I enjoyed the podcast on Ground Rules, however, it did not mention what to do if a ground rule is violated. Say, a member of the team shows up late to the meeting? Should I say something then, wait until afterwards, etc.?



galway's picture

I think that by simply pointing out a violation to a peer-developed rule during the meeting will often be enough of a deterrant.

In the past I haven't used ground rules but have used modified feedback to point out inefficient behavior: "Thanks for that presentation Bob. It was very informative, but we're now at 10 minutes and your allotted time was 5. When you run over your time you make it difficult for us to get the meeting completed on schedule. Can we chat afterwards about what you can do differently next time?". My team is familiar with the feedback model and use it themselves, so I believe that the embarassment is minimal but the point is well heard.

If anyone else disagrees, I think that both Tony and I could benefit so I'd be interested to hear it.

rwwh's picture
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The main purpose of ground rules the "Manager Tools" way is that your team all agree on them. Therefore, you will not be required to enforce them in person; everyone will help.

It is not productive to nail someone during the meeting. If someone comes late, continue with the meeting as if nothing happened. Peers may notify him of his error. If he is a direct of yours, give him feedback after the meeting.

Going over the allotted time slot is a totally different matter. This affects your own reputation as organizer of the meeting. Rather than telling someone just after he ran over time, you will force him to end his subject on time by reminding him of the remaining time during his presentation ("Bob, you still have 2 minutes"). You will not allow anyone to go over their time slot in the meeting. If it is obvious that the subject will run over time, interrupt it before the slot is over, and discuss with the group how and when the issue must be settled (e.g. in another meeting).

galway's picture

Sorry, duplicate post.

galway's picture

Are you suggesting that the enforcement of ground rules be left completely to the discretion of the group? Do you have no recourse if the group does not efficiently organize itself?

jhack's picture

Lateness by a direct can be handled by feedback, not in front of the group. That's not really a "ground rule" in my book.

If someone keeps interrupting, yes, as facilitator you need to enforce the rule. "Fred, please let Barney finish..."

In other cases, the group may enforce for you. "Wilma, turn off your crackberry!"

There are going to be gray areas. "Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement."


asteriskrntt1's picture

Embarrassment should be non-existent. Calling someone out in public is not feedback (at least not in the MT world). Feedback is done in private.


todmv01's picture
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I recommend not pointing out the violation in public because you don't know the cause. Why risk tapping that emotional bank account when you don't have all the facts. Stick to the agenda. Ignore the late arrival. Use the feedback model in private. Also avoid the temptation of saying "Can I give you some feedback?" in front of the attendees as you close the meeting.

jchase's picture

I would only add that certain cases require intervention- side conversations, distractions for the group, etc. However, I would interrupt to get the meeting/presentation back on track, then follow up with the person after for feedback.

rwwh's picture
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rwwh's picture
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@todmv01: I can remind you that in MT feedback the cause is irrelevant. The only thing that is important is the behavior, the effects of the behavior, and (in case of adjusting feedback) the future behavior.

bdelfavero's picture

Much in the same way that the group helps determine what the ground rules are, my team also lets the group suggest ways to enforce the rules. In some projects, the enforcement has been a singing a song (back to the embarassment factor), and on others it has been a fine ($1-$5 /infraction) with the proceeds either going to charity or for a team celebration.