This past week, I was asked how Boards and other groups are faring without having met very often in person over the past several years. It’s an important question when it comes to making wiser decisions faster. Here are the highlights of my answer:
- I’m finding groups’ experiences to vary widely these days. During the pandemic, we knew everyone was struggling. Now, some people are and some aren’t.
- Building relational currency between people is critical to making collaboration easier. We work more seamlessly with people we know, trust and enjoy!
- It’s important to connect before diving into content, whether groups are working digitally or in-person. The format is not the main barrier to productive collaboration, assuming meetings are well led.
- Digital meetings are often more efficient than in-person gatherings, but weaker in terms of strengthening relational ties, and that efficiency diminishes over time.
- Strong remote relationships are often easier to sustain when based on in-person ones first. Groups that have had new people join them only digitally seem to be less cohesive than those who were based on in-person ties in the first place.
- If we are going to ask people to travel to in-person meetings, let’s make sure they are worth it. If we meet in generic meeting rooms, doing things we could do just as well online, the extra travel time, expense and nuisance are not worth it. If, however, we create memorable, relationally rich experiences in person, the benefits can last through a lot of follow-up digital meetings.
I’m curious how this assessment resonates with your experience.
If you’d like a deeper treatment of the trade-offs between in-person, digital and hybrid meetings, have a look at Choose Your Own Meeting Adventure.
Brent Klassen and I are excited to be piloting an in-person experience for people navigating transitions and looking to re-imagine a new chapter of their lives. Through the Chrysalis is happening on October 2 and is currently full, but we’re accepting names for a waitlist in case it goes well enough to run again!