How to Use ‘Red, Yellow, Green’ to Check in on Employee Well-being


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Are you tired of the same old methods of communication in the workplace? Do you find it difficult to express your stress levels or workload to your boss? Look no further than the “red yellow green” system!

Jim and Tyson, hosts of the Maximum Lawyer Podcast, discuss the benefits of this simple yet effective tool. By rating yourself on a scale of red (over capacity and stressed), yellow (pulled in several directions), or green (everything is good), you can communicate your current state to your team without feeling the need to filter or explain.

One of the real powers of the system is the pause between when the question is asked and when the employee answers. It allows for a revealing question and answer into what’s going on in their life if they choose to share. This system helps reveal problems in the machine and helps leaders address issues quickly.

The hosts emphasize the importance of digging deeper if someone reports being in the red, and checking in on their well-being outside of work as well. They also suggest using the system in one-on-one meetings or team meetings, but not necessarily in daily huddles.

The “red yellow green” system promotes a positive work culture and addresses employee needs. It’s a simple tool that allows for connection and helps introverts and high fact finders connect with others. So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or pulled in several directions, use the “red yellow green” system to communicate your needs effectively.

08:36 The ‘Red Yellow Green’ system, which is a simple tool for checking in employees’ emotional well-being and workload capacity.

15:33 Digging into Red Jim explains that if an employee reports being in the red zone during a Red Yellow Green check-in, it’s important to follow up with them separately to address their concerns.

16:22 ‘Red Yellow Green’ system in their office, which allows employees to share where they are at in an honest way without feeling the need to necessarily filter or explain.

22:31 The importance of checking in on whatever that thing is that is important, whether it be work, health, or family, on a regular basis to avoid getting skewed.

Jim’s Hack:The benefits of fasting, not for religious reasons but for body and focus reasons, as it is a great tool to use if you have a hard day coming up or need to be at your best.

Tyson Tip: The importance of checking in on a regular basis: work, exercise, fun, family.

🎥 Watch the full video on YouTube here.


Transcript: How to Use ‘Red, Yellow, Green’ to Check in on Employee Well-being

Speaker 1
Run your law firm the right way. This is the maximum lawyer podcast, podcast, your hosts, Jim hacking and Tyson metrics. Let’s partner up and maximize your firm.

Jim Hacking
Welcome to the show. Welcome back to the maximum lawyer podcast Tyson. My friend, how are you? This is the first recording of the day that which means it’s the first recording of the month. We haven’t recorded one on one in quite some time. I’m looking forward to spending a little time with you today. How are things at your firm? How are things going? How are you feeling?

Tyson Mutrux
Yeah, things are I feel like things are going really well. Revenues are looking really good. From a firm standpoint like a our people I think are we have the right people in place right now. We’ve gotten we’re approach actually, I think we’re right at a year now since we’ve implemented top grading. So we’ve sort of processed people that process people in kind of a thing, some intentional turnover. And although that process can be a little bit painful, not necessarily the processing out, but just the implementation of it. Obviously, the processing out part of it, it’s not easy, but I feel like that process is put to really positioned us and a place that’s going to really throw gasoline on the fire. And I’m really excited about that. It’s like I wake up every morning when I go to work. I’m really excited about the people we have in place. And that’s a pretty awesome feeling. And so yeah, that’s going well. And from a personal standpoint, the kids are getting more into more and more activity since so that’s getting a little more hectic, you’ve I think you’ve kind of gotten past that hump. I’m approaching the hump. You’ve met the hump yet. So it’s been quite a hectic on a weekly basis when it comes to basketball, soccer, taekwondo, and then now baseball is starting. So we’re at this point where luckily, basketball just ended. But now at the same time, we have Taekwondo, soccer, and baseball all at the same time. So and that’s Oh, and ever at gymnastics. So it’s been it’s been crazy. But yeah,

Jim Hacking
I remember those days, that’s a hectic life, but it’s a full life and you’ll miss it as soon as it’s gone. I mean, we’re down to nor now. So when my son leaves for college in the fall, we’ll just have Nora at home, and she’s all softball all the time, she’ll probably do basketball, too. But I remember running those schedules with all those different kids. I mean, you have to micromanage that stuff down to the nanosecond to get it all to work together. I mean, luckily, you have two healthy parents and two vehicles that were unwell. So it’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot of together time I drive by places now that I used to hang out with the kid and miss them finally, so enjoy it stay in the moment when you have all those times with them.

