Virtual/Hybrid Strategy Facilitation: Creating Meaningful Vision and Plans Anywhere
by Lowell Aplebaum, CAE, CPF
In February 2020, a diverse group of 13 volunteer leaders of the Construction Specification Institute were finalizing plans to travel to Chicago in early March for a 1.5 day retreat, re-imagining the structure and purpose of their components and the value of the organization. A few weeks and one COVID-19 virus later, six leaders had arrived just as travel advisories were ramping up and seven remained at home. Knowing that, despite what was happening in the world, we had been working toward this retreat for months, we chose to pivot and use technology and varied facilitation methodologies to include all leaders, giving equal space and voice, ensuring no participant felt less than (even if some were not in the room).
As we enter a period where in-person gatherings are on hold, knowing that virtual is the new reality for all of us in the coming weeks/months, the change in medium does not reduce the need at this very moment for our leaders to connect on vital conversations and the work of vision and strategy. Virtual should not cause the pursuit of any organization’s vision or mission to falter. Here are some approaches and lessons learned for enabling an engaging virtual strategy discussion.
- Choose a technology platform that is easy to access, incorporates video, and is intended for many users. While there are a number of platforms available for virtual-facilitation (the subject of a subsequent article) in our case, I chose Zoom since there was audience-familiarity and we had accounts already. The platform served us well.
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