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We’ve been forced to show up a lot already this year. Many of us have homes or workplaces affected by the flooding or Cyclone Gabrielle and, if not, chances are high that we know neighbours or family members who are being impacted.
It's heart-warming to see communities banding together and supporting each other – both during these wild weather events and in their aftermath. People are showing up – I mean, really showing up – to help others. Which we need sometimes.
The pendulum is swinging back
The last few years saw us fast-track the way we were already going – towards increasingly dislocated companies and communities. We had work-from-home experiments, then mandates, and we’ve seen a new kind of business begin – one that exists only virtually and not in any ‘real’ space. Nothing has returned to the way it was either – despite many large organisations now scrambling to try and make it so.
Don’t get me wrong; not all of the changes to the ways we work have been negative. We’ve found efficiencies, achieved better balance (in some cases), reduced the amount spent on rent, and no longer been limited to talent within our geographic region. But we’ve also missed some opportunities for impact, collaboration and alignment, and many are now seeing the impact of fragmentation on their culture.
For the last few years, we’ve made it increasingly easy for people not to show up. They’ve been able to hide behind screens, present from behind powerpoint slides, or not even turn their cameras on if they fancy. I’m astounded by the amount of presentations I see being done virtually when there would be so much to gain from getting people physically together in a room.
The net result has been that showing up face-to-face and connecting in person has become more valuable than it once was. Showing up has become a point of difference, a competitive advantage. Because it takes extra effort, it has a specialness. It stands out. And showing up now sends a positive message, and signals a strong desire to connect.
It’s time to get strategic
I don’t believe that every situation requires us to be together in person, but I do think that now is the year to be strategic about when it is critical to insist on face-to-face environments and when it isn’t.
Think about the following with your team…
Each organisation will have different policies that work for them, which is why I haven’t been prescriptive here. What’s important is that you are conscious and deliberate about it.
Bringing disparate groups together can spark connection. You can get energy and alignment when you have people alongside each other. There are big moments – like launching a new strategy – that you want to mark in-person. It’s impossible to land things the same way via a screen, so give your ‘musts’ and ‘maybes’ some thought and let them be known.
And if you’d like support in navigating this minefield while ensuring you – and your people – can inspire action, sell ideas and drive action, then get in touch!
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