Tyson Mutrux
I love it. It’s good advice. Yeah, we’re gonna lean on my mom last night, take hats into socks, because it just, it wasn’t gonna work out otherwise, what’s going on

Jim Hacking
nwith you, though? Well, let’s see, we had our firm off site with leadership on Monday. And that followed Friday’s off site with you and Becca for maximum lawyer. So you know, those are always interesting. And I always have different reactions to offsites, I think that they’re really powerful. A lot of times afterwards, I have a little bit of, I wouldn’t say depression, but sadness, because we’re not where I want to be, it’s great to go over all the successes and all the things that you’ve accomplished. But at the same time, you can see the horizon. And it often feels like of course, you can’t ever reach the horizon. But it often feels like you’re never going to get there. And that, you know, you’re sometimes talking about things again, that you’ve talked about before issues come back up, or you know, just you see where things are, and you see him in a new light and you talk it through, it’s very energizing having those meetings with everybody. But at the same time, I always have a bit of a letdown sort of like after going to a conference. But overall, the firm is doing great, we’re up 50% year over year for the quarter. And things are rockin and rollin in most departments, I’m looking, I took all the sticky, white, huge post it notes that we have, and they’re all up on the wall now, because I’m literally gonna sit here like some serial killer and stare at them for a while and sort of just let the energy of the day come to me and sort of remember the conversations and the things that we’re focused on. I think we came up with some good rocks. But I think there’s some other things that the notes are saying to me, I just need to pull them out and, and sort of flesh those out and see what I’m going to be working on this quarter because I’ve been spending a lot of time with the intake team. And we came up with a lot of good solutions. The intake team has turned things around for the most part. Now we’re going to implement some changes that we want to see in the department. And then I’m going to be moving off to look at other things to fix that sort of my role these days. Is Mr. Tinker, Mr. Fix Mr. Come in and hear things and say, Well, why are you doing it like that? And maybe this is a faster way,

Tyson Mutrux
says a couple of things I want to address before we get into our topic. I think the idea that you’re never going to the horizon. I think that’s true. And I think we need to sort of accept that because we can’t solve everything at one time. You just can’t and that Whether there’s the importance of the rocks, and every quarter, pushing yourself towards accomplishing those rocks, and you’re making, the focus should be on the progress not necessarily on the horizon, but on the progress taking you towards the horizon. But I think people’s understanding, like you’re not going to fix it all at one time, there’s always gonna be something that you need to quote unquote, fix. The other thing is, is like you said something interesting. I mean, we think we should do an episode about our work environment. So you were talking about how you were going to sort of, you’re going to be staring at those and just kind of let it soak in or whatever. I think that there’s something to that. And I think that we can probably set up our work environment to better suit our roles. And so for your years of setup for your role, mindset for my role, but I think that there are certain ways that we could maybe even bring on an expert to talk about that I’m sure that there’s some there’s an expert in everything these days. So I think it’d be kind of cool to have someone come on and talk about setting up your work environment that’s best suited for your position with the company.

