Getting everyone in the same room (or on the same farm).

The photograph above was the scene earlier this month: a Stress Report team meeting, outside in the sunshine. The Stress Report is the first in a new series of print publications from The Do Lectures. It’s a complex, ambitious project with team members based all over the country.

Project HQ is 300 miles east from my front door. It’s on David Hieatt’s farm on the Welsh coast. And David’s farm is one hour from the nearest train station. Unsurprisingly it’s not easy to get everyone together for one full-team meeting, let alone a weekly one.

But sometimes you’ve got to jump on the train/ in the car and just get together. Slack, Skype, phone, email, whatever are all well and good but as I spent time in David’s chicken shed I was reminded how fast things happen when you’re together:

  1. Clarity. Everyone can see the same thing at the same time. There is no ambiguity. No misreading of emails. No dropped Skype call. No distractions.
  2. Single-minded purpose. We weren’t in Wales for anything else. We were there for one reason: to commit ourselves to one project. That’s powerful.
  3. Consensus. When everyone is together you can talk, disagree/agree, then get buy-in, agree direction, make decisions. There’s no paralysis arising from the need to check things with other people first. Everyone is present, everyone knows what their actions are.

Getting everyone together in one room fast-tracks progress on a project like a hot knife through butter. So sometimes it’s worth the 600 mile return trip. Especially if the meeting is on a farm.

Whether you’re a pioneering entrepreneur trying to attract and keep the best people, or an overworked employee just trying to find a better way to get all this crazy workload done, The Stress Report is a modern compass for a new, smarter, more productive way of working. It’s out in June, pre-order your copy here.

Ian Sanders is a creative consultant and storyteller who helps brands, organisations and people get heard and grow. Ian is Editor at Large of The Stress Report.

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