The Champions Guide
Onboarding Your Team to Dot Collector
This guide will help you introduce Dot Collector to your company in a meaningful way, whether you’re introducing the app to 10 or 1000 people.
- Appoint a team member to promote the use of the app - this person is your Dot Collector “Champion.”
- Get the culture right - set an open feedback culture in your organization by cultivating meaningful relationships, psychological safety, and a growth-mindset. Set your cultural standards and the tone from the top and make feedback part of your organization’s day-to-day. There are practical steps you can take to do this starting on Day 1. We’ll share some of our best tips below.
- Set your Dot Collector goals - explore with your team how Dot Collector will power your culture of open feedback and continuous development.
- Get started - agree on a set of use guidelines to build the habit of feedback, engage your Dot Collector Champion to lead the way and model good dotting behaviors that your team members can mirror.
Step 1: Appoint Your Dot Collector Champion
To promote the use of Dot Collector, we have found it effective for teams to appoint “champions.” A champion could be a leader in your company, or just someone who has expressed a special interest in the app and the values behind it.
It is critical to establish an environment where people feel comfortable dotting by encouraging individual contributors to dot their colleagues and managers. We’ve found it most effective when the leadership of a team/org sets the standard and models good cultural habits which the Champion can then amplify across the organization.
We ask champions to:
- Promote the use of Dot Collector - be a champion for encouraging use and engagement. Start with two to four use opportunities within a meeting context (see example use opportunities below). Review our tips and guidance and utilize those as necessary to further your team’s needs and goals.
- Lead by example - model positive behaviors that your team members can follow. Know how to access and use all areas of Dot Collector. Be an advocate for using the app in your meetings (reminding everyone to launch the app). Frequently give and solicit dots (especially constructive dots).
- Share key insights and guide your team along your Principles journey - be an involved and engaged observer of how Dot Collector use is going. See tips below on how to review your progress each week after launching Dot Collector with your team.
Step 2: Get the Culture Right - The Basics for Creating an Open Feedback Culture
The use of Dot Collector goes hand in hand with creating a culture of continuous development - a culture in which candid feedback is regularly exchanged throughout your company to drive individual and team performance. When you’re intentional about designing your feedback culture, Dot Collector will help you become that much more inclusive, transparent, developmental, and productive. That’s why the first, and the most important, step of your Dot Collector roll-out plan is to get the culture right.
Your company/team may already have an established culture of feedback or you may be just starting on your feedback journey - that’s okay... Regardless of which stage you’re at, we recommend that you use the roll-out of Dot Collector as an opportunity to take important steps towards the culture you want.
Here are 4 tips for setting/nurturing an open feedback culture:
- Cultivate Meaningful Relationships: Meaningful relationships are invaluable for building and sustaining an open feedback culture, because they create the trust and support - psychological safety - that people need to push each other to do great things. According to Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson, who coined the term: “Psychological safety is a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes.” Before taking the leap towards candid feedback, your employees will want to know that they’ll be rewarded (rather than punished) for their candor and that there will be no negative consequences for sharing observations, both good and bad.
- Create a Culture in Which It Is Okay to Make Mistakes and Unacceptable Not to Learn from Them: Everyone makes mistakes. The main difference is that people with a “growth mindset” learn from them and grow, while those with a “fixed mindset” don’t. We believe that making mistakes, reflecting, and learning from them is so critical to growth and call it “looping*.” To reinforce that, the Dot Collector icon for “needs improvement” is a loop. According to Stanford University Professor of Psychology Carol Dweck, who coined the term, “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” Nurturing a growth mindset culture where employees are encouraged and rewarded for giving each other honest feedback helps uncover strengths and opportunities for improvement. Sharing this feedback via Dots allows for real-time course correction and continuous people development. Coach your employees to adopt a growth mindset so that they can begin to see mistakes as a natural part of the process of going after ambitious goals while taking risks with their creativity and independent thinking. Share constructive feedback to help people see where they can improve and create an environment in which it is okay to safely make and talk about mistakes. Use positive feedback to reinforce risk taking and good performance and appreciate growth where it’s happening.