Jim Hacking
And that’s a great idea. So let’s talk real quickly if we can about the guild, you know, I was really excited. The quarter ended last Friday, which happened to be the day that we were meeting with Becca to plan out the next quarter for us in our mastermind, you know, by the time this episode aired, we will have just completed a very successful automation session down in Austin, automation in Austin. And we will be writing a high off that after seeing all of our friends in the guild who wanted to work with Kelsey and with us on figuring out how to do things through automation in their firm. That’ll be exciting. But I was just heartened by the fact on Friday night and Saturday morning, we just had guild member after guild member talking about hitting their highest quarter ever having all kinds of financial success, life success, easing the workload for themselves and for their teammates. It was just, it was just really heartening. And I think I think that we really come up with a good model for the guild, I think that you know, so many of these groups that you know, want to be your coach and all this stuff, I think a lot of this stuff is is pretty common sense. And you just need a place to be with other people who are like minded and growth minded and, and want to improve. But I don’t know that you need much more than that. I think that what we offer with the four masterminds and then the other things that we have going on the trainings and check ins that it for a lot of people, it’s the right amount of oversight, I don’t know that you need like a full time coach breathing down your neck or telling you that you suck or whatever it is that that they do when they give away for Tesla’s or all these other rigamarole. They do to get butts in the seats at their conferences, I think we’ve really gotten to a point where we’re able to give enough support to the law firm owners that need it. And we can talk tough to people when they need to hear it. It was stark seeing the success after success after success. And then we even had some members talk about things that they were struggling with, which is of course, my favorite topic, your favorite topic. And when we really shine is when people are struggling. And we can talk about the things that we’ve seen that have worked or improved.

Tyson Mutrux
It really is the epitome of the rising tide raises all boats, I really think it is and you’re right about I think some of it is just common sense, right. And some of this every once awhile, you just need a little bit of a kick in the butt, which we provide. And sometimes you actually need help. And so and the people that need it, they get what they need when they need it is kind of the way it works is and so if your stroke was on the you know, we throw you on the hot seat, okay, let’s figure out what the problem is, if you need something to, you know, group setting to sort of dig in on things well, yet we’ve got the masterminds and then with those quarterly masterminds, we now added the learning component where you learn something pretty cool. And like for example, like Boulder, we’re bringing in adjacent Selke and Jason sucks in to speak out in Boulder. So I think that there’s a lot of cool things and the expertise of other guild members is also just awesome too. So So at rising tides but anyways, let’s let’s transition into our our topic of the day. And that’s this topic of red, yellow, green, which you brought it up during our quarterly off site for maximum lawyer. And you had mentioned it to me before I thought was a really cool idea. And then we used it, we implemented it for our off site last week. And it’s funny because I’m going to read something to you about so I’m kind of teasing a little bit I’m gonna let you explain it was but I’m gonna read something to you that are one of our team members that because I we talked about implementing it earlier this week. So I told our team that we’re gonna implement it. And I get this message. I think this is why our peeps often brag about our work culture. I think all on the leadership team are emotionally intelligent in ways we have a desire to improve as well, where we see deficiencies in ourselves lead by example. It is very rare. I get a complaint here. We are doing something right. And it was in response specifically to us starting to implement the red yellow green system. And I think it is a it’s a really cool thing. I even have watched some YouTube videos on it now because I want to do it the right way. So talk about what it is why you use it when you use it. I think it’s an extremely valuable way Checking in on employees.

