We don’t need another meeting

For those who are considered “office workers” there are a number of different aspects of the working day. Pre pandemic (to be generic) there would have been a day scattered with meetings, key messages being delivered by leadership (or maybe you are the leadership delivering), solving problems and building relationships with teams.

Our workplaces are evolving and adapting to the emerging trends. And with this the way we do those aspects of our role are adapting too. I’ve put down some thoughts around how I personally have seen the adaption of working – it’s a better way of working for me. Above all the key message is that there needs to be choice and flexibility to ensure that individuals have access to the right technology, the right spaces and right coaching and support to do what is required in their role.  

The meeting

We have all been there. You join a meeting, whether virtual or in person, and you either don’t speak, have a small part or witness a barrage of way to many talking with little structure. Meetings are a drain on peoples time, especially for those only attending for a specific agenda item. Decision making through meetings needs to evolve.

Meetings need to first have a purpose and from this purpose a structure and agenda can be devised. From this you an determine who are the people who need to attend. Need is the key word here. Not “be nice if they did” or “good if you could”. A reduction in attendees allows more flexibility on location and provides for a more streamlined and focused meeting. Providing a hybrid meeting can allow those with short parts to join virtually and then log off. Agendas and documents shared in advance so that people arrive with thoughts/comments, not to read the document in the meeting.

Key messages

Leadership needs to communicate messages to large groups of people. This in turn needs filtering down the chain of command within organisations. There are multiple ways this can be performed. Events can be held in person, in large conference facilities either on or off site or even very virtual meetings, with elements or all even pre-recorded. There is a key thought hear though around how much interaction you want with people – is it just to say the message or do you want/desire discussion. This in itself will promote which route is taken.

There is no right answer for how best to deliver key messages. Town hall style meetings offering in person and virtual elements has the ability to reach the most people, but you need to ensure those in the room find the event useful and worth attending, while those virtual need to be kept focused to avoid being distracted and therefore missing the messages. Different styles can be used, from pre-recorded to interactive. Encouraging people to join in the discussion via breakout and brainstorming sessions. Ultimately making people feel empowered by the discussion that was had.

The updates

We like to and in a way need to be able to report progress against our objectives on a project/piece of work but we don’t need to spend all our time listening to updates that don’t impact us or solid structure that restricts our ability to work asynchronously. Data is our friend here – clearly tracking against objectives can be achieved using many tools that allow progress to be tracked such that emphasis can be placed on areas that are slipping against targets. Having data in the right format at the touch of a button also allows for consistent reporting internally or externally with interested parties.

How do you build a team

The idea of a team is not new to us. How you build a team that works and functions collectively doesn’t just happen (though it would be nice if it did). You have to invest in building the team but gone are the days where “presenteeism” was the way to do that. I love a water-cooler moment BUT I don’t think that is how I have built my teams. There needs to be an investment in the team such that they feel valued and, well, feel part of a team.

There needs to be a balance between online and in person events. Online provides a more straightforward way and allows us to check in with teams and discuss key topics to help us maintain a healthy working relationships but bringing the team together can really be a “big-deal”. Focusing very much on the experience the team will receive rather than necessarily just the purpose of having an event because it feels like we should. Empower parts of the team to create some of the content, really focus on the key points that are more beneficial to be covered in person.

How do we solve problems

A problem arising could be an issue. It could delay work or have implications on a relationship. Therefore a team will have an objective to always solve a problem as they arise, making recommendations about how to mitigate and/or solve the problem. Historically this would have been achieved by a smaller group of people from the team coming together in a meeting and, well, thrashing out the problem.

In a hybrid world you have the ability to quickly bring together the right team with the right experience which will no doubt be a group of people dispersed in multiple locations.

There needs to be an acceptable in organisations that the normal of 2019 is no more and therefore it is now about making sure that the changes support your employees, colleagues and organisation to be the best it can be in 2023.

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