A Forum’s Parking Lot will get messy and outdated if it’s not kept clean. Here are three ways you can help to keep your Parking Lot clean:
1) Merge Items – After each meeting, the person in charge of the Parking Lot takes an extra 30 minutes to merge together related items. For example, if in the March meeting a member says they are struggling with their weight, and then in the May meeting the same member comments about how they really wanted to lose 10 lbs but gained 5 lbs instead, those don’t need to be two different items in the Parking Lot, but rather they could be merged into one item (see attached image).
2) Presentation Purge – Each member is going to know their issues the best. They will know which topics are similar and could be merged. They will also know which topics are old and not relevant anymore. Instead of having the Parking Lot person try to clean it up after each meeting, make it a requirement for each person to clean up their own Parking Lot before their presentation. The member can then merge their items or move their items to the “Old Parking Lot” tab. This process is by far one of the best ways to keep the Parking Lot clean without having one person do all the work.
3) Yearly Purge – Similar to the Presentation Purge, but in this case, the whole group commits to using a section of either the Long or Short Retreat to clean up the Parking Lot. The only difference here is that each person would share with the group what they did with the items in their Parking Lot and get feedback from the group. This is a way to challenge each other on items that a member might think are old but other members still see as relevant.
Keeping a clean Parking Lot is essential to picking great presentation topics that aren’t always just “fires in the kitchen.” By using one of the three strategies above to keep your Parking Lot clean, your group will be able to better focus on presentation topics that are important but maybe not urgent. This will make your group more proactive versus reactive.