When Do We Really Need Face-toFace Interactions?

21 October, 2021

While work will likely never go back to our pre-pandemic status quo, the future will be a blended one that leverages the best of what both virtual and face-to-face experiences can offer.  The authors of this HBR article argue that collaboration, innovation, acculturation, and dedication are difficult to replicate virtually and sustain without some face-to-face interaction.

To design in person environments that will be successful in the future, they say, an immersive experience must be created that incorporates elements like purposeful focus, interpersonal bonding, deep learning, unencumbered experimentation, and structured serendipity. 

Professional development and executive education programs will also need to incorporate these elements to create impact, with a particular focus on deep learning and what the authors describe as structured serendipity:

Deep Learning

Conceptual learning means gaining an understanding of ideas. Deep learning means wrestling with those concepts, debating when and how they are useful, and understanding how subtle differences in context influence their application.

Deep learning happens when participants have the time, space, and support to explore the meaning of these concepts for their particular situations and challenges. By “exploration” the authors clarify that they mean both the opportunity to honestly share where they are in any specific area and the opportunity to get both feedback — and be challenged — from colleagues in their group. Deep learning then truly makes the concepts come alive in both relevant and context-specific ways.

Structured serendipity. 

This refers to the effect of stumbling onto something truly wonderful while looking for something entirely unrelated. A well-designed immersive experience consists of a balance of formal and informal elements that create fertile ground for such a moment. This structuring can include elements such as the selection of a diverse set of participants, the pedagogical variety of the program, the opportunities to connect with different colleagues, the choice of locations that foster formal and informal connections, and the spaces that are conducive to reflection and sharing.

All of which sounds very much like Cranlana’s program.

via HBR, Robert Hooijberg and Michael D Watkins, 4 January 2021. Read the full article here.

Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership’s programs include the 2 day Executive Ethics, 6 day Executive Colloquium and year-long Vincent Fairfax Fellowship. We also deliver online and tailored corporate programs. Find the right program for you. They are all held under the Chatham House Rule to encourage genuine and open debate, and allow participants to candidly discuss sometimes sensitive issues in private while allowing the topic and nature of the debate to be made public, and contribute to a broader conversation. The alumni program offers ongoing leadership development support and a lifelong connection with Cranlana.

Photo by JJ Ying on Unsplash