Jim Hacking
So it’s great for several reasons. So you know, we’ve used a lot of traction principals in our firm, you’ve used a lot of scaling up principals in your firm. And I think that they do a really great job of helping you run an efficient and growing company that from the company’s point of view, those systems are very, very good, at least with traction, I feel like there’s a a person hood, a humanity part that’s missing. And Amani and I both had been coached through a company called reboot for a while, which is pretty woowoo. And pretty emotional. So to me, the balance of the two is really nice. But this concept of red, yellow, and green came to me from my coach, Marty Janowitz. And from reboot itself, we’ve used it at the weekend retreat boot camp that I went to, and we’ve used, I use it with Marty, just when I check in, and we use it here at the firm whenever we start a meeting. So it works really well if you’re on a one on one meeting, if you’re in a team meeting, or if you’re even in a hole for a meeting, well just ask people to check in. And it’s a pretty powerful tool, the best thing about it is it’s super simple. So even someone who’s busy or you know, you don’t need you don’t need much technology at all. You don’t need to memorize anything, you just need to sort of ask a question. And the question is, you know, how are you doing on a scale of red, yellow and green? So, you know, there’s a little bit of education read is that I’m over capacity, I’m feeling completely stressed, most of the time spent, burnt out, stressed out, that’s sort of red, yellow is getting my job done, I’m feeling pretty pulled in several directions, at capacity or just over capacity. And then green is things are good, everything looks good, I feel good things are going well. And so after you ask the team member, how they’re doing, or after you have the team check in on how they’re doing as a whole. Then the next question is, well, what can we do to get you from red to yellow? What can we do to get you from yellow to green? Or the question is, what’s making you read what’s making you yellow? And then figuring out what are the things that we can do? It allows for a really quick implementation. It allows for really honest feedback. We did this a couple weeks ago, we had a team meeting with all the paralegals. So that’s 12 people. And this is a group that Jim me that I don’t spend much time with. And I was running the meeting and the people that wanted me to have the meeting Andrew and Amany were saying to me, no, no, we don’t have time. We don’t have time to do red, yellow or green, because there’s 12 people and we’ve got a lot of stuff we need to tell them. Well, all 12 paralegals, all 12 said they were yellow, and I heard it myself. And I heard it from their mouths, and I felt that it was completely heartfelt. I didn’t feel like anybody was bullshitting, or jivin. I thought it was just straight, legit talk and that became the centerpiece of our off site this week. I mean, it’d be really focused and drill down on that, to try to get to that and I think even Andrew and Amani were struck by how powerful that was, and how we really needed to do something.

Becca Eberhart
The Guild is maximum lawyers community of legal entrepreneurs who are taking their businesses and lives to the next level. As a guild member, you’re granted exclusive access to quarterly in person events around the country. The next mastermind is coming up on July 20, and 21st in Denver, Colorado, featuring hotseat sessions and personal coaching with renowned performance coach Jason Selke. This event will give you the opportunity to work directly with Jason, who has helped countless high performing individuals and teams reach their full potential. During the Hot Seat sessions, you’ll gain valuable insights and learn strategies to help you overcome the challenges you’re facing in your practice. For a limited time, you can get your ticket at the lowest early bird price, head to max law to join now and reserve your spot at the upcoming guild mastermind.

Tyson Mutrux
I’ve got some specific questions about it. We have a daily huddle. Right, we try to keep it at right around 15 minutes total. And it’s as you grow. It’s been really actually been really hard. Like yesterday’s went 30 minutes, right? Because just because we had to drill out some things. But would you use it on a daily huddle? Like every daily I feel like that’s too much, but because that feels like it’s just kind of overkill. So what are your thoughts on that?

Jim Hacking
So my team, we meet every day for 1520 minutes? I don’t think it would work well then. I think if you have one on ones with people in between, that’s good. And then we would do our L 10. Or our training on Fridays and that’s an hour and we would start either of those with red, yellow, green.

Tyson Mutrux
Gotcha. Talk about the time whenever Adela said black. And where was that in your the timeframe of whenever you started using red yellow green.

Jim Hacking
That was at a time where Adela was pretty frustrated. She didn’t have the support she needed. She was basically running two departments and still trying to fulfill her HR role. And she was burning the midnight oil she gets in these phases where she really obsesses about getting something done. So she was trying to get a good data set for one of the departments and get it into Google Data Studio. And so this sort of been a year and a half after we started using red, yellow, green, this wasn’t that long ago, it was about six months ago,

Tyson Mutrux
in a situation where they’re red, like, how do you how much do you dig in? I mean, how much is like some of these meetings? Like you don’t want to if I’m assuming if you get some of this as black or red? I mean, you’re limited on time with these meetings. So how much do you dig in on these? Or do you just say, Okay, let’s address this later? Yeah, I

