Dot Collector User Guide

Table of Contents

 


How to give a dot (general dots vs meeting dots)

 

General Dots 

  • Many interactions happen outside of formal meetings, e.g. emails, hallway chats, quick phone calls. Share your feedback from these interactions by giving dots.
  • To give a general dot on desktop, tap the “Give Dot” button at the top right. This navigation bar is static throughout the Principles desktop platform so you can dot from anywhere. Note that if you’re in a Dot Collector meeting, dotting a meeting participant using this button will result in an in-meeting dot.

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  • To give a general dot on mobile, tap the “ Dot” icon in the center of the bottom menu bar. Alternatively, you can give dots to people by clicking on their name/avatar wherever you see those in the app.

 

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Meeting Dots

  • Meetings are a natural place where people share feedback and perspectives. Use the meeting dot functionality to capture your real-time feedback to another participant.
  • To give a meeting dot on desktop, tap the dot icon next to a participant’s name or the “Give Dot” button at the top right.

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  • To give a meeting dot on mobile, tap the “Give dots” button within the meeting view. You can also use the dot icon in the center of the bottom menu bar, like you would give a general dot, but in this case you will have the option to choose from meeting participants. 

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  • A meeting dot will show up in the meeting synthesis, as well as in the recipient's About Me with the associated meeting number.

 

How to give a Dot

To give a dot follow these 6 easy steps:

  1. On your desktop app, tap the “Give Dot” button at the top right from anywhere in the app. On your mobile app, tap the dot icon in the center of the bottom menu bar. 
  2. Select one or more people to dot.
  3. Select attribute(s) you’d like to dot on.
    • Some strategies for choosing attributes when you’re getting started:
      1. Narrow your focus to just 1 or 2 categories at a time. Pick 3 – 5 attributes from those categories that resonate with you and look for those.
      2. Once you get used to those, then start to expand your “vocabulary.” As your vocabulary grows, you’ll be able to break down an observation into relevant attributes
  4. Select a 1-10 rating and/or use icons to rate on the attribute . On your mobile app, you can swipe left for a quick thumbs up (8) or swipe right for a quick thumbs down / loop (3).
  5. Add an optional comment.
  6. Submit.

 

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Remember:

  • High quality feedback is specific, meaningful and given with the intention of helping others improve, versus low quality feedback which is emotional and retaliatory.
  • A piece of feedback doesn’t have to be a conclusion -- it’s completely okay if it’s a question or a low-confidence perception meant to spark a conversation. It’s most useful if it has enough information to help the recipient contextualize the piece of feedback.
  • Dot recipients can indicate whether they agree or disagree with a piece of feedback within the tool (by simply selecting “Agree” or “Disagree” in the body of a dot). This information is transparently available to all in each person’s dots feed. Dot reactions offer a good opportunity for dot authors and recipients to have meaningful conversations on feedback and particularly to practice “thoughtful disagreement” and to “disagree well” when the recipient disagrees with feedback. Note that this is a new functionality that we are still in the process of development, so expect frequent updates. Currently, the dot author is not notified by the system when someone agrees or disagrees with their feedback. The author can view if someone has reacted to their dot by navigating to their dots feed and toggling to “Dots Given.” 

How to create a meeting

The required fields when creating a meeting include: Meeting Name and Responsible Party (RP).

  • The RP field will auto-populate with your name as the meeting creator, but you can optionally pick a different RP. If you choose an RP other than yourself, you will be automatically added as the Meeting Navigator within the meeting. As the Meeting Navigator, you will be able to edit the meeting on the RPs behalf (with the same kind of access and controls as the RP).

The optional fields when creating a meeting include: meeting start and end dates and permissions. Below are the permission options, which you will see on desktop only: 

  • Lock joining - if you check this setting, users will not be able to join the meeting unless you add them as participants. Note that they can still view the meeting.
  • Confidential - if you check this setting, users will not be able to join or view the meeting unless invited by a meeting RP or Navigator. Dots given and received in confidential meetings will only be visible to participants of that meeting in the AboutMe & Others. 

 

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Additional tabs on desktop: You can optionally add participants or questions to your meeting ahead of time in this view. Note that you’ll be able to edit both these settings at any point in your meeting.

  • It is common for the meeting creator to not add participants to their meetings (especially for meetings with a large number of participants) and instead share the meeting title/number with them to join on their own. 

 

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How to add & suggest questions during a meeting

Adding Questions

  • Note that only the “Meeting RP” and the “Meeting Navigator” can add questions to a meeting. They can publish questions of their choosing at any time during the meeting, including accepting/dismissing questions suggested by meeting participants.
  • When adding a question, you can choose from different question types and add multiple questions at once if you like. You can also save drafts of your questions on desktop until you’re ready to publish them to the group. Meeting participants are notified of the question with a flag on their Questions tab.
  • On your desktop app, click on the “Actions” dropdown next to the meeting title and choose “Add a Question.” Select question type from dropdown menu, type in your question, click “publish to section” or “save as draft” and “save meeting.” On your mobile app, tap the “+ Question” icon.

