A few weeks ago I facilitated a hybrid session with a team. It wasn’t supposed to be that way.
The plan was that we would all be together. But due to a possible COVID exposure on my part and an abundance of caution, I stayed home and was beamed in virtually (via Zoom).
This was the first time with this arrangement for me. (It seems we are experiencing many firsts these days!) And as I look back on it, I think the ease with which we shifted our plan had everything to do with the flexibility we have had to embrace over the past two years.
And like the many other “firsts” I learned some things!
I learned it’s possible to have an effective and productive hybrid meeting.
I also learned that I need to give some guidelines about optimal meeting conditions to minimize possible distractions or disruptions. But that’s for another time. (Watch my video from last week to hear about some of the humorous disruptors to our meeting.)
I had a similar learning experience when shifting to an all-virtual offering.
I have been working with groups and teams doing leadership development for my entire career. And, with the exception of individual coaching, this work has always been in-person.
Pre-pandemic I didn’t think much about virtual work. I grew up with a model of in-person facilitation and had always followed this model.
Could virtual sessions offer anything valuable? Would they be effective, engaging, and productive?
After 2 years I can enthusiastically say, YES! They can and they are. I had to learn some things along the way, and after some trial and error, learning from others and taking courses, it all clicked.
It seems we are now in a similar place with the hybrid work environment. With increasing flexibility at work, participating in meetings that have people joining both virtually and in-person will become the norm.
We are on this journey together. So as we explore this new learning curve, let's continue to be generous with one another, share our learning and best practices, and make space for the fact that we are figuring this out together.
Katie is a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator and Executive Coach.