Dot Collector Tips and Best Practices

Table of Contents


Giving Dots Best Practices and "Watch Out Fors"

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Getting Dots Best Practices and "Watch Out Fors"

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Some Common Experiences with Dotting 

Struggle to find time to dot

  • When just starting with the tool, block off 5 mins at the end of each day to reflect on your interactions and capture dots

Struggle to find the right attributes

  • Don’t worry! Use categories to narrow your search, start with the attributes you’re naturally drawn to, and know that your “vocabulary” will expand over time
  • Pick a handful of attributes each week and watch for those behaviors in your interactions

Have feedback to share, but aren’t sure your perspective is right

  • Share it open-mindedly. Dots can be questions - feel free to say, “I’m not sure but I wanted to share…”

React strongly to negative feedback

  • Take a moment to pause. Seek to understand the other person’s perspective rather than prejudge. It’s information to help you and the community grow

Disagree with a dot you received 

  • The key principle to remember here is that it’s hard to be objective about oneself and that feedback from others can be valuable to understand what you might do differently. Try to ask yourself calmly, is it true? If the dot seems interesting or useful, have a conversation with the person who gave you feedback to help answer that question. Try to approach that conversation open-mindedly, first to understand their perspective and then decide. If you still disagree, you can ask others whose view you trust, particularly those who are believable, what they think to get a broader perspective. This doesn’t mean you need to have a conversation about every dot you get, though we would encourage you to try to understand dots/feedback you’re getting as it can be a critical part of your own self-discovery. You’ll often find that a brief conversation can lead to important learning for you and others. Remember, the whole purpose of dots is to engage in the ongoing process of better understanding yourself and others. 

Discomfort when giving feedback, especially up the chain.

  • Often, a manager will strive to create an environment where individuals are enabled to raise and work through their criticisms and issues openly and productively. Remember that managers and company leaders will also benefit greatly from knowing where they can be doing better.

Feel like you’re not getting enough feedback

  • Ask your manager and coworkers for more dots, both in general and after completing tasks. You might also encourage them by giving them your feedback

Have trouble changing your dotting habits (frequency, composition, etc.)

  • Have an “accountability buddy”
  • Openly seek to understand why you’re not dotting the way you should be. What barriers are in your way?

Some Common Experiences & Best Practices when using Dot Collector in Meetings

 

You are the Meeting RP or the Meeting Navigator

We recommend that you create your meeting in Dot Collector ahead of time. You can optionally populate a few pre-meeting questions that are relevant to understanding people’s thinking going into the meeting. In doing this, give thought to the goals you want to achieve. 

  • Throughout the meeting, strive to ask about the important things that drive to the meeting goal rather than ask for input on everything. Seek out “nubby questions” where you find disagreements and pose these questions in real-time during the meeting. When phrasing your questions or picking the question type, try not to be too open-ended -- while freeform questions have their place, they take time (responding and reading). Force yourself to phrase your questions clearly and concisely using likert or rating scales when possible. 
  • When possible, standardize questions for your standing meetings.
    • This will enable consistent collection of data on regular topics through time and help you perceive any trends and week-to-week changes. For example, for a weekly team check-in where you get aligned on priorities and plan for the week ahead, ask regular and recurring questions ahead of the meeting. Once you have a meeting that you’d like to use as a template, you can easily clone that meeting to bring over all meeting participants and questions to a new meeting. 
    • Some examples of recurring questions to consider are: What’s currently on your plate? (freeform), Are any of your priorities/deliverables currently at risk? (Y/N), Are there any problems/concerns you’d like to share with the team? Please explain in comments. (Y/N), How’s your morale? (1-5 Scale), What’s your work-life balance looking like? (1-5 Scale), etc.

You get distracted when dotting in a meeting and lose track of the conversation.

  • There are various ways to use dots in a meeting without making them a distraction. People often observe that once they get into the habit of dotting throughout their meetings, the behavior quickly becomes second-nature. In fact, they say that leaving feedback during meetings can actually make them more engaged as participants rather than mere observers. 
  • That said, you should do what seems natural for you. That might include: 1.) Pause periodically at points within a meeting - perhaps as topics shift - to give dots and then return to focusing on the meeting. 2.) Pause before the end of the meeting to give dots. 3.) Reflect at the end of the day on any feedback you might have had that you haven’t given yet and give it then. Often people find that as they are focused during the day, they sometimes forget, and it’s easier to set aside a few minutes for reflection and dotting.

You struggle to find meetings in which to use Dot Collector

  • Agree to use Dot Collector in your weekly standing meetings.
  • Use Dot Collector to survey people outside of meetings. For example, create a meeting to gather perspectives on a company-wide memo. 

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