If you’re surprised, you weren’t listening

Suddenly having to deal with angry people or, conversely, sitting in an empty room, just stinks.


But when it happens, it shouldn’t come as an ugly surprise.


Ironically, members of groups you work with usually broadcast their dissatisfaction well in advance of the final breakdown (not to be confused with “The Final Countdown”), if you pay attention to the warning signs:

  1. Participants can’t agree on or won’t engage in defining what the group’s goals are;
  2. Attendance drops and stays down;
  3. Group members won’t return calls or emails in a timely fashion;
  4. People complain about, or focus on, small or insignificant items; and
  5. They start holding side or substitute meetings without including you.

However, you can minimize the chances of having this happen to you by:

  • Making clear the expectations you have for coalition participants;
  • Doing nothing until you and participants define success for the group;
  • Agreeing on how you will measure progress towards success;
  • Having a clear plan for providing information, interaction and support;
  • Checking often to see if expectations are being met; and
  • Moving swiftly to resolve expectation issues as they occur.

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