For a perfect team boost, try the Nicolas Cage Gauge

Ben Crothers Ben Crothers • 3 June 2022

Doing a team check-in is a great way to boost camaraderie and trust, and Nicolas Cage himself has given us a fun way to do just that!

Image for this blog post

Nicolas Cage. A scion of acting genius? An over-rated full-tilt maniac? Whatever your view, there's no doubt that he's graced us with some - ahem - iconic movie performances. 

But, thanks to Jamella Espley, who created it and shared it at Delivercon 21 conference (and her tweet here), Nicolas Cage has gifted us a fun and insightful way to get your next online meeting off to a great start - the Nicolas Cage Gauge! This activity is a great way to increase team camaraderie and trust in any meeting, by giving everybody a chance to share their mood, in a rapid, light-hearted way. 

It works best using an online collaboration canvas (like Miro, Mural, LucidSpark, or FigJam), and takes anywhere from 5 minutes to 25 minutes, depending on how many people you have in your group, and how much of a conversation you want to have about the "results'.

How to do the "Nicolas Cage Gauge' team check-in

Let's take a look at how to do it, or as the man himself said in Con Air (my personal fav movie of his): "Well, Baby-O, it's not exactly mai-thais and yatzee out here but... let's do it!”

Step 1 - Set up a ‘Nicolas Cage Gauge’ panel in the online collaboration canvas of your choice. Feel free to download and use the image below:

The Nicolas Cage Gauge, a set of different faces of Nicolas Cage to represent different moods
The Nicolas Cage Gauge, created by Jamella Espley

Step 2 - Start with a statement about how it's good to check in with each other about our mood before we get underway in our meeting, and to do that we're going to use the Nicolas Cage Gauge.

Step 3 - Ask everybody to ‘pick your Nick’; put a sticky note (or a circle or something similar) on the Nicolas Cage that matches their mood. 

Step 4 - Take a bit of time to chat about the various moods, especially if there are any that are STRESSED, ANGRY, or BEES!

It's guaranteed to stimulate a great conversation!

Feel free to change up the question you ask, too. The last time I used this it was at a Gamestorming Excursion workshop on how to tackle hybrid work. I asked everybody to ‘pick their Nick’ according to how they felt about hybrid meetings and hybrid work. It started a really insightful and candid discussion about hybrid work, and helped to bond a group of strangers around a common challenge instantly.

>> Find out more about this workshop for how to get your team ‘hybrid happy’


Get power moves in your inbox every week

Subscribe to our newsletter, and receive news, tips and resources to help you have a better impact at work.

Keep learning

Try this fun team activity: the Cheesy Check-in

18 October 2022

Some icebreakers are cheesy, but this one is so bad it’s good! Try the Cheesy Check-in game to boost your team’s camaraderie, and have a laugh along the way.

Map your Team's Future with The Road Trip Canvas

7 June 2022

If you use visual frameworks when you facilitate meetings and workshops, you might like to try this fresh take on a regular metaphor: The Road Trip Canvas!

Other categories to dive into

Tips and techniquesUpdates