Planning In-Person Meetings with Intentionality

By Todd Sanders

Are you missing the camaraderie of bringing your team together in person? Today’s virtual workforce has provided employees and organizations with many benefits; however, in-person meetings that are well planned and executed provide a very special opportunity to come together to reconnect, re-align and re-engage as a team. Learn how McChrystal Group approached its first in-person All Hands since the onset of COVID-19.

Our quarterly All Hands meetings are a core component of McChrystal Group’s culture, where we are invited to come together, reflect on performance, and look ahead to challenges, as one team. Though COVID-19 forced us to transform from our traditionally in-person gatherings to virtual all-day meetings, our team agreed that the in-person meeting was far more impactful.

At the end of 2021, we decided to return to the in-person one-day meeting. We rigorously planned to mitigate risk, implementing strict protocols to ensure a safe setting where our team could come together in both a formal and informal, setting. This was a chance for our newest teammates to meet their colleagues face-to-face, focus on team building, and celebrate two years of navigating COVID-19 as a dispersed, yet highly committed team.

The impact on the team was immediate – and visible. It began before sunrise with our traditional early-morning McChrystal Group physical training session. Under the cover of darkness, teammates arrived in their McChrystal Group gear to work together for a physical challenge, building teamwork and camaraderie as they sweat together.

The day that followed was full of important organizational updates, discussions around our strategy, the sharing of best practices, and the opportunity for our team members to connect. We reflected on the year and looked ahead to the next, ensuring that teammates weren’t only in the same room, but on the same page for where the team was headed. It was an invaluable experience for our team to be in a “high collision environment” where ideas come together to create even better ones. It takes thoughtful planning and facilitation to ensure teams are aligned with the objectives of the event and a gentle hand on the rudder to allow your teammates to achieve those objectives. The event concluded with a holiday celebration, where we informally caught up with teammates that we’ve traditionally chatted with across a computer screen.

As our CEO, Stan McChrystal, stated, “Although All Hands is a meeting, it really is a teamwork-building cultural event. People get a chance to laugh together, they get a chance to eat meals together, and they get a chance to work through hard problems together. If it’s crafted well, it’s both fun, informative, and educational, so it’s a pretty special gathering.”

To see for yourself, watch this short film that captured our All-Hands experience:

We’ve been planning, facilitating, and executing All Hands meetings for ourselves and clients for over a decade. Contact us today if you are interested in hearing more.

Todd Sanders is a Partner, currently leading an engagement with a pharmaceutical company and a telecommunications company, leveraging his background in organizational and leadership development. He is particularly interested in the interaction between process and behavior. His diverse background and interests range from advanced mathematics to digital transformation to psychology to philosophy.

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