Hybrid Isn’t Tactical

It’s widely known in sales that people make purchasing decisions primarily emotionally, then justify them rationally after the fact. Jonathan Haidt highlights this pattern using his metaphor of a [small, weak] rational rider atop a [large, strong] intuitive elephant. The rider might like to think she’s in charge, but really…

As we navigate the current stage of pandemic life, including many people figuring out whether, how and how fast to return to a co-located office or campus, it’s critical to remember that it is more of an emotional process than a tactical one. Leaders therefore need to emphasize empathy and listening more than scheduling and rearranging of furniture.

Return-to-office conversations are inevitably linked to the requirements of a hybrid work environment. I found David Rock’s Forbes article on “one virtual, all virtual” very interesting, in part because of the strong emotional reaction I’ve seen this idea elicit first hand. From participation equity and facilitation simplicity points of view, I support his suggestion, but it’s a hard one for people to swallow. It’s a tough ask for meeting participants to be expected to log in on their own device, in a separate space from long-missed colleagues who are sitting in the adjoining cubicle at last!

Can you hear how these decisions are more about emotions, and ultimately about power dynamics and values, than they are about logistics?

We’re all learning our way through this. Let’s talk about it. I’m looking forward to hosting a free session on hybrid facilitation inside hybrid work arrangements on Wednesday, October 6 from 12-1 p.m. ET. I hope you’ll join me.

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