Put them on the hook

My team once had a problem, where one member of our team kept derailing our team meetings. He would often go off on tangents during the meetings that tailspin into pointless discussions with the entire team of about 10 people in attendance.

At one point, he was assigned to be the moderator of our team meetings. I remember thinking that this move was a disaster – putting the person who most derailed our meetings in charge was like designating the naughtiest child in the class to be the class monitor.

However, I had to soon change my mind. Once given the responsibility of moderating a meeting, the teammate in question rose to the occasion and did a good job. The decision to give him the moderation duties turned out to be a masterstroke. Our meetings ended on time and they went from dreary dead ends we dreaded to productive sessions that we looked forward to.

Before writing people off, put them on the hook and give them a chance to do differently. My class monitor analogy from earlier wasn’t misplaced – teachers know this trick and employ it from time to time.

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