Jim Hacking
mean, one thing to keep in mind, too, I think that it’s important as red, yellow, green is effective for where they are at the moment. But another good sort of side question is, generally over the last week, since the last time we checked, how often have you been red? Or how often have you been yellow, because even yellow can mask some times of red, right? And you want to sort of drill down because they might have just woken up happy that day, but they might genuinely be yellow. So you want to know about that. So I would say if an individual said in front of a group that they were red, I would encourage the leader to talk to that team member separately, shortly after the call. All right,

Tyson Mutrux
I’m sure I’m gonna get questions about this from people. So I’m gonna ask you, like, whenever they give this back, are they taught? Are they thinking about how they are when it comes to business? When whenever it’s personal life all the above? Like, what perspective? Are they looking at it through?

Jim Hacking
That’s a great question. And it reminded me of one other thing I wanted to add is that the the real power of red, yellow, green comes in that pause between when you ask and when they answer. So in other words, sometimes it’s good to hear exactly what comes out of their mouth very spur of the moment. Sometimes it’s good to let them take a breath, and actually check in and see where they’re at. I think that’s where the real power comes in. Because it’s such a simple question. It just lets you say in one word, where you’re at, and then share it. And so either either way is good. If they say right away, if they pause, it’s just what’s supposed to happen. People might say, and have said many times, you know, as far as work goes, I’m yellow, green, trending towards green. But I’ve got this situation, my mom is sick, and I have to go to the hospital every other night after work, and that’s making me red or making me yellow. So it’s a revealing question that way too, because it’s sort of a sideways question and answer into what’s going on in their life, if that’s something they choose to share.

Tyson Mutrux
And with this red, yellow green system, what’s the goal? Like, what are you? What are you trying to accomplish? Both from a firm standpoint? And then from their standpoint, what are they trying to accomplish by by saying what they’re what they are or what when it comes to their color?

Jim Hacking
Well, in our office, we have a lot of people who don’t necessarily like confrontation. So sort of like Colby gives us the language, we need to talk about people’s personality differences. Red, yellow, green, lets us share where we’re at, in an honest way, without feeling the need to necessarily filter or explain, you can say as much or as little as you want. Some people just say, I’m yellow. And that’s it. And that’s all they want to say. And that’s okay, too. So I think the real goal is to fill that gap that traction doesn’t offer, which is the human side that you might have a really efficient machine, but the people running it have all the other stresses of life, and it lets you connect to wherever that is and wherever they’re at. Yeah, that’s

Tyson Mutrux
a really good point. Because you and I’ve had this discussion before, and you talked about how you didn’t feel traction had that really that person component. And I’d say that’s mostly true with scaling up scaling up does have, and this is dirt where you something you would do during like a quarterly offside or quarterly meeting is they’ve got this sheet that you go through, and they kind of goes through goals. And it’s really tough for that individual. And it could be their personal and professional goals. And you go through like, okay, like, what are your financial goals? Like, what do you like for my like your family members? Like, what are some relationships that you want to rekindle all that like, so it’s really interesting that they have that component. But there’s no follow up to that unless you have like some sort of system in place when it comes to blanking on the name of that, or that tool? Yeah. Yeah. So there’s really no follow up on it. Because the dream manager programs without thinking, unless you have some sort of dream manager program, there’s really no follow up unless you build it out. So but you’re totally right about that. But another question I have is, what’s the feedback you’ve gotten from employees? And I want to hear from about the employees, not the leadership side of things, the employee side of things, I think

Jim Hacking
people recognize the power of it. I think that they’ve gotten used to it. It’s part of the culture. I think they feel heard more, I think it’s a real fast forward button to getting to where people actually are and, and it helps reveal problems in the in the machine, it helps reveal when people are too stressed. I mean, when you have all 12 fairly will tell you that you’re yellow, that’s pretty stark. And that’s something that needs to be addressed pretty quickly, because people aren’t going to operate on yellow for far too long of a whole department is that’s a real issue.

Tyson Mutrux
Nailed it. And then real quick leadership side of things. How have they responded to it?

