Timing: 15 minutes, including discussion


Team members gather face to face. The game leader asks,

On a scale of 1 to 5, how happy are you with work? 1 means “not very happy.” 5 means “wicked happy.” How happy are you with work?

In the style of rock-paper-scissors, players simultaneously hold up one hand and a number of fingers.

The number of fingers each player hold up is the player’s happiness metric. The game leader records either each person’s happiness metric and the team’s average happiness metric. The leader may track happiness metric over time, on a chart like this:

Based on the team’s current happiness metric, the game leader may guide the team through a discussion. Why are we so happy today–what is going well that we should continue doing? Why are we so unhappy today–what do we need to fix? Because happiness metric is a leading indicator of team success, the leader’s goal is to discover how to maintain or improve the team’s happiness.

Learning points:

  • Use an average (mean or median) metric to track the team’s happiness over time.  Use the team’s happiness metric to lead discussion points such as, “Our index is 3.5.  Why?  What could we do to be a 4?”
  • Use individual happiness scores to lead private (or public) discussions with individual team members.  Use the individual’s happiness metric to lead discussion points such as, “You said you were ‘3 happy’.  Why?  What would make you ‘4 happy’?”


  • Happiness Poker is an alternate way to gauge the team’s happiness metric. In this variation, the game leader gives each player a partial deck of poker cards, ranging from 1 (ace) through 10. The leader asks the team, “How happy are you with work?” In the style of Planning Poker, the players simultaneously hold up a card to indicate their current happiness metric. The leader records the result and leads a discussion.

Link to game: http://kasperowski.com/2011/06/rock-paper-scissors-happiness.html

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