With each day that goes by, we are getting closer and closer to our final presentations, and working harder than ever in the process. One key component to our plan for GE’s Technology Services Group (TSG) is providing some guidelines as to when it is necessary to have in-person meetings. TSG employees are spread all over the world, and when it comes down to it, having regular face-to-face meetings can be a challenge, both in terms of cost and general time management.

However, having face-to-face meetings at least periodically is essential to strengthening bonds among team members while building trust and relationships. If nothing more, distributed teams should strive to meet face-to-face at least once during a project’s life-cycle.

This post outlines why face-to-face meetings are still best for building relationships, and provides some tips for when trying to decide if holding an in-person meeting is truly necessary.

If the purpose of the meeting is only for information sharing, it is possible to hold an effective meeting online, especially if the group already knows each other. However, if attendees need to build relationships and become motivated, face-to-face is by far the best way to meet.

In essence…

Ask the question: why are we meeting?

  • Is it for information sharing? If so, it may be possible to meet online.
  • Is it for relationship building? If so, you should probably meet face-to-face.
  • Is it for motivation and inspiration? Both avenues can be effective for this one.

When you’re deciding whether to have an online meeting or a face-to-face meeting, consider whether the relationships everyone will form are more valuable than everyone’s cost of traveling to the meeting.

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As Week 4 comes to a close, the TSG team is still working steadily to put together the perfect solution for the group’s internal communications crisis. Low and behold – could Pfizer have found us an answer?

Much like the current TSG, Pfizer discovered in 2008 that their internal communications had spiraled out of control. The company had a total of 410 information sites branching out into over 10,000 team specific sites – all lacking a consistent look and feel, providing no way to measure satisfaction and success, and costing $10 million per year to maintain. You are not alone, TSG!

The Solution? To develop one point of contact – a Pfizer World site. The redesign developed both a global addition of Pfizer World and local templates that provided “guidance without prescription.” New policies were designed to improve the intranet, not control its content. By focusing on a One Pfizer ideal for all online channels to align to, they were able to give direction without mandating the content.

The ultimate goal was to Connect, Educate and Listen to employees. Using a variety of different tools, Pfizer was able to facilitate a culture of open communication while giving employees the ability to “get the work done.” This article in HRM Today explains the situation and the results in more detail.

Could this work for TSG? If not the main solution to our challenge, it could definitely serve as a very key piece to it.