The Mineral Rights Framework
Susan Scott’s Fierce Conversations has changed how I approach conversations. Her framework is one that I come back to every time I need to have an honest conversation.
Let’s face it, everybody has a conversation that they have been dreading. Maybe it’s a raise with the boss. Maybe it’s an issue with your partner. Or it could be something annoying that your friend does. Whatever the conversation, you have likely been avoiding it and that means it is draining energy from you. The Mineral Rights framework can help you have those conversations you just don’t know how to have. Here is the framework:
What is the most important thing that we should be talking about today?
The most important thing after asking this question is to stay silent. Let the other person respond. Don’t chime in with examples or leading follow-up questions (e.g., you mentioned you had an issue with Bob last week, should we talk about that?).
What’s going on?
Dive deeper into the topic. What’s going on with X? How long has it been going on? How bad is it?
What’s the impact on you?
What has the impact of the topic or issue been on you? On others? What are your emotions?
Asking about emotions seems like a strange question to ask but if you don’t ask, you just won’t know.
What’s at stake?
If this issue doesn’t get resolved or continues, what is at stake for you? What will happen if this continues?
What’s your contribution to the problem?
To me, this is a great question. Almost no issue is one-sided so when you ask this, you are helping the other person see what they may have done to contribute to the issue.
What’s the ideal outcome?
When this issue is resolved, what impact would it have on you? On others? What would your feelings be at that point?
What’s the next step?
The last set of questions in the mineral rights conversation is to get commitment on the next steps. What’s the most potent step you can take to resolve the issue? How will you know if you have made an impact? When should I follow up?
The interesting thing about the mineral rights framework is that it can be applied to many different situations, not just issues or problems. You can use it to figure out the next steps for your business. You can use it to talk about issues with your partner. One thing to note: the mineral rights conversation is best used in one-to-one situations and not group situations.