In my corporate trainings, I often joke that the 3-Martini lunch is dead. And that’s not good.
Yes, executives can walk a straight line when they get back to the office. OK, that is good.
But what’s lost is the connection and skills and experience transfer that used to come from spending time with the boss, hearing war stories, and being able to ask questions.
Social gatherings that were once an integral part of corporate culture have moved to the section marked, “Important, Not Urgent.”
According to a Gartner survey of “Top 5 Priorities for HR Leaders in 2020,” filling the skills gap is right at the top.
Yet so many companies don’t create conditions that leverage the knowledge and wisdom their leaders can pass down, if only they weren’t themselves so busy with individual contributor work.
Take this summer. In July I facilitated an off-site meeting for a team of 12 or so at a major cosmetics company.
What came through most powerfully with this team was love – for their work, for one another, for the company they work for.
Still, they felt overwhelmed, exhausted, and a little lost. It also seemed like a lack of trust was nibbling at the team’s edges.
While my work that day required a lot of effort, it was actually quite simple.
We connected, shared experiences, reviewed the past year, and luxuriated in the good work they had done.
No alcohol was served, but it was a 3-Martini kind of day.
The connection and alignment from the morning allowed the team to look ahead. They found focus, defined goals, and re-committed to one another.
That allowed them to go back to the office with the confidence and connection to find better solutions and produce results.
- If you can, create a landing space where people can connect. Instead of a cafeteria with small cafe tables, try larger tables to include larger groups
- Build downtime into the schedule. And set the example. It starts at the top
- Leave a budget for social occasions, large and small
- Schedule quarterly meetings. And start them with a review and appreciation of what’s been accomplished. And do bring in a facilitator if it helps.
Remember, you can recruit new talent, or you can retain and make the most of the considerable talent you already have.