Dealing with a Meeting Problem #1: “They’re all Priority One!”

Dealing with a Meeting Problem #1:  A group would not prioritize a list of activities because they felt that all were very important and that prioritizing them would allow some to drop off and not get done. The support organization had only a limited number of resources and limited time. First of all, how do you get a group to set priorities?

Meeting Problem

Dealing with a Meeting Problem


  1. Separately develop the criteria that proves the importance of the activities.
  2. Admit that all the actions are top priority or they would not have been discussed.
  3. Ask them to prioritize the criteria, one relative to each, other using the Bookend tool.
  4. Build a Decision-Matrix to align the criteria with the activities and develop a sense of relative importance, without omitting anything.

Dealing with a Meeting Problem #2:  “Don’t Measure Me”   

Dealing with a Meeting Problem #2:  An organization is culturally biased against SMART measures and hard objectives during a business process improvement initiative. History has caused them to resist, cheat, or fall victim to objective measures. Since the facilitator must get the group to define SMART measures and objectives, what should they do?


  1. Follow a method that allows the group to define their measures—by first defining the rewards, benefits, risks, challenges, and then associated measures.
  2. To ensure that key measures have been identified, ask participants to draw upon benchmarking of competitors and other industries
  3. Have the group identify their concerns with SMART objectives and develop strategies or actions to address their concerns. Consider the Content Management tool.

Dealing with a Meeting Problem #3:  One-Day Wonder

Dealing with a Meeting Problem #3:  A diverse group has one day to define an improved critical scheduling process. Because the improved process needs clear roles and responsibilities, how do we get them going?


  1. Define a limited deliverable very clearly with the project manager. Focus on what can be done within the time frame.
  2. Have the participants complete prior to the workshop, such as benchmarking, assessment tools, etc.
  3. Conduct a quick team building exercise at the start to pull the team together as quickly as possible.
  4. Time box steps as necessary with precise rhetoric that questions “Did we get the most important stuff?” and NOT “Did we get everything?”.

Dealing with Meeting Problems #4:  Two Groups

Dealing with a Meeting Problem #4:  We have two groups, each from a different office, yet each are jointly responsible for a project. One was actively involved up front (the project manager is from that area) while the other was not involved in the initial meetings. The second group feels no ownership even though they have a key role. How do you get them together?


  1. Meet with the second group first in developing the workshop and to help them understand what has developed, their role, and clarify the issues that concern them.
  2. Meet with executive management to reinforce their support for the project because their visible support motivates others.
  3. Launch a formal kick-off meeting and provide some team-building exercises.

Dealing with Meeting Problems #5:  Executive Solution

Dealing with a Meeting Problem #5:  A workshop designed to focus on business process improvement opportunities. The workshop develops goals, objectives, principles, and strategies of the initiative. The executive participated in the workshop. After the workshop, the executive decides to change the output to suit himself.


  1. Publish the original results for distribution to all stakeholders as soon as possible.
  2. Also have the project manager intervene on behalf of the project team members.
  3. Carefully document the risks and rewards associated with the mandated change.
  4. Next time, emphasize ground rules about consensus building and educate the executive, prior to the workshop, on empowerment, ownership, and accountability.


Meanwhile, MG RUSH  professional facilitation curriculum focuses on practicing methodology. Each student thoroughly practices and rehearses tools before class concludes. While some call this immersion, we call it the road to building impactful facilitation skills.

Therefore Become Part of the Solution While You Improve Your Facilitation, Leadership, and Methodology Skills

Take a class or forward this to someone who should. MG RUSH Professional Facilitation curriculum provides an excellent way to earn up to 40 SEUs from the Scrum Alliance, 40 PDUs from PMI, 40 CDUs from IIBA, and 3.2 CEUs. As a member of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF), our Professional Facilitation, our training fully aligns with IAF Certification Principles. Consequently, our professional curriculum fully prepares alumni for their Certified Professional Facilitator designation.

Furthermore, all of our classes immerse students in the responsibilities and dynamics of effective facilitation and methodology. Because nobody is smarter than everybody, attend an MG RUSH  Professional Facilitation, Leadership, and Methodology workshop offered around the world. See MG RUSH  for a current schedule.

Additionally, go to the Facilitation Training Store to access proven in-house resources. There you will discover fully annotated agendas, break timers, and templates. Finally, take a few seconds to buy us a cup of coffee and please SHARE with others.

In conclusion, we dare you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.

Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, PSPO, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Monthly Facilitation blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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