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Mining Meeting Gold
Managing Resources To Get More Done

“There is gold in them there (hills) meetings”

In your meetings do you want to:

  • Hone your skill as a facilitator

  • Extract the best ideas

  • Invite creativity

  • Protect against members shutting down members

Then look at meetings as mines and each person as a vein of gold. If there are seven people in the meeting then there are seven sources of gold.  Finding the gold in everyone makes your job easier and makes meetings run smoother.  How do you prepare the ground for mining the gold in meetings?  Here are four steps

  1. Have an agenda

  2. Set up guidelines

  3. Use a ore holding car (parking lot)

  4. Follow through, process the gold

Have an agenda. Miners know what they are digging for. Agenda’s establish common ground and honor meeting attendees. Tell participants what you are looking for. If you want silver and don’t tell people, they‘ll bring things they think are gold and waste resources and be frustrated. Let people know how the meeting will run. Example; I will ask each person to share two positives and one concern about our project.  

Set up guidelines. Miners use guidelines going in and out of the mine.   Use guidelines that have worked and have members add to the agreed on list of best practices to be used. Guidelines are added as needed. Example: When brainstorming say, please listen to what others say and support their ideas. Later we can edit.   Example: When a directive person tries to take over or a contemplative person does not automatically share their great ideas say, I want to get everyone’s great ideas who’s first? Then later ask, who has not spoken yet? If someone interrupts or speaks again say, please make a note of your idea and we’ll get back to it after others have a chance.

Guidelines do not create safety; the facilitator reinforcing the guidelines creates safety. 

Use a ore holding car. Miners place ore in holding cars and process it later. Certain things need to be put aside and returned to later. There is gold in some ideas yet everyone is better served by coming back to it later. It may be off topic or need more research or time. Before the meeting ends resolve each issue or make a plan to handle it.

Follow through, process the ore. Miners process what they have mined and create supportive structures that allow them to dig deeper. Follow through with guidelines during the meeting. After the meeting refine the raw ore by following up on everything that was not completed in the meeting. Support everyone by sending the meetings minutes and reminders.  Good follow through creates safety and trust for future meetings and helps you to mine more gold.

How people regard meetings is greatly influenced by what happens when the meeting is over

How do you get the Gold? It’s simple:

  • Encouraged everyone to participate and be creative.

  • Work with them to take the raw ore of their ideas and refine it into precious metal.

Then your projects are more successful and everyone is richer.

Ramone Yaciuk is a Senior Facilitator for Tough Teams, he helps project leaders and teams work together better in the courses Creating High Performance Project Teams and Thriving on Conflict.

 Copyright © 2007, Ramone Yaciuk