Don’t fall into the trap of thinking efficient meetings lead to effective team performance.  It’s never really worked that way.  And in the remote workforce environment we find ourselves facing, it it doesn’t work even more.

When I say this, don’t think that I don’t like efficient meetings.  I love them.  Many meetings should be and can be more efficient.  Those meetings whose purpose is sharing information and aligning the day’s main activities, ála “the daily huddle,”  are meant to be efficient.  Let’s review the purpose of the daily huddle.  Share the main thing to accomplish that day, share any updated info, share if/that you need help.  Decide things in other meetings with  the people necessary only.

Same goes for portions of other meetings, the information sharing portion of the meeting.  It should and can be very efficient, especially when a format and the info to be shared is clear and relevant.  The rest of the meeting? I don’t think so.

The decision making and learning portions of meetings are, by necessity and nature, the messy. The intent of these portions is to gain understanding of what the best thing to do is, and then decide on how to move forward.  Dialogue, confusion, disagreement are part and parcel of decisions and learning.  It’s not always easy to work through these things, very often it’s messy, and quite likely it will take more time than you anticipate.

But it’s effective.  It creates alignment, buy in, understanding, comradery, all of which lead to increased effectiveness.  The meetings I facilitate, that are the messiest, are also the most effective and productive ones.

That bring us to today’s remote work environment and what I’m calling the “Remote Work Place Paradox.”  Let me walk you through the steps of it.

  • People see Zoom (or Meets, or Teams….) as an efficiency tool.
  • They use it to hold efficient remote meetings.
  • Effectiveness of the remote workforce, after a small upswing, declines.
  • Leaders hold more remote meetings, efficiently, to increase effectiveness.
  • Effectiveness continues to decline or remain stagnant.

How do you break the Remote Work Place Paradox?  Get messy with your remote meetings.  Stop focusing on efficiency.  The companies that are doing great with their remote workforces, embrace and focus on connecting, engaging, and empathizing, all of which are messy things.  They plan for their messiness.

The realize that Zoom is not an efficiency tool, it’s an intimacy tool and the intimacy is what creates effectiveness.

Why?  Because in the remote work environment, the things, that endear teammates to each other, no longer naturally exist.

  • Sharing at the water cooler or over a cup of coffee. Gone.
  • The side conversations that connect each other. Gone.
  • The check-ins when things aren’t going so well. Gone.
  • The clarifying conversations that clear up a misunderstandings.  Gone.
  • The reminders that you have each other’s’ back.  Gone.
  • Need I go on?

These things have be intentionally worked into the your meetings, maybe even going so far as having meetings just to shoot the breeze or commiserate with each other.

To increase your effectiveness with your remote workforce and beat the Remote Work Place Paradox, empathize, connect, engage in messy ways.  Effectiveness follows.

Can I be of assistance?  We’ll have an intimate zoom meeting.

Schedule some time with me