Lisa arrived at the meeting with a plan to participate. She had some ideas she wanted to share thoughts she believed could assist the team in moving ahead on the issue the group was discussing. The meeting was going well, and everyone participated during the discussions. It was at an opportune moment Lisa shared her idea.
The people weren’t as enthusiastic about it as she believed they would. Therefore, she spoke a little more about the idea, hoping that they would be able to understand. A few people weren’t convinced that her concept was right in the discussion; however certain others were more intrigued and inquired regarding her idea and the concerns that be raised if the idea were implemented.
The facilitator soon said that Lisa’s idea was an excellent one. However, she decided to place her idea to the Issue Bin – so that we could move on to the agenda for the meeting – and also to allow the group to revisit her idea in the future.
Lisa’s heart was pounding. She’d heard of this before. In the previous company she worked for, they named that Issue Bin thing a Parking Lot. When an idea was placed into the Parking Lot, the idea disappeared forever. In her head, she stopped calling it a Parking Lot and started calling it the Black Hole – a place where thoughts go without being revisited. . .
If you’ve never attended any meeting in which the Issue Bin or Parking Lot is being used to discuss issues, let me tell you. Sometimes, groups or individuals wander off-track when a new subject is brought up or an idea is brought up to be discussed, which isn’t the primary focus of the meeting or maybe better discussed later. The person conducting the meeting will recommend that the topic or issue be put into the issue Bin. They should then visit an area on the wall that is labeled Issue Bin and then write a short description of the issue so that the message won’t be lost. The purpose of this device is to keep the group focused on their goals.
Beyond that, an Issue Bin is a way to aid the team in “hold that thought” so that the thought doesn’t go unnoticed and can be discussed at a later date at the appropriate time.
The most frequently-used usage of this powerful tool is precisely the same as what Lisa was faced with in her previous job. Facilitators place items in an issues Bin and/or Parking Lot without a strategy to revisit them later. They’re using this Bin as a storage space to store things they don’t wish to talk about in any way.
Facilitators may have good intentions; however, when the meeting is too long (how numerous meetings you’ve attended that weren’t? ), If there is a short time or the issue, Bin item(s) are lost in a rush to complete the meeting.
Therefore regardless of the intent or the best-laid ideas of the Facilitator, the Parking Lot becomes a sham and a manipulative device that never achieves the intended outcome of recording the idea and storing it for future exploration.
In light of this, it’s not a surprise that Lisa and others with similar experiences are able to bring their idea up repeatedly in fear that they will lose the concept.
The Most Effective Use
Imagine the Issue Bin as a TiVo device for your meetings. If you own an issue bin connected to your television, you can record any TV show and then watch it later. This lets you view shows at a time that is more comfortable for you. It also lets you, much to the displeasure of advertisers, skip commercials quickly so that the time you spend watching the show is cut down.
Similar to TiVo, the well-used Issue Bin lets you “timeshift” an issue or idea to discuss at the most efficient or most convenient time for the group. Similar to TiVo, Issue Bin can decrease your time watching typically; when an issue is put off until further discussion, the ideas and actions discussed during the time can reduce the amount of time or energy needed to properly discuss or investigate the topic.
It’s not hard to utilize an Issue Bin efficiently. It’s just a matter of a method and some discipline.
1. Be sure everyone is aware of the purpose of the issue, Bin.
2. Add items to the Issue Bin when necessary.
3. Include time on the agenda (typically 2 minutes is all that’s needed) to discuss the Issues at the conclusion of the session. The review should address three questions:
Do you think this is still an issue? (or is it solved since it was put into the Bin?)
Are there any action items that can be created out of this issue? If so, what exactly is it?
Do you think this is a subject that should be included on the agenda of a meeting in the near future?
4. Do not leave your Issue Bin until you’ve done something for every issue. If nothing is done to it right now, think about keeping the issue in mind and having it be placed in the Issue Bin prior to the beginning of your next meeting.
The main thing is to Make sure you do something with each of them! Following this easy method to make use of this tool can help meetings be more productive and ensure that the most effective ideas and topics are addressed and discussed.
Like every tool, it can be very beneficial when utilized correctly, just like every similar tool is also prone to be harmful and destructive when it isn’t.
Return to Lisa
Lisa was thrilled after the meeting because she was asked by the facilitator to think about what they could do about Lisa’s suggestion. The group decided that it was worthy of further discussion. They also recommended Lisa think about certain aspects of her idea and decided that this was the first item on the agenda for the following meeting.
From that point onward, Lisa felt more comfortable being part of the team, and she was aware it was possible to use the Issue Bin or Parking Lot or whatever you wish to refer it doesn’t necessarily have to be a Black Hole – that it could be a valuable tool in any meeting.