Today, I am convinced that videoconferencing and other virtual technologies give us a much better way to conduct strategic off-sites. I realize that numerous companies have held “virtual off-sites,” but typically for the wrong reason (saving money) and with the wrong goal (to replicate physical off-sites). One idea was to encourage spontaneous conversations by simulating a “virtual cocktail hour.”
Wrong! Replicating traditional physical off-sites results in a “poor man’s” version of the real thing, like online training courses that consist of nothing more than a video recording of an instructor followed by a test. Instead, companies need to be much smarter about how they conduct virtual off-sites. They need to leverage virtual capabilities that overcome the shortcomings of a physical setting and vastly improve the process. The result: A new type of off-site that is actually superior to traditional off-sites. Why? Because it elicits honest feedback, encourages candid pushback and, eventually, obtains true buy-in from the entire organization.
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