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Suggesting Questions

  • As a participant, you can suggest questions at any time during the meeting.
  • On your desktop app, click on the “Actions” dropdown and choose “Suggest a Question.” Click “Suggest New Question,” and fill in your question details. When done, click “Suggest,” and if you’d like to suggest multiple questions at once, click “Suggest New Question” again or else click “Suggest Questions.” On your mobile app, tap the “Actions” dropdown and choose “Suggest Question.”

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Meeting Question Types

  • When asking questions in a meeting, think about the best question type to get the information you are curious about. 
  • 10-Point Rating: Rate a person or a topic on a 10-point scale using the following scale as a guide: (10)  Ninja, (9)  Outstanding, (8)  Excellent, (7) At the bar, (6)  Close to the bar, (5) Shows signs of capability, (4) Questionable, iffy, (3)  Poor, (2)  Bad, and (1) Unacceptable. The 10-Point scale is good for more granular evaluations and is best for rating performance or attributes.
  • 1-5 Scale: Rate your agreement using the following scale as a guide: (5)  Strongly Agree, (4)  Agree, (3)  Neutral, (2)  Disagree, and (1)  Strongly Disagree. This question type is good for more granular agreement, though note the potential for people “hiding behind” 3s when they really lean one way or the other. 
  • Yes / No: This question type is good for forcing a clear perspective on an issue, but can lose nuance. We recommend that you encourage comments to add color on point of view.
  • Multiple Choice: Customized choices created by whoever is asking the question. Note that you can add up to 10 options and each option has a 4000 character limit. The responders will be able to select only one option when answering. This question type is a flexible way of voting for alternatives to see how things stack up. However, it may be time consuming to set up and potentially confusing to read or get a clear decision. 
  • Freeform: Free text answer. Freeform questions are good for surfacing participants’ own thoughts. While it is often used as default, it is the worst question type for structured data or getting to resolution/specific decisions. 
  • Rate Relative: Allows you to gauge participants’ relative contribution towards achieving the goal(s) of the meeting on a percent basis. You can give someone a contribution from -5% to 100%. 
  • Force Rank: Allows you to rate multiple people on an attribute at a time and see how they compare to each other. This information flows into the About Me & Others as “Rankings.”
  • Making the Most out of Meetings

How to end a meeting/close a section

Dot Collector helps you organize meetings into “sections” and rate and collect dots for each section separately (e.g. when in a meeting with two or more key, distinct agenda items). It’s also fine to have just one section for your meeting. At the end of your meeting, the Meeting RP or the Navigator can close the section which will prompt two default close-out questions: Rate the Section and Attribute relative contributions to the section.

  • Question 1: Rate the section, i.e. How was the meeting? Was it “at the bar” (7), above the bar, just okay (5) or poor (3)?
  • Question 2: Attribute relative contributions to the section, i.e. On a percentage basis, who contributed the most and the least to the meeting?

To close a section on your desktop, go into the “Actions” dropdown menu and select “Close Section.” Confirm you want to close the section by selecting “Close Section” from the pop-up message. Once a section is closed, all participants will see two questions waiting in their queue indicated by a blue alert next to their Questions tab. On your mobile app,  tap the “Actions” dropdown and choose “Close Current Section.” 

 

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  • Once you close a section, you can optionally create a new one. On your desktop app, go into the “Actions” dropdown menu and select “Meeting Settings.” Navigate to the Questions tab and select “New Section.” Optionally fill in the section details and hit “Save.” Once done, click “Save Meeting.” On your mobile app, tap the “Actions” dropdown and choose “Add Section.”

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  • If there are multiple sections in a meeting, you can navigate between them on your desktop using the section dropdown menu of the upper right hand corner of the meeting window. Each section will have the information under the tabs Questions, My Synthesis, Everyone’s Synthesis, and Meeting Tracker specific to itself. For example, if you gave dots in one section and move on to the next, you will see your “My Synthesis” tab empty again and your dot will not be shown in the dot grid under “Everyone’s Synthesis” in this new section. On your mobile app, you can navigate between sections using the dropdown underneath the Meeting Title. 

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How to explore the meeting tracker

Note - Depending on your group or organization’s setting, Meeting Tracker may not be available in your Dot Collector.  

Meeting Tracker is a system-generated summary based on the data (dots and questions) provided by participants in a meeting. One of the overarching goals of Principles is to enable organizations to make decisions effectively. To do this well, it's important for managers to have a pulse on the important discussions occurring across their teams without having to be present in all of them. Meeting Tracker enables the meeting participants, as well as any interested outside observers, to get a basic understanding of how a meeting went, including the questions posed and related responses, feedback from participants, and potential issues that might be worth looking into.  

The Meeting Tracker consists of two sections, (1) Summary and (2) Disagreements. You can find the Meeting Tracker by clicking into a meeting and navigating to the “Meeting Tracker” tab.

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Summary 

Meeting Tracker Summary uses proprietary algorithms to analyze all the data coming from the meeting (dots and questions) and produce an overall synthesis in order to simplify and systematize the process of sorting through the meeting events. The summary primarily captures what happened in a meeting in terms of interpersonal dynamics - what participants did well and poorly in the meeting - and not the content of the meeting (this is being considered for future development). You can click on the attribute links within the Summary to see additional information and associated dots. 

