Scenario: Time Check

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

A member uses their phone to check the time.

 

Tags: Action Learning Coach, WIAL Action Learning

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Comments (16)

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    Ram Gopalan

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    Hmm. This is a tricky one. If they were just checking time, it would have been a quick glance at their mobile. In such a case, I would let it pass. If they lingered longer on their mobile checking messages etc., then it would be an opportunity to intervene

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    michaelmadera

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    “I noticed that someone checked the time on their phone. Did you notice that?
    How do we want to handle the urge to use our devices during meetings?”

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    Colleen Carruthers

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    I’m really struggling with this one – not sure whether I’d go with Michael’s version or simply see whether this becomes a pattern first.

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    Heather Tan

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    Personally, I don’t see any problem with checking time on the phone cos I do that too when I forgot to wear my watch. I will only intervene if the person starts to fiddle with the phone beyond checking time which is a simple one button action that takes less than 5 seconds.

    Depending on the team dynamics, I may choose a more direct intervention similar to that suggested by Michael or a less direct intervention such as

    “How focused are you on this conversation in the last 10 mins? Please rate yourself, 1 being totally distracted and 10 being totally focused. What is causing the distraction? What can we do to help everyone stay focused? “

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    srolph2015

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    I would make a note of this but would not intervene. If it became a pattern, I might highlight it as part of an intervention but not necessarily. It depends on whether it appears to be impacting the process or other members. If I were to intervene, I would say, “Has anyone else observed?” “What is the impact of this?” “What will we do moving forward?” If it were apparent that the member was checking email or texting, beyond just checking the time, I would do the following:

    – If it were brief, I would make a note but would not intervene. I likely would intervene if it occurred again.

    – If it were a protracted situation and the member essentially checked out of the process, I would intervene as above: “Has anyone else observed?” “What is the impact of this?” “What will we do moving forward?”

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    Michele Hermans-De Craan

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    if it happens only ones, no problem.
    if the same person check time again I will intervene and ask to the need for this checks. I will complete this intervention with connecting his reaction on this action to his leadership skills so it will become a learning moment

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    Lan Nguyen

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    I would not intervene at that moment, but look to see if others are checking the time on their watch or from a clock in the room. If it appears that one or more members were frequently checking the time, I would bring it up in the debrief and ask what might be the reason for it, if it gets in the way of the team’s focus/performance, and if so, then I would ask what the team would suggest to about it.

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    donna

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    A quick check wouldn’t bother me–but I would notice what is happening with the group. Did others notice? If it was longer than the quick check–I would ask the group what are they observing for engagement? If the group declines to exercise any “censure”–then I would not. Likely though the group will notice and I might ask what is the impact?

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    Marisol Lopez

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    In this day and age, the phone is now considered a watch. Provided that the member was just checking the time, I wouldn’t consider it as disruptive behavior. But if the member is always doing it and even reading a text message, then I would bring it to the attention of the group and ask them what is the impact on the group when some members are distracted by their phones and what do they want to do about it.

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      Colleen Carruthers

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      I agree that the phone has replaced the watch, and I want to bring things to the group’s attention that is important and I just don’t think one quick check is an issue yet.

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    Joseph

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    I would probably make a note first and see whether it becomes a pattern of the same person or the group

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    Vow

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    Although cell phones may be used for several purposes including to check the time, it carries a huge potential for distracting participants away from the focus of the meeting. Not all particiants may have developed the discipline or accept the need to control their desire to check in with their phones, so allowing one person to do so unnoticed may trigger permissions to other participants to do likewise. So I am proposing an intervention which must be balanced by the obligation on the coach not to police the session or not to come over as a sort of strict school teacher. If the group has not set any norms about the use of electronic devices, I would probably say “I have observed that one member has checked his phone. Would the group like to set any norms around the use of electronic devices during this session?” This draws attention to the behaviour and also reminds the group of its power to self-regulate. If the group had already set norms about the use of electronics, then as coach I would point out that I observed that one participant seems not to be adhering to that norm and ask the group what it would like to say or do about that.

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    Reflexões sobre o mundo a nossa volta...

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    With appropriate intervention as CALC, I could make a question to group about impact of distraction during AL meeting as eletronic equipments, smartphone and other… after that I could make a question to group how we can handle with it in our group? Finally, I can reafirm time duration of AL session today.

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    Adam Walz

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    I rarely get to attend a meeting nowadays where there isn’t at least one person that would try an incognito phone check during the session despite the ground rules. I tend to agree with the others that a coach should note the behavior and monitor this for patterns, but refrain from a direct intervention at this point. If there is a reoccurring behavior or others start to follow suit then asking the group to recap the ground rules seems like a good starting place. To what extent are we being true to each and every one of these rules? Have you noticed any breaches in our rules? If they are clueless and non-responsive, I might tell them that I’ve seen one of these rules broken. The key question is how can we as a group best support each other and raise our collective awareness to ensure that we’re following the ground rules.

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    ams65wp

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    I would note one occurrence. if there were subsequent occurrences, I would intervene and share an observation, ask the group about the impact of the occurrence on the AL team’s work, and ask the team how they would like to manage this in future.

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    DrBea

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    I would make note of it. When it was time to do a check in – I would start with the 3 standard questions. How are we doing as a team? What are we doing well? and what can we do better? If no one mentioned it I would say – I observed someone checking their phone. Did anyone else notice that? (Obvious answer – yes). What’s the impact of the use of electronics on the team? (Here’s where it gets tricky in this day and age, since a number of teams feel it is useful.) What should our norm for the use of electronics be? (Be ok with whatever they come up with. Many people use devices for note taking, etc. I’m finding off is less and less frequently the response.)

    Happy Coaching
    Bea

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