Frustrated with the quality and effectiveness of your Zoom meetings?
The first step is to bring cross-functional teams together in small groups of three to six people. Invite one of the key players in each group to act as Facilitator, not Leader. If this person happens to be a front line person, all the better. We want to democratize the meeting. The purpose of these meetings could be varied but the most important purpose is to build rapport, start to earn each other’s trust and be confident that when they are in a zoom meeting with a very large group, someone will speak up and back up their ideas and concerns. We must break down silos by giving our people opportunities to connect, bond and build mutual respect and trust. Without those, we have nothing.
I often say that spending millions of dollars on technology is a waste of resources if you cannot get the people to come together and support each other.
The Inclusion solution to creating an inclusive work environment where everyone feels not just safe but encouraged to step up and speak up requires just a few simple and practical approaches:
- Acknowledge the successes, regardless of how small so people get their needs met and feel part of something greater than themselves. This also allows you to replicate the successes.
- Bring small groups of people together with a very loose agenda regularly. When people are racing from meeting to meeting with no time to build connections, they tend to isolate and think the next task is urgent and they are the best person to perform that task, all ivy themselves. This creates the silos. We must give people time to swap stories and share their visions for themselves, their career and their projects.
- Encourage people to come to meetings prepared. At IBM they call it the ‘meeting before the meeting’. Share the Agenda in advance, of course, but go further. Take some strategic think time to think about the projects, the people, the reports that need to be made, the metrics being tracked. Pick out 1-2 people and encourage them to come prepared to share their biggest insights and learnings from their projects. This extra 5-10 minutes inside a meeting will transform everyone’s mindset, attitude and motivations.
If you continue to bring people together in the very large groups, you’ll continue to see the silo’s and barriers. That experience is like a college lecture hall where no one needs to interact and engage. They can withdraw, clam up and become invisible. People will speak up when they have an innovative idea. More importantly they won’t speak up when they have a concern.
When they see a potential challenge or obstacle that could occur later, we desperately need people at all levels to step up, speak up and make sure that the executives hear them, understand these concerns and pay attention. This inclusive environment can drive millions in innovative new lines of business and save millions from project over-runs or project failures.