As Michigan businesses are starting to reopen following the coronavirus shutdown, leadership teams are anxious to start meeting in person again. Many Certified EOS Implementers™ will return to in-person sessions with clients (as will I), but I’m finding compelling reasons to also continue offering virtual EOS® Planning Sessions.
While I can’t wait to see my EOS® clients face-to-face again — to shake hands, and to interact without a video screen between us — many leadership teams can realize unique advantages by having the option to meet virtually.
Here are six ways my clients are benefitting from virtual EOS Planning Sessions, post-coronavirus.
1) Eliminate Travel Pains
Virtual sessions eliminate travel time, expenses, and hassles. If your leadership team is scattered across states, time zones, or even the globe, there’s no need to fly them in. The time and money you save can get channeled back into your business, and your team members aren’t fighting travel fatigue when they enter the EOS Planning Session.
This also gives you the flexibility to do a hybrid session if one of your leadership team members is located farther away. The rest of your team can come into my EOS Session Room for an in-person session, while your other team member joins remotely.
2) Don’t Get Derailed by Unplanned Emergencies
There dozens of potential reasons to reschedule an EOS Planning Session:
- Inclement weather
- Sickness or minor injuries
- Childcare issues
- Home emergencies such as flooding in the basement
At one time, these emergencies could force you to reschedule a meeting. But rescheduling easily throws your team off of your meeting pulse and slows down your progress.
Unplanned emergencies don’t have to get in the way of your team’s progress any longer. Virtual meetings allow you to honor date commitments and avoid rescheduling, keeping you moving forward as a team, and gaining Traction® faster.
COVID-19 has heightened our sensitivities, and you may need to play it safe once in a while. If you or a colleague wakes up in the morning feeling ill or you’re at home with children, you can join in on the meeting via video conference while the rest of your team meets in person.
3) Enjoy the Entrepreneurial Lifestyle
Virtual meetings also let you enjoy the entrepreneurial lifestyle more fully. There’s been more than one virtual meeting where I’ve noticed that one or two team members weren’t joining from home or their office. They were at their vacation homes. Virtual meetings give you the flexibility to integrate EOS Planning Sessions with your lifestyle in a whole new way.
4) Greater Openness and Honesty
I’ve written before about the importance of being open and honest in the moment, because of its power to transform teams. While facilitating virtual EOS Planning Sessions the past few months, I’ve noticed that leadership team members are sometimes actually more open and honest with each other when they’re meeting over a full day video session.
At first, it surprised me, but soon I understood why it was happening. The physical separation of video creates just enough emotional separation that can make it less threatening to speak what’s on your mind. Having a video screen between you and the others on your team may add an element of safety that allows you to voice your opinions, concerns, and fears.
This is tremendously valuable for teams that have highly introverted personalities or members who struggle with being the lone dissenter. In these cases, virtual meetings may be the difference maker in solving Issues and gaining Traction.
5) Enhanced Roles for Better Engagement
Facilitating virtual meetings during the coronavirus period has inspired new ideas that my clients have enjoyed. Because you can get video conference fatigue from staring at a screen all day, I’ve started the practice of assigning one person on each leadership team to take on the role of Energizer.
Typically, we take a break every hour. It’s up to the Energizer to bring back some new energy to the group before we pick up again. Sometimes they perform a magic trick, other times they sing a song or lead us in an aerobic exercise. They might tell a joke or lead a round of charades — whatever they want.
Having an energizer adds a whole new element of fun to our EOS Planning Sessions. It introduces more personality to the meetings, enriches team dynamics, and deepens relationships. The practice has been so transformative, I’ve begun adding the Energizer role to my in-person sessions as well!
There are three other roles I’ve been calling out in the Virtual Sessions, as well:
- The Squirrel Hunter calls out squirrels (tangents) throughout the day — either by yelling it out, waving their hands on the screen, or bouncing a toy squirrel in front of their camera to help pull the team back on track
- The Break Enforcer is in charge of making sure we stay on a good break schedule of about one break per hour. They remind everyone to get up, walk around, and get off their screens during the break.
- The Tool Updater is in charge of keeping track of To-Dos and Tool Updates so that everything gets captured in the appropriate place at the end of the session.
6) New Innovation
I’m using Kaptivio whiteboard technology to create a digital whiteboard experience in my virtual meetings. It emulates the in-person experience, and participants can download images of the whiteboard. Every change is recorded in a full PDF timeline that can be downloaded at the end of the day as reference. It’s a really impressive piece of technology.
Take Advantage of EOS Virtually
For years, I’ve limited myself to working primarily with family-owned businesses in Southeast Michigan. However, embracing virtual meetings has made my services available to leadership teams anywhere in the world.
If you’re a team-oriented, family-owned business that’s serious about change and willing to get vulnerable, let’s talk about how the Entrepreneurial Operating System® can help your organization gain Traction.