be unaware of, may need to know, or would find interesting. New Information may resolve a puzzle; therefore, this segment deliberately precedes the puzzles segment.
Anyone with information to share can offer it during this segment. For example, a Team Lead may mention a change in meeting location that had not yet been announced. One team member may have information about a remotely located team member that he recently visited. Another team member may describe an idea he was trying out from a conference he had attended.
The goal is to turn piecemeal information into general knowledge that the group can use to its advantage. Information sharing also increases each participant's sense of viability within the group.
3. Puzzles. In some work settings, admitting that you're confused is risky. This segment provides a sanctioned opportunity to describe something you've found unclear, confusing, or puzzling, and that you would like explained. If it's a matter that others can clarify quickly, they can do so during the temperature reading. Otherwise, the person who has a puzzle and those who can help resolve it arrange to meet separately later on.
Puzzles about changes to schedules, organizational structure, and roles and responsibilities are often mentioned during this segment, and the very act of surfacing the puzzle rather than letting it fester helps to avoid future problems. In addition, matters that might otherwise become the stuff of rumors are resolved. Often, people come to realize for the first time that several others share their puzzle.
4. Complaints with Recommendations . Most organizations suppress or discourage complaints. By contrast, this segment explicitly invites complaints. However, unlike a gripe session, each person who voices a complaint must offer a recommendation to address the complaint or request recommendations from the group: "My complaint is…and here's how I think we can resolve it." Or, "My complaint is…. Do any of you have a recommendation?"
Pairing complaints with recommendations enables grievances to surface in a constructive manner. Although "Complaints with Recommendations" is Satir's term for this segment, some groups call it "Recommendations for Improvement," aptly shifting the emphasis from what's gone wrong to how to do better.
5. Hopes and Wishes . While appreciations focus on the past, this final segment focuses on the future. In this segment, participants can express a hope or wish pertinent to the group or any of its members (including those not present). Sharing hopes and wishes and discovering how many they have in common helps to end the temperature reading on a high note.
Adapt the Terminology
If people might resist trying a temperature reading because of discomfort with its nomenclature, change it to fit your culture. For example, you can call the temperature reading a Team Check-In. You can change "appreciations" to "kudos," and express them as: "Thanks for . . ." (expressed, of course, directly to the recipient). One team found Appreciations and Hopes and Wishes too mushy and replaced them with Looking Back and Looking Forward.
By whatever name, temperature reading conducted regularly help teams interact and collaborate more effectively. Try a temperature reading in your organization this week. Contact me at if you have any questions about it.