I facilitate a lot of strategy and execution planning sessions throughout the year. The majority of the time, I do this on-site with a client at a hotel or at their facility. Meeting face-to-face is great if logistics, timing, cost and the environment support it. However, there are times when everything does not align for that to happen, and it is more effective for the team to meet virtually. Current environmental conditions have created one of those times. Keeping people safe and healthy has never been more important.
So, ask yourself the following questions as you consider whether you need to move forward with a virtual planning session:
- Are you nearing the end of the quarter (or your fiscal year) and in need of an execution plan so that your teams know what is important to focus on—and you cannot physically get together?
- Is your team located around the country or in locations that are challenged by travel restrictions at the current time?
- Are there costs associated with employee travel that you are trying to avoid by lowering your overhead costs?
- Are you trying to save the travel cost for your outside facilitator to bring your overall meeting cost down?
- Are you concerned about lost time on the front and back of the meeting for your employees due to travel time?
- Are there strategic projects that your team needs to work on together that will fall behind if they are unable to meet?
- Are there lucrative new business opportunities that will be missed if the right people do not gather to develop strategies to win?
- Do you need to pull in outside expertise for part of the meeting and don’t want the expense of having them there for the entire meeting?
- Are you having difficulty coordinating everyone’s schedule to get them together face-to-face?
- Are your employees telling you they need better communication right now?
It is even more important to keep with your meeting or planning cadence in challenging times. Your employees, customers and company’s success depend on it.
Virtual meetings or planning sessions can be just as effective as meeting in-person if the approach and planning is done right—and they can be even more effective in most situations. There are benefits and cost savings to this approach. Please read my colleague's article on “7 Tips for a Great Virtual Quarterly Planning Session” for more ideas on how to run your session.
It may sound daunting to run a virtual meeting effectively, but it’s really not with the right support. Try not to change too many things, and put the right technology in place to manage the interaction, work, output and meeting. Lastly, bring in an expert facilitator for your virtual planning session who has experience doing this to ensure you come out of the session with the results your business depends on.
Good luck, stay safe and keep your meeting cadence intact for predictable results.
Here are additional blogs related to this topic:
Rhythm Systems Quarterly Planning Resource Center
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