This site is called “check-in success” for a reason: my goal is to help you make your check-ins successful, and your gatherings more productive and enjoyable.

With that in mind, I’ve tried to make the site as easy to use as possible.

If you’re short on time and prefer a quick overview of the check-in process, visit the Check-in Quick Guide. You can print this one-page tool as an easy reference for yourself and others. The online version has links to the text in case you want to explore any aspect in greater detail.

The Question Archive is a comprehensive list of check-in questions, and the place to go to select one for your meeting. The archive is organized into two broad categories: Questions for Connecting, and Questions for Working. I also include an annotated list of my personal favorite check-in questions.

The main content is organized as follows:

  • What explains what a check-in is.
  • Why explores why check-ins are a powerful practice for engendering collaboration, and helps you determine your purpose for any specific check-in.
  • When helps you decide when it makes sense to use a check-in for your meeting.
  • How provides detailed instructions on how to facilitate check-ins, as well as guidance about how to select an effective question (including outlining the characteristics of effective questions). Check-outs are also considered here.

The Frequently Asked Questions section has answers to the most common questions people ask me about check-ins.

The Check-in Examples section is comprised of 10 stories of how check-ins were used in various settings, detailing the audience, the context, the leaders’ objectives, the questions they selected, and the results. This will give you a feel for how the practice can be used in different settings and to accomplish a range of goals. A final example examines why a check-in underperformed.

I am a check-in geek. For that reason, I thought it would be fun to let you actually check in when you visit the site. After a few minutes of reading, a pop-up will ask you to select and answer a question. Your check-ins are then immediately posted on the home page and archived here. You won’t be surprised that this truly global check-in is my favorite part of the site. (If you can’t wait to check in, just select the “you can check in here” link that’s on both the home page and the “Your Check-ins” page.)

The green footnote circles throughout the text (visible on computers only, not on phones) contain related thoughts and extra information. Hover over them to view the content.

You can find a section describing why I created this site, a bibliography, and acknowledgements below the three horizontal lines (the so-called “hamburger”) on the main site navigation.

Citations are placed at the bottom of this page.

I hope you find what you need here. Don’t hesitate to contact me if I can help.


Citations:
…a “form of social technology that enables [people] to tap capacities for wisdom, collective support and creativity.” (Boyes Watson, Peacemaking Circles & Urban Youth, pg 79)

If you’re a middle manager, you likely spend about 35 percent…(Fuze)

“At Google and similar iconic companies, even decisions that traditionally were made unilaterally by managers—like whom to hire, fire, and promote—are now made by teams. (Bock)

“…what researchers call “the equality of conversational turn-taking.” (Duhiggi, also Chabris et. al.)

The power of check-ins so impressed researchers at Johns Hopkins University… (Gawande)

The notion of “tuning” people to one another is an apt metaphor in light of exciting research on “social resonance.” (Claxton)

Neuroscientists have demonstrated that whenever we aren’t solving other problems, our brains automatically focus on social cues that help us understand our relationship to the people in our environment. (Lieberman)

“a climate characterized by interpersonal trust and mutual respect in which people are comfortable being themselves…” (Edmondson, “Managing the Risk of Learning”)

By definition, strong relationships have a high degree of trust—the “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone.” (Oxford Dictionary Online)

Research has demonstrated that couples who laugh together have more successful, longer-lasting relationships, and the same is likely true of people in other groups. (Hall)

In the modern classic The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey tells the story of the harried lumberjack with an unrelenting focus on his work. (Covey)

When surveyed about the most significant obstacles to getting their work done, workers consistently list “wasteful meetings” at the top of the list. (Workfront)

The Foundation for Critical Thinking distinguishes three categories of questions (Elder and Paul)