Sunday, 25 March 2012

Engage Face-to-Face

Yesterday evening I read an article from Harvard Business Review and titled 'The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs'.

One point listed within the article is Engage face-to-face

"Despite being a denizen of the digital world, or maybe because he knew all too well its potential to be isolating, Jobs was a strong believer in face-to-face meetings. "There's a temptation in our networked age to think that ideas can be developed by e-mail and iChat," he told me. "That's crazy. Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions. You run into someone, you ask what they're doing, you say 'Wow', and soon you're cooking up all sorts of ideas...Jobs hated formal presentations, but he loved freewheeling face-to-face meetings. He gathered his executive team every week to kick around ideas without a formal agenda, and he spent every Wednesday afternoon doing the same with his marketing and advertising team. Slide shows were banned. "I hate the way people use slide presentations instead of thinking," Jobs recalled. "People would confront a problem by creating a presentation. I wanted them to engage, to hash things out at the table, rather than show a bunch of slides. People who know what they're talking about don't need PowerPoint." 

Despite my idea that every business situation is specific and therefore leaders would still need to adjust their style, methods and tools to that particular moment, I do like the point listed above and agree with its vital importance. 
In some situations there is none substitute for quality conversations and face-to face dialogue.
At work with work experience staff I do like encouraging that. It brings in valuable contributions and ideas from the members and it is a powerful way for building trusty and stronger relationships. 
From my personal experience face-to-face conversations and dialogue can really lead to a more creative workplace, productive projects and bridges between people. However, to achieve this  meetings should be developed throughout real and sincere listening to people ideas and comments.

Face-to face conversations are also an opportunity to focus attention on the people we have in front of us and the way we interact during those conversations can even change the way people will interact in future. If in a meeting you feel treated like the most important person in the world you will remember that wonderful experience and you would be more likely to do the same with someone else in future. 

(Thank you to Charlie Nordblom who shared with me one of his experiences and made me reflect on this last point).