How are your hybrid meetings going? Does this quote resonate?
“A meeting is an event at which the minutes are kept and the hours are lost”
“Vinegar Joe” (General Joseph Stilwell)
Every business operates with meetings. Since Spring 2020, almost everyone in the Economic North has been operating with remote or hybrid meetings. That has been a massive change in how we view meetings. In this blog, Astrid Davies takes a light-hearted look at how The Change Maker Profile proclivities might play out in your online meetings. Maybe see how many you can spot?
Where once people could sit in a meeting and play “management-speak bingo” sneakily across or under the table, now we are watching one another sit in an array of small boxes on a screen, making a team meeting look like a gameshow from the 1970s.
We have had to learn a new meeting playbook. We’ve learned new technologies, new etiquette and maybe even challenged some ‘received wisdom’ about what meetings were for. And, let’s face it, we’ve all got past even sniggering when inevitably someone’s “on mute”. Again.
Now, fully remote meetings are turning into hybrid meetings. These are a mixed meeting, with some office-based attendees and some still calling in remotely. Larger organisations have used this approach (and called it a video conference) for decades. These days, we can all use the new language of “hybrid meetings”.
Whatever we call these get-togethers, they need good online behaviours AND an improved understanding of how team members tick, to be successful. Now, more than ever, it’s important to understand one another’s strengths, to understand our individual points of view and contributions to the team.
Here at The Change Maker Group, we operate remotely and use our Change Maker Profile to build understanding and enhance our collaborations. This profiling tool is unique in that it predicts someone’s strengths in change. It is “powered by” the GC Index, an incredibly robust base of psychological research (the Index was presented at the prestigious “psychological Olympics” or, more formally, the International Congress of Psychology, held recently in the Czech Republic).
There are five “proclivities” or strengths:
The Strategist; The Game Changer; The Implementer; The Polisher; The Playmaker.
So, what does this mean for your hybrid meetings? How will these strengths show themselves … and how can you benefit from them?
They work on the big picture, the long term goal, the strategic focus. Anyone with a strong Strategist profile will want to know what the purpose of the meeting is, probably quite early on in the call (or even prior to it). This is so they can be clear about the direction the outputs need to take. They might even want to check it’s worth their while attending.
Nothing will drive Strategists more nuts, than vague chitchat that doesn’t have an end purpose in the meeting. They’re also not big fans of AOB either. Focused meeting agenda, keeping to time, and getting outputs that fit with the end-game – that’s where your Strategists will want to be.
On the other hand, people with a strong Game Changer profile will want time and space to explore all the angles, to make sure they don’t miss a chance to innovate. What other ways of doing “X” are there? Who else could have something to contribute? What needs shaking up? This is, of course, vital to any team and it can guarantee innovation and fresh thinking. It can also make for much more fun meetings. Think online shared workspaces, colourful presentations, animation – all things to get the creative juices going on your 7th Zoom of the day. The trouble is that Game Changers’ creativity can be problematic when actions need to be agreed. After all, there’s always an alternative idea to explore!
These team members are so much more than simply “doers”. People with a strong Implementer profile will be fantastic at breaking down strategic big picture thinking beloved of the Strategists, into the detailed work packages that they, Polishers and Playmakers need. This is the key to actually getting things done. It’s not the ordering around, it is the understanding of what is required, and ensuring that happens, on time, on budget, on agenda … every team needs Implementers or nothing actually gets done.
So in your hybrid meetings, folk with strong Implementer scores will have ensured that the people “dialling in” to the meeting actually have the invitation. They will also ensure there is a screen on which the office-based people can see their colleagues in the meeting. Who’ll be taking note of their actions (and probably others’)? Yep, your Implementers.
As you might guess from this strength’s name, these people are all about getting it right. So your ideal minute-taker then (although perhaps not the fastest)! That’s not all. These people on your meeting will be looking at the outcome the meeting is intended to have. They will help you keep on track.
In hybrid meetings, they will also make sure that people lower their hand emoji after speaking, record the meeting if that’s required, and ensure the volume is right so everyone can take part sensibly. Generally, they help things end up working better. Every team needs people with strong Polisher profiles, to maintain focus and quality control.
As with every team of disparate personalities, behaviours and strengths, there’s always the need for someone to bring it all together. This is where your Playmakers come in. In meetings, these will be the people suggesting the ideal person for an action, nurturing and encouraging colleagues to take on tasks, even if they are a “stretch”.
In hybrid meetings, strong Playmaker profiles on the call will mean you have lots of people-oriented engagement. Encouragement, collaborative and engaging support is their preferred approach. So Playmakers are great for hybrid meetings where some people have Teams fatigue, or where there are individuals who need to leave early or join the meeting late. They will help to bind together the two halves of your team – the ones in the office, and the ones working remotely. This will be crucial as we all move into the next, “Next Normal”, where hybrid working runs the risk of allowing “Them and Us” cultures to develop if we’re not careful.
There is a mass of advice out there on how to have hybrid meetings which succeed. To summarise a lot of it, we’ll end with some key tips:
Start with “Why?” and “Who?”
What’s the reason you’re holding the meeting? What do you need the meeting to achieve? Based on that, you can identify who needs to be on the call. If you can, select people based on their relevance and suitability. The Change Maker Profile will help you with this. If people on your team show they are “needing to be needed” and feeling left out, you can engage with them in other ways.
Remote meeting platforms have fantastic engagement tools, to capture the thoughts of people who can’t perhaps be in your meeting but could have something to offer via a working party or similar group to brainstorm ideas and capture suggestions. As we’ve raised before, beware creating two groups, the ones in the office and then anyone else not in the office. You can also consider who chairs the meetings and explore this as a device to increase buy in and engagement in the meetings and actions.
The Change Maker Profile gives you a shared language to focus on people’s strengths. It is simple, non-judgemental and helps every team member feel good about their contribution. That can be crucial when you are keeping a team working together over the ether. In fact, it can be a fundamental in communicating at all. Your team will thrive from being able to give one another feedback and help one another to keep improving but will be able to do that without moaning or nagging. The Profile’s language can really defuse tricky situations, by building bridges between different people’s points of view.
“Meetings” – keep some informal
This sounds a bit counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Maybe, but think back to when you were together in the office. There were the informal chats while you waited for the kettle to boil, or in the lift, or in the carpark. There may have been “socials”. We’re all human beings, who benefit from social interaction. When we are working in hybrid teams, some will be able to access that interaction and casual chitchat more easily than others. It is crucial for your team cohesion, that you have some informal online get-togethers too.
So, have you been able to spot some of your colleagues’ proclivities set out in this blog? Hopefully, it’s given you some food for thought. Maybe you would like to understand the different complementary strengths of your colleagues? Maybe you’d like to understand your own?
To discuss The Change Maker Profile further, please book yourself a free, no-obligation chat.
Reach out to Astrid