Frustration with checkouts

Hi All,
just wanted to share my constant frustration with checkouts. I think there’ s a real structural problem at having checkouts at the end of meetings. What do you do if the meeting did not go well for you? It feels like dropping a bomb and then leaving. The voices who would need most to speak out (those with less rank and those less satisfied by the meeting) are the least likely to do so. Instead they would just go with the flow and join the rest of the opinions…thus giving further legitimacy to an unsatisfactory process.

I d go as far as saying that checkouts are counterproductive by default
Either they are intentionally inserted into the meeting plan and carefully designed into the process, or better to skip them!.. or at least just call them ‘self-celebration’:slight_smile:

Personally, I’ve decided to refuse to engage in checkouts if I feel there is not enough time or if I believe that the rest of the group would not be able to go home with the feedback and self-reflect on it…

Any best practices for facilitating a checkout? (apart from giving it enough time)
How are your checkout experiences? any insights?

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Having a good container for checkouts starts long before the checkouts itself.

Of someone has a bomb to drop during checkouts, then I’d bet there were signs that were otherwise missed over the course of the meeting.

When there’s space for objections, feedback in general and awareness and sensitivity throughout the meeting, then there is unlikely to be some big surprise to share. If people are waiting till checkout to aire their heavy grievances, or basic feedback isn’t sufficiently invited and held in the meeting there’s a bigger problem than checkouts.

But sometimes hard stuff is shared in checkouts, and that’s ok. The checkout itself isn’t meant to be a place to process in general, so coming back to that material either outside the meeting, in the next meeting, or through integration of feedback and change of practices are all options to loop back around to feedback.

One structure I like for checkouts that’s a little old school I think is pluses and deltas: plusses are good things and deltas are things to change. It’s a structure that leans forward a bit if there are things that aren’t working.

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I experienced this recently. The last person in the checkout round said how frustrated they were and used blaming language. A few others said they were willing to stay on longer to process the impact, but the original speaker declined. It felt very messy and sad.

But I don’t think it was because we have checkouts as I’ve definitely seen bombs being dropped and the person hightails it out of there in non-sociocratic meetings. I suspect there is some need for safety being met when someone does this. (I get to say what I want and not have to listen to anyone respond.) So I would try to figure out how you can communicate how you felt when that happened, which you obviously can do privately or in the next meeting.

Another thing that’s interesting is whether you do checkouts or not, that person is probably carrying that bomb anyway, and it’s not necessarily going to diffuse itself. Checkouts might not work perfectly, but if they allow bombs to be dropped rather than carried around and festering one might consider it a net positive.

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Hi, I think the question or prompt for the checkout is important. I have had good experience with asking for feedback on the meeting AND something you’re looking forward to. It sort of lifts the spirits at the tail end and makes it easier to give and receive “negative” feedback.

I also think checkouts need plenty of time and space, of course depending on context (how often you meet; what topics will be dealt with; how well does the group know each other and get along). But I find it sometimes tempting and often easy to go over time with content and shrink the checkout, but when I have remembered – it’s been good to end a meeting five or ten minutes before time and everyone having spoken their peace.

In my experience checkouts are one of those things that seem unimportant and easy to skip, but give them the attention they need and the invisible threads of connection and regeneration will start germinating and soon enough you have an unstoppable flowerpatch :wink: :sunflower: :blossom: :tulip: :seedling: :rosette: :lotus: :sun_with_face:

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