- Set the tone from the top: Employees take cues from how the leaders of their teams/company relate to feedback. This is why it’s critically important for your leaders to model good cultural habits around feedback. They must hone their ability to give and receive feedback and lead by example. Teach your leaders about the power of positive feedback and how they can use it to acknowledge the successes and motivate their teams while reinforcing good performance. Encourage them to actively request and receive constructive feedback with grace and appreciation. Ask them to be transparent about how the feedback they have received has benefitted them. An example of this type of behavior is when a manager thanks a particular employee in the context of a team meeting for feedback given during that week, describing the growth or the change in perspective it has fostered.
- Make feedback part of your day-to-day: Sporadic or seasonal feedback will not establish a trusted feedback culture within an organization. Help your employees build the feedback habit by setting up a consistent feedback routine - making time in meetings and in the workday for exchanging feedback. When feedback is integrated into your day-to-day operations and it happens routinely, the experience will feel easier and more natural! To help with this, offer clear standards and channels for sharing feedback. This is why a tool like Dot Collector is key to operationalizing your feedback culture. By providing your employees with a platform for the seamless exchange of feedback you take the administrative burden out of feedback, allowing everyone to focus on growth instead.
Step 3. Set your Dot Collector Goals
Having put thought into the open feedback culture you would like to cultivate in your organization, prepare to introduce Dot Collector in this context of “operationalizing” and empowering your culture. There’s a big difference between wanting to do something and actually having the right resources, the right feedback channels, and the right habits to follow through. Dot Collector helps you bridge this gap by facilitating the exchange of real-time feedback in your meetings. By offering your team members an easy and in-the-moment way of recording, sharing and storing their feedback with Dot Collector, you take the administrative work out of feedback and allow everyone to focus on building the habit instead.
Establish your vision and purpose for using Dot Collector with your team and get prepared for any challenges that come with introducing a new app by:
- Setting up a kick-off session to explore how Dot Collector can have a positive impact on your company culture and help you become more open, honest, and growth-oriented through the exchange of real-time feedback. In your session, discuss your commitment to getting the feedback culture right at your company, engage your team on the value of feedback, and collect their thoughts on goals for using Dot Collector and any concerns they may have about giving candid feedback.
- Consider conducting employee interviews or sending out a team-wide questionnaire with the following questions:
- How do you think Dot Collector could help our company?
- How does our team/company's culture impact how we give feedback?
- What concerns, if any, do you have about giving honest, transparent feedback?
These conversations will help you develop a richer understanding of your existing feedback challenges and any potential impediments to the use of the tool that may be standing in your team’s way. Begin connecting these challenges to your goals and desired state as an open feedback culture by anchoring to specific use opportunities for Dot Collector. You may choose to start with a small set of use opportunities that address your most immediate feedback goals and consider additional ones with time. Agree on this initial set and socialize a plan with your team. Sample use opportunities:
Use Opportunity #1
Sharing feedback in everyday interactions with team members, e.g. when collaborating on a project, brainstorming on an idea, in your teams check-ins and 1:1s
Most of our work days are spent collaborating with others on big and small projects and likely in some meeting setting. Very often in these cases, we think of feedback we’d like to share with members of the team, but often forget, don’t make room for, or simply are unable to find the right time and place for doing so
- Make giving and getting feedback easy and a natural way of being and operating with your team
- Take advantage of timely opportunities to help your team members grow and celebrate their wins/where they perform well
- Reflect on your interactions in a way that encourages self and team improvement
How Dot Collector can help (features and behaviors)
Provide real-time feedback across a variety of meetings and interactions with Dot Collector, including:
- In meetings, use Dot Collector to provide feedback on how things are progressing, who contributed in what way, and how each participant can grow and improve in specific areas
- When brainstorming an idea or a strategy, give feedback on the input/suggestions shared as one way to determine which idea is the best one
- In your check-ins and 1:1s, use Dot Collector to ensure growth and development of reports and managers alike, ensuring that feedback is a two-way communication.