In the Meeting Tracker Summary, you can also find statements about the overall “importance” of the meeting and “nubbiness” of the meeting. 

Meeting Importance:  Meeting Tracker highlights “important” meetings so that managers can quickly get a pulse on the important discussions in their organizations and sort through situations which could benefit from their involvement even when they were not present in these meetings themselves.

  • Meeting Importance is calculated based on participants’ believability and their roles in the organization. The calculation also takes into account the participants’ level of engagement as measured by dot exchanges and question responses. Importance ranges from Critical, Very Important, Important to Typical and Unremarkable.
  • The most important meetings (i.e. “Critical” meetings) are those that have many participants who are managers and/or participants who have high believability, and where the meeting has had high volumes of dotting and polling activity.
  • Meetings with lower importance (i.e. “Unremarkable” meetings) are those where every participant is an individual contributor and also has really low believability regardless of activity level.
  • Somewhere in between are meetings that have many participants with high believability and/or management responsibilities, but low or no levels activity via dots and questions.

Meeting Nubbiness: “Nubbiness” is a measure of the amount of disagreement in a meeting. Meeting nubbiness ranges from Very Nubby, Nubby, Somewhat Nubby to Less Nubby and Not Nubby. 

  • Nubbiness is calculated based on “nubby questions” and “nubby dots.”
  • Dots are considered to be “nubby” when two people exchange negative dots, and/or when meeting participants can’t agree on how someone performed in the meeting (e.g. mix of positive and negative dots given to an individual). 
  • Questions are considered to be “nubby” when the opinions of meeting participants appear to be split between a few different perspectives.

Disagreements

There are four types of disagreements that the Meeting Tracker surfaces:

  1. Nubby People: Meeting participants who are dotted by multiple people, but their overall dot rating indicates disagreement, i.e. a mix of positive and negative dots have given to these individuals. 
  2. Out-of-Synch People: Meeting participants who disagree with the believable majority in a meeting. 
  3. Nubby Attributes: A meeting participant has a nubby attribute when the dots that they receive from multiple people indicate disagreement on that attribute.
  4. Nubby Questions: A question is nubby if responses indicate disagreement between meeting participants.

The number of nubby people, attributes, and questions feed into overall meeting nubbiness. You can expand / collapse each of these disagreement categories to see additional information and/or relevant dots and questions. 

 

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Making the most out of meetings

Dot Collector enables you to: (1) understand what participants and not just the speaker are thinking; (2) surface agreements/disagreements; and (3) foster engagement on “nubby” topics through questions. Below are some sample questions organized by question type that will help you achieve these three objectives in a meeting.

  1. Understand what participants, and not just the speaker, are thinking:
    • (Yes/No) Would you release the new version of the product tomorrow as-is?
    • (1-5 Scale) To what extent do you agree with the path forward … ( e.g. to put revenue as our top priority)?
    • (10-Point Rating) Rate the effectiveness of this meeting:
    • (Multiple Choice) Which path would you choose? A. Release tomorrow, B. Wait 2 weeks for bug fixes, C. Hold Release Indefinitely, D. Other (please enter in comments)
    • (Freeform) What would you like to cover in this week's meeting? (Note: Often sent out in advance of meeting)
    • (Freeform)Do you have any final questions or concerns?
  2. Surface agreements / disagreements
    • (Yes/No) Do you agree with the meeting takeaways?
    • (1-5 Scale) To what extent do you agree with Joe's decision to have held back the release of the product indefinitely?
    • (10-Point Rating) Rate how confident you are that our timeline is realistic?
    • (Multiple Choice) What’s the quickest timeline you think is realistic? A. One week, B. 2 weeks, C. 3 weeks, D. Other (please enter in comments)
    • (Freeform) If you disagree, please elaborate:
  3. Foster engagement on “nubby” topics through questions
    • (Yes/No) Do you think we should halt this project?
    • (Yes/No) Should we say no to this client?
    • (1-5 Rating) To what extent do you agree Joe’s answer was unacceptable?
    • (10-Point Scale) How do you think Joe is performing against expectations this month?
    • (Multiple Choice) Who do you think we should hire as our new PM? A. Joe X, B. Joe Y, C. Joe Z
    • (Freeform) Please share any reflections on the role you played, if any, on our recent miss on important product deadline.

Before the meeting:

  • Create your meeting in Dot Collector ahead of time. Add participants or send out the meeting link/name in an email along with the URL so people have it handy at the start of the meeting.
  • Give thought to the objectives and question you and/or the meeting leader are looking to achieve. Add or suggest questions you may want to ask before or during the meeting. 

At the end of the meeting:

  • Close the section and fill out the two close-out questions (rate the meeting and attribute relative contributions).
  • Review Meeting Tracker synthesis and engage participants on any disagreements / “nubby” topics.
  • Hold 5 mins at the end of the meeting to allow participants to collect any remaining dots.

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