Insight For The Modern Man

Fred Boyles
MDI Contributor 

OK, there’s a problem. It’s a disease. And it is something we in our men’s circles must deal with.


Teams have a built-in death trap – it’s the bullshit found in our check-ins.

Men can fall into the habit of taking a stand and checking in at a high number (I’m a 10 out of 10) in order to look good, rather than simply giving a transparent and real check in (I’m a five).

This can go on for years. Team check-ins are supposed to allow men to take down the mask and reveal what area of their lives need work or support. But many men check in with “I had a fight with my wife, but now I am an 9.”

When we met face to face, teams had several men not revealing and hiding behind high numbers.

When overwhelmed with the truth, they would go into their caves for weeks. They’d arise after they forgot about the problem. For months or even years, the men could hide out. This hiding creates a clique of men that are not in the circle to be inspected, criticized or held accountable to their commitments. 

My old team put five team leaders in the job over a three-year period. They were all the newest and most broken men on the team. The clique then beat them up or took over the team meetings. All five team leaders went into their cave for weeks at a time and would not return phone calls or texts. It got so bad that men had to travel to their homes to make sure they were still alive.

This would be the place where a team and a culture would require a comeback.

Solution / Comeback

The comeback from this team disease can be found in the solution: how about having check-ins take place on the phone App called “Marco Polo” – a way to send short video communication. This can be done two to five times per week. That means every man has 8 to 20 check-ins per month. Many times the man can be right in the middle of a problem. By checking-in at this time, he doesn’t really have the time to shift the context to “I’ve got this handled.” He reveals what’s happening in that moment, possibly asking for help at the time.

After 10 months of check ins like this, the new men who normally would start hiding out have now started to really reveal and trust their teammates more and more. 

Today we have a team that brings problems to the team for help before they act. And the teammates use the check-ins as a place to take the mask off, listen to themselves and ask for help as needed.

It’s an honor to be on a team where men embrace being inspected, criticized and held accountable to the actions to which they have committed. What a great shift … available to any team with members who only require a phone and a willingness to be authentic and vulnerable.