Scenario: Consensus

As an Action Learning Coach how would you handle the following situation:

The team is having trouble reaching consensus on what the real problem is.

Tags: Action Learning Coach, WIAL Action Learning, WIAL Talk

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Comments (6)

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    Don Chan

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    It can comes to the normal dialogue: the team to rate the scale of the team performance, have each participants to write down the problem and ask whether they reach the consensus. If these are not successful finally, I will intervene by asking the process questions below.

    Assume all participants are doing their best to clarify the problems. I would ask “what have the team done in order to understand more the presented problem?”, followed by “what should we do more/ less so that we can reach the consensus?”.

    If the situation is really worse, I will ask the problem presenter to break the problems into smaller parts, otherwise the team may feel too complex to carry forward.

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    Ismady Norsyam Ishak

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    As a coach it is important to do quick team check.
    • Team in the scale of 1-10 what are we doing well?
    • Are we close to the problem? Yes or No?
    • What can we do better? Give them some time to progress and getting them to write down the consensus

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    Alex Wong

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    Depending on the scenario, I would take two approachings.

    If the lack of consensus is due largely to ineffective discussion and we have more time, I would ask help the team one or two of the following questions to address:
    – Team, how are we doing as a group? How can we do better?
    – Team, on a scale of 1-10 how open are we to each others’ opinions and inputs?
    – Team, on a scale of 1-10 how close are we to a concensus? What can we do better?

    If we are running out of time, I would address how the team would like to proceed. For example, if there’s only 1 out of 8 team members who seem to be consistently disagreeing, I may ask:
    – Team, we have 7 out of 8 of you who have agreement, how would you like to proceed?
    – Team, we have 10 mins left till the end of the session, how would you like to proceed?

    The team could very well decide to extend the time, have more sessions, or agree to proceed based on the agreement of the 7 pax. But ultimately, it is the team who must decide and take responsibility for the decision.

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    DrBea

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    After the standard 3 questions: “How are we doing as a team on a scale of 1 – 10?”, “What are we doing well?”, and “What can we do better?” and attempting to write it down – if we were still are not in agreement, I would ask “What would help us get to agreement?”
    Some potential questions I might ask are:
    What do we mean by consensus?
    What other tools do we have that would help us get to consensus?
    Are we hearing themes? How might we want to process those themes?

    Happy Coaching
    Bea

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    wthimmes

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    I would try to reverse their thinking. I would ask them all to write down individually what they feel the problem “isn’t” By changing their perspective I would hope to pull consensus from some commonalities in how their new answers reveal certain trends in how they are scoping the problem statement. Then I would ask them to write a revised statement of what the problem is. Bill,

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      Owen Yeung

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      If consensus cannot be made on what the real problem is, I’ll ask the team to do a pulse check of 1-10 on how far they feel we’re now from the real problem. From there, invite team members to reflect and come up with the next steps. I’ll also what do they observe with regard to different interpretation of the problem and how does this impact on them? The team may decide whether to continue with the conversation (and for how long?) or they may wish to rephrase the problem statement to achieve better alignment.

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