Scenario: Insufficient Time

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

The problem presented is much bigger than the time allotted.

 

Tags: Action Learning Coach, WIAL Action Learning

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Comments (12)

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    Anne Martin

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    At the end of the session after asking the problem presenter or the group what actions are you going to take as result of this session, I would ask the team where they are at in the problem solving process in order to allow the team to come to the same conclusion that more time is needed. Then I would ask the team about meeting again to continue to work together to solve the problem and follow up by asking if everyone is clear as to what actions each person (or the problem presenter) will take between now and the next session.

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    Meredith Persily Lamel

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    First of all, I am wondering whether in this scenario the time allotted is because this is a one session approach to action learning or whether there is a possibility to meet again at a future time. Let’s assume that this is a finite time and a single session and that the problem is simply too big to possibly solve during that session. In that case, I would do an early intervention and start with “How are we doing as a team” and see if this issue emerges. I would then ask the group to write down their view of what problem we are trying to solve during this session (I might even state the end time to reinforce the time limit). I think 9 out of 10 times one of these two questions will naturally bring the group to better focus. I think it’s important to also trust the process in this situation. If the team simply continues trying to attack a problem too big in scope, I would focus on the team learning in the process. I would remind them that I will be asking what actions they will take in X minutes. You might be surprised what comes up as valid actions despite a problem being too large in scope. Perhaps the action is for the team to meet with the sponsor to lessen the scope or request more time to solve the problem. Regardless, I think we can debrief the session with a variety of interesting learning questions around the importance of taking on realistic problems, identifying constraints, seeking clarification early in the process. Again, even if we don’t make a lot of progress on the problem itself, I would expect tremendous learning from the leadership perspective around learnings that can be applied to their jobs or to future AL sessions.

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    Jean_1959

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    I would ask the team how they would like to handle it. I might be calling the sponsor back to the meeting to gain clarification of expectations during the agreed upon time frame. I might be setting up additional meetings. However; the expectations of the problem, time, etc…should have been part of the contracting stage.

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    Leonor Deborah G. Velasquez

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    I would pose a question to the team, to ask them if the problem could be broken down into small pieces and identify which ones are most urgent and within the control of the PP. Towards the end, I would ask the PP for his/her action steps and when that is done I would then ask the team how they would like to move forward given the identified action steps. I will also ask what they think, if there was a succeeding AL session, would be a good time frame to fully resolve the problem. After the session has ended I would talk to the sponsor to brief him on the results and ask him what he thinks are the next best steps.

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    HEEJAE YOO

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    As the coach, I could suggest two activities.
    First, I will notify to PP that the problem is much bigger than the time allotted. I propose that PP would subdivide the problem for making it possible to be solved in the time we are allotted.
    Second, I inform to team that we are lacking of time because PP’s problem is too big. and I will ask the team if the team could devote more time to it.

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    fidesabad

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    Initially, I would ask the PP what part of the problem he/she presented is within his/her area of responsibility, because he/she would be asked at the end of the session what action steps he/she would take regarding the problem. That would then focus the questions/discussion on that aspect of the problem. At the end of the session I would ask the group to reflect: “In what other aspects of the problem can Action Learning be used?”

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    Monthon

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    If this situation happens before the session, as Coach I would work on with the Sponsor to break it down and explain the process and benefit of Action Learning. This would help sponsor understand the problem and have some clear picture on how Action Learning would deal with this situation and help to identify the members for the Action Learning. It also help to have an agreement that how many sessions that need to arrange to deal with this problem.

    If this situation happen in the session. I would make sure that the team could see the same picture as coach that the problem is bigger than the time allow in one session. So the intervention was
    – “Team, Can you write down your understanding of the real problem?”
    – “Do we have an agreement on the problem? Yes or No?”
    -Then follow with “How we help our team to have an agreement on the problem?”

    Another 10 minutes, with questions
    – “Team, Can you write down your understanding of the real problem?”
    – “Do we have an agreement on the problem? Yes or No?”
    – “Can we take a few minute to reflect on the size of the problem and time that we have to help PP to have some action?”
    – Then, “How we could better in handle the bigger problem likes this in one session?”

    At the reflection time, a question on this issue would ask likes-
    – How we could prepare or deal with the bigger problem in the future?
    – Are there anything that we could do in dealing with this bigger problem?

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    Sridar

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    Firstly, would ask the team if the problem is urgent? if the problem is within their control?

    Then will ask the team whether the team is agreeable to the problem.

    Upon getting a response from every team members, will ask every team member to write down and read out the problem.

    Once again will ask every team members if they are agreeable to the problem.

    Then would ask the team of the impact of presenting a major problem within the given time frame.

    Then would ask the team of the impact if problems are not prioritised

    Finally would ask for the team to decide on what action the team would take within the given time constraint

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    Elaine Henry-McQueen

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    This happened in a Team I was coaching. It was a team I had just introduced action learning to, and they committed to one session. In working through the problem, they recognised together that more time was needed, and we jointly set an additional session to continue at a mutually convenient time. The commitment level at the second session was higher than the first, and the sessions resulted in both actions and learning!

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    Muhammad Ridwan

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    On a practice session while I’m doing my certification class, this situation happened a lot. And some coach asks question “weather team has action to take this time?” or another chance if team ask for more time, coach will asks “how much time do we need?”

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    Ina Sugiarto

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    coach reminds problem presenter that the duration has over, and than problem presenter should come to the real problem to finish session of problem presentation, and asks “how much time do you need?”. Moreover problem presenter will be more concentrate the team member to discuss the problem, then asking “How are we doing as group so far?”

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    DrBea

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    Lots of great answers.
    I would turn it back to the team. I’d remind the team in xx minutes I’ll be asking what actions you’ll be taken, given that what’s the best use of the remaining time we have.

    I would also ask them how they want to handle the parts of the problem we did not get to today.

    Happy Coaching
    Bea

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