My presence on social media has been low key recently. Therefore, high time to check back in and share some thoughts with my network. As opposed to highlighting that I’ve been busy or working on interesting projects – both of which are true – I would like to share my insights based on working with groups of executives via Zoom.

Topic: Cooperating via Zoom

What I have discovered in my remote cooperation with executives representing multiple industries in the Netherlands, Serbia, Turkey, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, West Bank & Gaza, North Macedonia, Lebanon and the UK is that we need to see beyond the most obvious benefits of using video conferencing platforms.  The obvious gains are cost and time savings, environmental benefits, the ability to reach a wider audience and efficiency if meetings are planned and structured well.

Less obvious are the gains in a broader context. I wish to mention three.

Benefits for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion
A few examples:
All video images are of an equal size giving participants equal visibility
Groupthink diminishes when using diverse digital meeting features and nepotism has less opportunity to thrive
Online tools for brainstorming vastly improve the quality and range of ideas
AI-powered features give better insight into team dynamics and participation

Leadership development
The use of digital platforms can be predictable and routine driven or… it can fast track a different way of leading. The hybrid work format requires strategic thinking and it challenges leaders to increase the engagement of all generations. To achieve this you will be prompted to excel in different areas for different needs. This is not an option but a must in a world that is competing for talent.

Accelerated development of new insights
The last of my examples concerns the insights one can gain into, for example, gender and generational differences when working online. These differences are not new but they are amplified in times of crises. What an eye-opener is has been for me to work with mixed groups (age and gender) and women-only groups of executives in different regions. The group dynamics, areas of interest, method and depth of knowledge sharing are so very different depending on the composition of the teams, but understanding and using these differences can lead to much better and creative outcomes.
These insights need to be translated into policies for future cooperation and innovation!

What about the drawbacks related to online work formats vs face to face encounters? Yes, there are challenges and limitations but it is not a matter of either / or. If you redesign your post-Covid role to be more in line with current expectations, you will add more variation to your communication methods, see limitations in a different light and respond to them more creatively.