Scenario: Conflicting Priorities

As an action learning coach, how would you handle the following situation:

Part way through the session, one of the members mentioned a meeting they have that will require them to leave early. Several other participants mention they need to go to the same meeting, leaving only 2 participants for the session.

Tags: Action Learning Coach, WIAL Action Learning

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Comments (10)

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    Paritosh Pathak

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    In such a scenario, I would first ask the group about the impact of leaving the session in between on the problem at hand. Encourage more and more responses by saying “thank you , what else?”.

    Then follow it up by asking the group “what is the impact of some members of the group wanting to leave on those who have made a commitment and are staying to complete the session?” Encourage more and more responses by saying “thank you , what else?”.

    The ask “how would the group like to handle this situation?”

    By now the group should be willing to stay back or at least work to finish things in time.

    In case someone suggest a reschedule, the impact question will come back until the group agrees to stay back and complete the session.

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  • Avatar

    Sylvia

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    1st: “Before you go on, I have a question to you all: What happens to the focus – on the problem we’re discussing – inside our minds when a statement like that is made?”
    2nd: “What’s the impact?”
    3rd: “How do you want to handle this kind of situation from now on?” – 3 minutes maximum.
    4th: “Do we have consense? Yes / No / Enough for this session?”
    Finally: “We still have some time. Who has the next question?”

    Reply

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    Marina Mazi

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    I would negotiate with them some more time because the section with only two people would’t work well.

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    deviantthinking

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    I would stop the group and ask, “What is the impact of this on the group?” and then “How does the group want to proceed?”
    It is up to the group to come up with how to handle this.
    Also I would ask “are there any ground rules that we want to establish going forward?” Then let the group decide how they will handle this interruption in the moment and in the future.

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    Johnamos

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    I will ask the team: ” Team, what do you think the impact will be when we are left only with 2 participants?” and ” How can we solve this as a group?”

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  • Avatar

    Eric Zabiegalski

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    I would make a statement/question such as ” I’m observing that several people in the group want to leave before the session is complete and you have arrived at a solution, what happens to the group when this happens?”” or “what kind of message might this send?” i may then do a pulse check.

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  • Avatar

    Carol Kam

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    I will ask the team 1) how do the team want to proceed ? 2) what will be the impact in terms of achieving the expected outcomes? 3) what will be the impact in terms of the commitment of individual learning or team learning? Let the team to determine the best way to proceed and reflect on the impacts of their behaviour

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  • Avatar

    Yang Liu

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    I will ask the team do they have to go to this meeting? If no we can continue ,if yes i will ask when they have to go and for the rest of time,what suggestion they have to make our set meeting productive and effective?

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  • Avatar

    Preston Yu

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    It will seem less productive if there are only 2 participants left in the group. I will ask the team what is the impact to entire team in this case and ask them how they would like to proceed from here, to continue or reschedule another date/time. Also, to let them ponder over the impact if the organization is lacking full commitment from the team.

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  • Avatar

    DrBea

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    In the real life situation that this is based on the departing members just left. Not allowing time for a couple quick question. I love all the questions identified above.

    Ultimately, I ended up doing an intervention via email.

    I started with the standard 3 questions, which each of the participants responded to. The answers of the remaining 2 participants were low scores, and what we could do better would be to adhere to the time commitments we had agreed to – no excuses.

    My next round of questions were –
    How respectful are we being of each others time by adhering to the schedule we agreed to?
    Why is it important that we plan to attend the entire session as we had agreed?
    For future sessions – How will we insure that all participants keep the time commitment to this team?

    We had some great learning and great exchanges and all participants were all present for the entire session for the next meeting 🙂

    Happy Coaching
    Bea

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