Almost every leader of an organization, whether a team of 15 people or a thousand-person site in a multinational has some version of the “All Hands” meeting. Some are done ad hoc when something needs to be communicated, and some are done at a regular cadence. But why are we bringing “all hands” together, to take notes. I know the origin is more about “all hands on deck” than taking notes, but there is no question that the overwhelming majority of these meetings are one-way static communication events. Sure, there are some Q&A sessions at the end. But since “all hands” include “all eyes and ears” with everyone on display, game-changing questions are rarely asked.
It’s a near Herculean task to pull everyone together. Everyone must stop what they’re doing at the same time, plans are in place, communications planned, rooms set up, and unfortunately, anxieties raised. Is one-way communication the best payoff we can get from this?
If you’re going to go through all this effort, perhaps you can get more out of it. That requires an “All Minds” meeting. Collaboration, dialogue, conversation, engagement – these are far higher aspirations and benefits than one-way communication. One-way communication, these days, can happen with video and other means.
Pull people together to collaborate on potential business models that you might be exploring. Discuss the target condition of your company’s culture. Facilitate a hack-a-thon to explore new service offerings. Do some shared problem solving. Make it highly structured or bounded organic organization. Make it a quick hit or an all-day affair. There are many options. Are any of these harder than one-way communication? All of them are harder. But if you’re already going to put this much effort into it, how much more can you gain through something collaborative.
Challenge extended. Is the challenge accepted?