Most folks have adjusted to the new normal of online meetings. Unfortunately, that means that many have accepted “good enough” by creating mediocre experiences. We know folks can do better. With some careful planning, an online meeting can excite and energize participants.
During April 2020, we trained over 200 people to create better online meetings. We’ve found that folks usually think they need training on the mechanics of Zoom, Teams, or WebEx. Yet, we’ve seen many online meetings turn into disasters when organizers don’t use the medium purposefully.
Please don’t start with technological “bells and whistles.” Instead, have a clear and purposeful meeting design with technology as a support. Sure, any of us can jump into a meeting without a plan, but we’ll rarely get the results we want. Besides, meetings cost a lot of money. Consider two scenarios is this graphic for two weekly one-hour meetings.
I’ve engaged in short or long-term consulting projects or facilitated workshops with the following organizations:
- California Innovation Playbook for Government Change Agents (Cal-IPGCA)
- Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
- U.S. Army
- Kornhauser Health Sciences Library
- Norton Healthcare
- Physicians for a Healthy California (formerly California Medical Association Foundation)
- Internal projects at University of Illinois, University of Louisville, and University of the Pacific to co-develop programs with health sciences schools (e.g., Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing)
- Academic Impressions (provider of professional development for leaders in higher education)
- Claremont Lincoln University
- Sacramento City College
- Sierra College
- University of California, Davis
- University of California, Los Angeles
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – RECRUIT Online Program for Underrepresented STEM Teachers
- University of Louisville Online Learning
- University of the Pacific, Benerd School of Education
- University of the Pacific, General Education Program
- University of the Pacific, Teacher Education Programs
- Girl Scouts Heart of Central California
- Impact Foundry
- Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Pacific
- United Way of Stanislaus County
- Abt Associates
- Caterpillar Corporation
- Charles River Laboratories
- Excel Automotriz
- Evergreen Marine Corp
- Hewlett Packard
- Maersk Sealand
- Manpower Group Panamá
- Shoe Sensation, Inc.
Sometimes higher education truly has its collective head in the sand. Institutions have left themselves vulnerable to collapse during a long-term campus closure, despite increased risk from extreme weather events and other unexpected catastrophes. I talked with representatives from across the county to understand their preparedness for an extended campus closure. Their responses illuminate the need for creative, innovative approaches to campus and workplace policies.
Japan’s nationwide shutdown of its schools due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) got me thinking about what would happen if universities in the U.S. closed their doors for a month. Even if it doesn’t happen with this pandemic, some natural disaster or other unexpected events will certainly cause campus closures across the country this year. The higher education workplace is generally unprepared to support employees in continuing operations to serve students during campus closures.
Few other industries have the potential to impact life and death as much as the healthcare sector. Healthcare organizations that don’t provide sufficient attention to learning, improvement, and growth put their patients’ safety and well-being at risk.
A team I led facilitated an 18-month process to enhance learning within a 40-location healthcare system with over 12,000 employees that faced unprecedented changes due to internal and external pressures. The CEO wanted to make learning “everyone’s business,” as opposed to trainer-centric. The goal was to have “perfect alignment” between overall systemwide strategy and the learning occurring in the system. To help achieve this goal, the Chief Learning Officer (CLO), who reported directly to the CEO, hired us to facilitate engagement across their system. He tasked us with helping build a results-oriented mechanism to achieve alignment between strategy and learning.
Data suggest that leverage points exist to change employee perceptions.
Few chief learning officers (CLOs) disagree they have a mandate to ensure that learning initiatives align with organizational strategy. A great deal of research exists about how to align the two. However, what does it look like for employees to connect their learning and development with an actual organization’s strategy?
The term “line of sight” refers to how well an employee can see and understand the connection between their work and organizational strategy. If employees can see a connection between their daily work and strategy, they can better make decisions about the direction of their individual work and learning. In particular, it helps employees know where to put their energy when competing priorities exist. Frankly, strategy doesn’t matter if it doesn’t filter down to employees to affect their daily work.
Many employees want to do meaningful work and they want their employer to either support or align with their values and identities. When that doesn’t happen, employees generally have three choices: leave the organization, try to bring change within the organization, or just shut up and deal with it. The last option is probably the worst for the employer because it leads to lowered employee engagement.
I recommend providing a relief valve that allows for employees to express themselves when they rise up against a decision or organize themselves to advocate for change within the organization. In this article, I outline two models employers can use to address employee activism.
Leaders oftentimes delegate the role of handling logistics for an off-site meeting. However, selecting the right location and ambiance can directly impact the success of the event. Those in charge of logistics can select an optimal space and room setup to increase the likelihood of the event’s success.
I recently co-facilitated a strategic planning session at a beautiful location in the Sonoma Region of California. When I arrived, the venue appeared to be perfect: serene grounds and attractive well-maintained facilities. However, the venue had never been used for a business retreat or meeting. It normally serves as a wedding venue. When I walked into the large room for the meeting, I thought “this is perfect.” The room had expansive windows with lots of natural light, high vaulted ceilings, and hardwood floors. It looked like an ideal location for a retreat.
With my colleague, Dr. Denise Cumberland, I was involved in a project that sought to understand if needs assessment could be used as an organizational learning tool, in addition to identifying causes of a problem. We worked with a Fortune 200 quick service restaurant chain and their “broken” new product development process. Data were gathered from multiple stakeholder groups using interviews and a survey questionnaire.
How do franchise organizations build momentum around change and an atmosphere of trust? Franchising brings a unique set of challenges in achieving organizational change. The main challenge is that franchise organizations actually consist of various firms (called franchisors and franchisees). One solution is fostering a healthy relationship with franchisees through franchise advisory boards. At their best, franchise associations and advisory boards help ensure that franchisee voices are heard and that collaborative relationships exist between the franchisor and franchisees.
Workforce development training is an important part of the mission of community colleges. Increasingly, students need and expect online courses to be an option for some or all of their programs. I conducted a study looking at why some community and technical colleges offer more online programs than others. Read More
For many professors in leadership and organization studies-related fields, a big part of our job is thinking seriously about how organizational leaders can address the world’s problems and opportunities. However, it’s fair to say that the for a good number of professors, the extent of their real world impact doesn’t go beyond an indirect impact through their teaching. Read More