Jim Hacking
Well, it’s just such a simple tool, and it’s it’s pretty elegant, you know? It’s just if I didn’t say this earlier, we have some introverts both on leadership and in the team itself, we have a lot of high fact finders a lot of people that just want to put their head down and do their work. So it does just even a little bit of a crack, allow for some connection for people that might not necessarily find that to be their strong suit.

Tyson Mutrux
Yeah, that’s what I loved about it was just the simplicity of it. That was soon as you said, like, Oh, this is amazing. Alright, Jamie, let’s wrap things up. We’re getting close to time. So before I do, I just want to remind everyone, if you want to join us when to get more information, go to the big Facebook groups, go to Facebook and search maximum lawyer a lot of great information. If you want a more high level conversation and want to learn a lot more, go to max law, we’d love to have you a lot of great members in there that are willing to share a lot of their secrets. So be happy to have you there. And then while you’re listening the rest of this episode, if you don’t mind, give us a five star review, we would greatly appreciate it. Jimmy, what’s your hack of the week.

Jim Hacking
So as we record this, we’re about halfway through Ramadan, and I’m fasting every day. And I’m just going to give a plug for fasting not for religious reasons. But just for body reasons. And for focus reasons. To me, fasting is a great tool to use. If you have a hard day coming up if you need to be at your best. Or if you need to really focus seems counterintuitive that you would turn your attention quickly to the food that’s missing or the water that’s missing. And of course you can fast with water. But it’s just really a nice way to come completely in the moment and it slows your day down. At least it slows my day down and helps me to sort of just go with the flow, I mellow out a little bit more than I used to I used to be very crabby, as evidenced by Ramadan, Jim. But the act of fasting itself is used for health reasons for psychological reasons for religious reasons. Whatever the reasons are. Fasting itself is a pretty powerful tool when you really need to be at your best,

Tyson Mutrux
I am switching my tip, I had a different tip, I’ll use it later, it’s going to be in relation to yours then. So I want to talk about the importance. The tip is the importance of checking in, you need to make sure that you are checking in whatever on whatever that thing is you need to check on on those things that are important. We give you an example. So three weeks ago, I got taped, so I was, you know, go to the gym. And they they’re supposed to take me once a month. And I’ve kind of skipped last three months. And I go in and I get taped and my weights been going up. But we’ve been intentional. So I had lost a bunch of weight intentionally. And then now it’s we’re like focus on building muscle. Well, I go in and my body fat percentage has gone up 3% I had been telling myself a lie whenever it says on the scale every day that my weight was going up because I was building muscle. And I was ignoring the fact that I was eating a bunch of snacks and desserts in between. And I wasn’t focusing on things. And so I have reversed that over the last three weeks. And I’ve used I actually one of the tools I’ve used and I’ve used it quite often over the last couple years is that intermittent fasting, it’s not full on, you know, fasting for the full day. But I mean, I’ll fast for 18 hours sometimes. And it is something that you once you’ve done it a few times you can get get into a flow of things. And it’s actually not nearly as hard as what people think. But it would be much harder to do Ramadan for me, but doing the intermittent fasting, it’s very effective. The point though, is to check in on whatever that thing is. It doesn’t have to be your health. It could be could be work, it could be your kids, whatever, whatever you’re tracking, that’s important. Check in on those things on a regular basis. Don’t go three months, do it monthly, do it weekly or do it whatever schedule makes sense for you. Because otherwise you’ll get a skew and then you’re gonna have to make these massive attempts to get back to where you were. So that’s my tip of the week. Alright, Jimbo, it’s a good one.

Jim Hacking
Good stuff, buddy. I’ll talk to you soon.

Tyson Mutrux
I see brother later.

Speaker 1
Thanks for listening to the maximum lawyer podcast. Stay in contact with your hosts and to access more content content, go to maximum Have a great week and catch you next time.

The post How to Use ‘Red, Yellow, Green’ to Check in on Employee Well-being appeared first on Maximum Lawyer.

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