The quick change to working more in online meetings is challenging for most organizations. Many employees share that they get drained from improductive meetings. In my understanding this has many negative impacts. So, how can we get leafs on the tree again? (see the picture:))
As a member of the global organization Legacy 17 I am involved in an Erasmus project called Online Transformational Learning. Part of my contribution is to study how the internal development online facilitation skills may impact organizational culture.
During the last year I have worked with a number of organizations, assisting them to build inhouse capacity to have ”better online meetings”. With this I mean co-creative meetings where every participant can contribute with her/his best. The meetings are facilitated for maximum participation, high energy and designed to have concrete and sustainable outcomes.
I have used two cases in this study, one department in a municipality and one private company in the health business, with a total of 80 participants mostly middle and top managers. As in all development processes, we had a holistic design including prep-work, the actual training and follow up including impact evaluation.
The impact evaluation was conducted after 2-5 months in the two organizations, in 5 different co-creative half-day follow-up meetings. The participants were asked to give examples of behaviors and activities + the results they had for the organization. This is not a scientific study, so the impacts are possibly connected to the training activities, but we cannot say for sure. From the obtained data I have identified some possible positive impacts on organizational culture.
- Increased participation in everyday meetings.
- Co-creation becomes a norm?
- Increased efficiency by using more of the potential?
- Awareness of the potential and willingness to contribute.
- Higher spirit in teams and in the organization as a whole?
- Increased energy throughout the organization by being invited to co-create in meetings instead of being fed, listening passively.
- A more open culture for inviting personal development?
- Reduced stress for meeting facilitators and participants.
- Increased quality of communication within the organization
My conclusion is that, even if the training effort was relatively limited (it was far from a full facilitation training) it had several positive impacts for the organizations such as increased productivity and wellbeing. As listed above I am sure there are also some positive impacts on organizational culture in these organizations. A more in-depth study would be interesting as there are many aspects to investigate.
What do you think? What difference can it make, to develop skills to have ”better meetings” in everyday life of your organization?