How On-Sites Can Help Your Team Increase Connection, Innovation and Strategic Focus

Impact Coaches Inc. – Articles
By Sandra Oliver and Antoine Laganiere

Bringing together people from different generations can create lots of opportunities for dialogue and learning. Impact’s Founder, Sandra Oliver, and Impact coach, Antoine Laganiere, often find this is the case when they’re in the same room or on a Zoom call together.

Recently, Sandra and Antoine talked about Impact’s April on-site meeting that saw all our people gather in Toronto for a week to brainstorm, strategize – and plan for the future. Each day included a session facilitated by a different member of the Impact team, covering everything from growth to marketing to strengthening our connections.

Sandra: We all got a lot out of our on-site. As an extrovert, I craved it. You learn a lot more about people when you meet face-to-face. You uncover little personal details that add so much more depth. And you gain greater perspective when you know someone better as a whole person, which transfers into your online relationship. You’ll tend to give them the benefit of the doubt, be more understanding and forgiving. You just can’t build strong relationships without these kinds of in-person meetings.

Antoine: I’m introvert and I crave connection as well. It’s a misconception that only extroverts need human contact. It’s just more fun and motivating to be around your team members in person. There’s an energy you look forward to when you’re in the office together and brainstorming ideas, compared to virtually. There’s also a seamlessness you can’t get on a virtual call. On Zoom, only one person can speak at a time so the conversations don’t flow as well. You can’t be as innovative when you take turns speaking. And when you combine a virtual meeting here and a phone call or email there, nuances, ideas and even action items can get lost. There’s a dissipation in quality and efficiency, and a decline in the presence you have with people when you’re virtual, compared to in-person.

Sandra: I agree. As a team you can really go in depth about a situation or topic when you meet face-to-face. You’re more innovative on strategy and can think through what to do next because you’re all in the same room. You can access each other’s ideas better and execute in a more complete way as a result. Conversations are fluid and people feel energized, trust is elevated and that drives creativity. You can work together more efficiently, but also better, more cohesively. You learn more from each other.

Antoine: I also find that when you’re alone for too long, it’s easy to lose the purpose of what you’re doing. Work feels like a bunch of operational tasks. But when you come together as a group, like we did for our on-site week, you feel more aligned to the broader essence and vision of the company. You’re more connected to why you’re here, and feel more motivated and inspired, which is much harder to recreate on the screen.

Sandra: And that fluidity, motivation and connectedness extends into online interactions afterward. You need to explain less to each other and everyone has an easier time running with things. You’re more open, can dive deeper, ask more insightful questions and come up with more innovative solutions.

Antoine: It’s important to remember to be intentional about making on-sites about strategy and connection. Make them more than just everyone working in the office at the same time on their own projects. At our on-site, for example, Evan and Martha really built dedicated time in all our schedules to meet on strategy, work together, and even socialize together. And it’s critical to be clear on what happens next so you continue to drive value from the on-sites. What inspired you? What are your takeaways? How are you going to move these new ideas forward?

Sandra: You should also be intentional about making on-sites achievable and desirable for everyone on your team. In our current hybrid environment, asking employees to come into the office for four to six on-site meetings a year can be a big ask for team members who work in another city or province. Be innovative with how you arrange on-sites so your team can easily fit them into their schedules – and look forward to them. Some companies, for example, make the summer a blackout period for on-sites, give employees paid Fridays off in July and August or close the office for two weeks in December to create some balance. So on-sites are a win-win for everyone.

Antoine: Absolutely. I think both sides – employers and employees – have to come to on-sites with a different mindset. When we all work virtually at least some of the time, how do we make on-site meetings better for everyone? How can we help the organization achieve its goals and the employees achieve theirs? What can we all do – with intention – to get the most out of on-sites as possible?

Impact Coaches Inc. – Articles

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