I was struck by the comment last week by a senior executive in a San Francisco high tech company. “The corona virus is a forcing function.” The new way to greet people is to touch elbows. People will wash hands to “Row your boat.” And now that companies such as Twitter, Facebook, Amazon etc. are having their employees work from home. One aspect of the ‘forcing function’ is that organizations are going to need to hold more virtual meetings. Given this environment, I decided to reissue and update my bright idea blog on how to create virtual excellence. The question I get when I teach meeting effectiveness is “What is the secret to having effective virtual meetings?” There aren’t any magical skills needed to lead a virtual team or work remotely, you just have to be excellent and holistic in applying the skills you do have. You have to do all the things you normally do but with focused attention and increased skill on the softer management skills. The ‘work’ you are focusing on during a virtual meeting is important, but is not everything. While you are intent on execution – going over action items and making decisions–true “virtual excellence” is achieved by taking time to intentionally build relationship, apply intuition, create safety, give feedback, set norms, develop their skills, and coach. In addition, during this stressful period, it will be important to make time to check-in with everyone.
- Allow for social time at the start – for people who are extroverted, they may not enjoy the forced solitude
- Allow people to share how they are feeling, are they anxious? Just expressing this often helps defuse the feelings.
- Be sure to check-in with your team regularly with any updates (even if there is no change), this helps create transparency and dispel rumors
- Use video as much as possible to keep people engaged and make a personal connection