What does it mean to transition to a “new normal.” As I speak with Executive Directors, board members, and other consultants across the state, a question that is top of mind is how to best transition and not lose any of the valuable things we have learned over the past year. In other words – how do we not throw the baby out with the bath water?
At D&A we’ve been giving that a lot of thought, too. What should be in person, what should be remote, and what will a hybrid model look like? Here’s what we have observed:
1) Meeting virtually works – not just from the perspective of having an alternative, they really work. People show up on time, are prepared for the meeting, and get the work done. The outputs from virtual meetings are really good – in most cases better than in-person meetings
2) Virtual meetings are more efficient and quicker – they just are
3) BUT – it seems like there are so many more meetings in the day. I keep wondering how my calendar filled up so fast – I used to drive everywhere and I wasn’t meeting while driving. Now I just have a lot more virtual meetings
4) Meeting virtually can be exhausting – maybe because there are so many of them or we are paying attention, meeting after meeting, after meeting, after meeting, after meeting
5) YES – you can get to know each other virtually, you can read body language – it’s just different. Many of the boards and committees I worked with were getting together for the first time – and are laughing and joking with each other. It’s just different – not better or worse
6) STILL – we cannot go all virtual. We miss the human interaction, the comradery, the connection you get from being in the same room at the same time. Can anyone say Kumbaya?
Going forward, we all need to figure out our own hybrid models. Here are some models we’re considering at D&A
- When we are doing strategic plans, we can do some of the work virtually and then gather for important time together
- Capital campaigns and cultivation receptions – definitely virtual. More people attend and more people get engaged early in the process. And in the campaigns I’ve done during this pandemic, you reach your goal sooner
- Personal solicitations – it depends – some should be in person and some people will prefer virtual meetings
- Board trainings and governance work can be done virtually, making it easier for more people to attend. They can also do them in person if it is part of a retreat
We are all still finding our way out of this. We are all still trying to do good. I just think we should try to do good better.