WHAT IS IT ?
The barometer is a process designed to help people reflect on and analyse difficult topics.
Generally speaking emotions (stress, fear, frustration) blur thinking. More important, in a team or an organization, a high level of emotion prevents people from talking to each other.
To overcome this problem, the barometer process asks people to write down and colour-code rather than express their feelings (see diagrammes below):
- green means I am energised, happy…
- yellow that I am OK
- orange that I am not great, frustrated or irritated
- red that I have a serious issue.
For more complex situations or projects, it can be complement with a scale 1-10 to show the intensity of the feeling, and the feelings can also be benchmarked against 7 pre-set dimensions of organisational performance or project management.
Consolidating all the answers, we get a synthetic and powerful view (a “map”) of the team on a given topic. The process of coming to this synthetic view also provides a team with the basis for a new shared understanding of the topic.
WHY DO WE LOVE IT ?
- it re-enables a group to think when in difficulty
- it gives a map of a complex problem
- In feelings lies a lot of critical information : we access and capture them. For instance when a project or a company is in jeopardy, few people feel free to raise tough points. Using the barometer allows them to think and then express their points of view in a manageable way for executives.
Part of our job is to help people make sense out of all those feelings, thus saving a long and hazardous work on self-awareness.
Applying and using it once is enough to create new language and a distinct form of dialogue for teams by repeating the methodology and apply it to other challenging and complex situations.
HOW DO WE USE IT ?
Here are some typical situation where we use the barometer :
- To set-up or diagnose a complex project (“what are our project’s key issues today”)
- To diagnose challenges related to interactions within an organisation and fine-tune interpretation, (“our project manager failed to…”. It provides a kind of a sociological analysis of a population)
- To give a feed-back to a leader when the team is big (« how do you feel about this new ambitious strategy?”) »
- To help people sort complex feelings (“is performance the real issue here or the relationship with your counterpart/peers?”)
- To assess the state/engagement of a management team by helping people express, sort and solve intuitive situations (“I feel our way of working together can be improved”)
The barometer can be processed live (in one or several meetings) or as an online survey.
WHERE DOES IT COME FROM ?
The barometer concentrates three main streams : coaching techniques mainly coming from Vincent Lenhardt, psychoanalytical way of processing groups as described by Jean-Claude Rouchy and HRO (High Reliability Organizations) theory from François Morel who identified that very reliable organisations put in place processes to allow everyone to speak-up.