Use Opportunity #2
Asking for feedback after you lead a meeting or give a presentation
- There’s rarely a dedicated opportunity to collect candid reactions from the audience on your delivery of a presentation or management of a meeting. Conversations quickly dive into the substance of what’s been presented and you leave development opportunities on the table.
- Asking for feedback from the audience by pausing the flow of the conversation or later via email is not efficient.
- Collect reactions efficiently from your audience.
- Get candid feedback on your delivery of a presentation or management of a meeting to zero in on strengths and development opportunities.
- Use real-time feedback from your audience to course-correct or to instantly adjust to your audience’s needs and goals versus having to wait for a formal reviews conversations.
How Dot Collector can help (features and behaviors)
- Ask for feedback openly at the beginning of a meeting or the start of your presentation.
- Remind people to convey their feedback and reactions through real-time dotting.
- If applicable, be concrete about attributes you’re seeking feedback on - e.g. if you’re working on your communication skills, ask your audience to leave you dots in reference to specific instances from your presentation where you did well or how you can improve.
- Review and reflect on all the dots you’ve received after the meeting in your About Me profile and set follow-up conversations with people if you have any questions. Use your emerging areas of improvement to inform mentorship conversation to seek targeted advice from those with more skill and experience.
Step 4: Getting started - Dot Collector Champion leads the way
Now that your team is aligned on your immediate set of use opportunities for Dot Collector, translate those into a set of use guidelines to incorporate dotting into your day to day. To continue to nurture your open feedback culture and build the habit of feedback, we recommend that you start by:
- Identifying at least 3 weekly recurring meetings for the team to commit to the use of Dot Collector. These can be your Company All Hands, team meetings, manager check-ins/1:1s and any project/program specific meetings such as kick-offs, status check-ins or brainstorming sessions.
- Asking everyone to give at least 2 dots per meeting, or a total of ~10 dots/week.
- Reminding people to ask for specific feedback on their contributions in meetings.
- Encouraging managers to proactively ask for constructive feedback.
Champions can begin by inviting all their team members to the Dot Collector app - click here for instructions on how to do so. As your team gets started with the app, your Champion is your advocate for use and engagement. We recommend that for the first couple of weeks, Champions do the following in your previously agreed upon meetings:
- At the start of the meeting, remind everyone to launch Dot Collector.
- Remind the team of your agreed-upon goals for using the app and encourage them to dot throughout the meeting.
- Encourage the person leading the meeting to pause periodically, like when topics shift or at the end of the meeting, to allow time for dotting without losing focus.
- Give real-time dots to meeting participants. Be balanced and thoughtful in your dots. Have an intention to be helpful by calling out specific contributions or opportunities for improvement in your written feedback.
- Solicit dots on your contributions in meetings. Let people know any development areas you’re working on and encourage them to share their feedback.
- Polling may be a natural place to start encouraging sharing of perspectives in real-time. Learn more about polling best practices here.
Champions play another important role at this initial stage of building the habit by being an involved and engaged observer of how Dot Collector use is going. Tracking progress is not only helpful to perceive problems or impediments to use so you can address in a timely manner, but it will also help you demonstrate the value of Dot Collector to the rest of your group.
We recommend that Champions routinely survey their teams to get feedback on how they think things are going. Anchor back to your agreed upon Dot Collector goals and use opportunities when asking about progress and encourage your team to share any challenges they may be encountering:
- This week… Have you given dots? Have your received dots? How many?
- Are you having any problems / encountering any challenges with using the Dot Collector and any of its associated behaviors - giving & getting feedback, reflecting on feedback, etc.?
- How has Dot Collector impacted the way you think about and give feedback?
- Have you received any feedback through the Dot Collector that has been helpful/informative towards your contributions in meetings and/or development/growth in general?
- Is the Dot Collector making our meetings more inclusive? In what ways is it allowing us to be more collaborative and transparent?
- Has Dot Collector helped our team make progress on... E.g. Use Opportunity #1 - sharing feedback in everyday interactions with team members, e.g. when collaborating on a project, brainstorming on an idea, in your team check-ins and 1:1?
*Loop: Looping is described by our founder Ray Dalio as critical to success and part of his 5-step process. Learn more about it in his book Principles.