During the pandemic, we were all stuck in our houses. As the majority of people have been vaccinated, people are on vacation. Every client has at least one if not multiple people on vacation. In addition, in-person events are starting to ramp back up. There is a value in reconnecting. Recently, I attended the 80th birthday party for a friend and colleague, Liz deClifford. It was very odd yet great seeing people in person instead of via Zoom! Other groups are starting to add in-person events as well. So the question becomes – should we jump back into the “old normal” or rethink our strategy?

One Tip to Implement This Week:

Are you reconnecting, rejuvenating and rebounding? There is no doubt that some level of in-person collaboration can add exponential value to relationships and business. On the other hand, going overboard with in-person can be tiring, labor intensive and non-value added. Striking that optimal balance is something we should reassess.

  • Is it a new relationship? There is value in meeting the team early on in a project or business relationship. On the other hand, in working with companies that have teams spread across the globe, I’ve found that seeing each other via Teams or Zoom can be quite effective as well. Look at each situation separately.
  • Are you at a key juncture in a project? We find that getting the team together at key junctures to brainstorm and develop a roadmap/ plan forward can accelerate progress. On the other hand, we have experienced success with interactive, virtual workshops as well. Software has come a long way. If combined with an excellent facilitator, you might just have a better experience! Again, evaluate each situation separately.
  • Would observation add value? There are times you have to observe the process, ask questions and interact in real time. Go in-person in these situations.
  • Would a plant/ warehouse tour add value? There is value in seeing a plant operate in person. It can provide a baseline of knowledge you can build upon virtually. During the pandemic, we did several virtual tours. We gained value from a narrated virtual tour or a live virtual tour, and in some situations, it met the need. In others, it gave us a leg up that met the immediate need. Later, an in-person tour built on the virtual experience.
  • Are you visiting a customer? There is definitely something to be said about meeting customers in person from time to time. On the other hand, customers also really appreciate virtual Teams meetings because technology enables people to see each other, and the meeting is typically more efficient, focused and doesn’t require a conference room. Busy executives prefer virtual meetings more often than not, and they end up limiting in-person to when they will add exponential value.
  • Trade show? Of course, trade shows are generally better in person; however, software providers have developed valuable virtual experiences. As one colleague said, breaking bread with a customer, supplier or colleague cannot be replaced, and I’d agree with that. On the other hand, that has nothing to do with a trade show other than the reason both parties might be in the same location. Again, evaluate each situation on its merits.
  • Networking? I’ve found both in-person and virtual to be successful. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Get good at both so that you can use the best strategy for the situation.

The bottom line is to use common sense, and don’t get carried away thinking “all in-person” or “all virtual”. Few things in life are black or white. Think shades of grey. Please keep us in the loop of your situation and how we can help your organization successfully navigate the current volatility and emerge above and beyond. Several of these types of topics are included in our new eBook Emerging Above and Beyond: 21 Insights for 2021 from Manufacturing, Supply Chain & Technology Executives. Download your complimentary copy.