out of the daily scrum after my status update was sharply criticized by the executive present.  He is not part of the team, and noted the fact that I had slipped from my previous estimate.  He investigated me, and did not accept my explanation of why the module needed to implement a new pattern.  He did not perfect or offer a better alternative.  No one else on the team stepped in to help explain nor did I ask for help.


Personal Check-In What is the cause of my emotion?

I am mad that the product owner spoke disparagingly about my design.

I don’t find that language and tone acceptable, I have never seen it to be effective.  It also triggered my authority complex, and desire to have approval from authority figures.

I am sad that I am missed my previous estimate

I don't know.  It is mid sprint, and can still make the deadline

I am sad that no one helped me when explaining my design decision to the executive

Because my desire to be a team that helps each other through tough times is not being met.  I also am sad since I am reverting to introverted self at my own determinant.

I am happy that the team allowed me space to check out after the meeting.  Sarah also investigated me well we I asked for help I am happy since I am practicing my alignment of self awareness


Learning Outcome

Once the player has successfully performed this game he/she should feel more self-aware.  This usually feels calm and more present in the moment.  From here one can make a better, rational decision on how to engage with the team. Since this is a practice of self-awareness, if every person performs this game and brings the knowledge back to the team, they by default are increasing emotional connection.

Target Audience


schedule Submitted 4 years ago

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