There is a very powerful idea behind the story of Sitka’s remote off-site, described in details in this worthy article (full of tactics that are also applicable to meetings, all-hands, 1-1s and any other way your company has chosen to kill employees motivation).

The idea is that when you gather a number of people in one room (physical or virtual) the easiest way to make them fall asleep or continuously check their phones is to short-list some gatekeepers of knowledge (managers, teachers, experts) and let them speak for hours on end. And then we wonder why the message did not get through, why not everybody is working towards the agreed goals, why our purpose is not shared across departments.

Even assuming that the one-to-many form of communication ever worked, it does not anymore. People do not care about targets they did not contribute to plan, or about achievements they do not understand, or about buzz words that contrast with their day-to-day experience.

Design your events for connection, engage people in conversations and ask what the expectations are. Be flexible enough to not have everything under control. And remember who your end-user is.

At Minerva, we ended up banning lectures. They’re a great way to teach — but a pretty lousy way to learn. Good for the product builder, but bad for the end-user. Same goes for events. Big retreats are an easy way to convene a large group, but a bad way to facilitate connection.

Mike Wang

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