Mood Marbles is a team culture practice that allows each person within a group to communicate how they are feeling at any point in time by using various colored stickies on a chart. The chart (physical or digital) is accessible to all team members and is populated with 1 of 3 colored stickies by every team member.
These stickies correspond to psychological and emotional states:
Stickies are anonymous and represent the current state of the team at any given time.
Providing an anonymous means for team members to communicate how they're feeling is a great way to gauge psychological safety. While simple on the surface, Mood Marbles is a great way to identify cultural red flags that might pop up as a team works together. As a faciltator, you can keep an eye on the Mood Marbles chart to know if the team is feeling safe and comfortable working together, or if there needs to be a discussion or retrospective to tease out details about something that is causing an issue within the team.
Find some dedicated wall space to hang a large post-it paper with an outline of a jar drawn largely on it. If implementing this remotely, create a space on your digital whiteboard tool of choice (Miro, Mural, Jamboard, etc) with a jar outline (see media gallery for example)
Give everyone on the team 3 different colored stickies:
Green = I'm feeling good! Let's keep goin!
Yellow = I'm a little nervous or uncertain, but ok to continue
Red = I don't feel comfortable or safe right now
Tell the team that, any any point in time, they're welcome to put the color stickie that reflects their current emotional and psychological state in the jar
As a facilitator, keep checking the state of the jar to see if any colors are changing as you go. If you start to see some yellows, that's ok! Progress, but keep an eye on the chart. If you start to see a LOT of yellows, or ANY reds, find a way to address the issue...
Tips for addressing yellow and red "marbles"
Check out these great links which can help you dive a little deeper into running the Mood Marbles practice with your team, customers or stakeholders.