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Embracing our New (Virtual) Reality

Caitlin Curran Hatch

May 22, 2020

I saw an interview recently in which author, American diplomat and former State Department official Richard Haas observed that the COVID-19 pandemic is not so much a turning point for our society, but an accelerant.  His comments alluded to the idea that trends only just beginning to emerge before the pandemic, have been “fast-tracked” and their significance amplified as we unlock the ways and means of our new normal.

Perhaps the best and most accessible example of this phenomenon is our new fluency in virtual or video conference meetings and even social gatherings. At Quantum, we’ve operated as a virtual organization from the beginning, conducting much of our work via telephone, video conference and the miracle of the Internet.  However, an important and transformative element to our work often culminated in traveling to meet clients, sometimes one-on-one but frequently in groups of 20 or more. And the public speaking engagements at conferences to even larger groups…how does that work continue, or does it?

As so many of you have, we decided to take a case-by-case approach postponing our in-person retreats and workshops at first but quickly pivoting to 100% virtual via Zoom, Meet, WebEx and the myriad of other apps that have become as familiar to us as centuries-old brands like Kleenex and Clorox. 

As it happens, we have been in the regular practice of video conferencing with an international nonprofit organization who asked us to conduct individual board orientations with their multi-national Board.  We had previously aided them in updating their core governance structures and establishing a better understanding of their core identity and purpose —orientation of their newest directors was the next meaningful step forward.  This afforded us a unique opportunity to put into practice a new way of conducting board orientation…100% virtually!

In the recently published The State of Credit Union Governance 2020 Report we identified that “a significant number of board members believe their boards must improve their current onboarding process.” Less than half of the directors surveyed for the study felt that they were “using an effective process to orient new board members to the work and dynamics of the board,” with 30% categorizing it as “adequate”— hardly a ringing endorsement.  Thus, we developed Virtual Board Orientation, a solution for boards who struggle with finding enough hours in the day, volunteers to manage the effort, or simply engaging ways to orient new board members effectively and meaningfully.

So we “upped our game” so to speak. Doing more video conferencing in particular around board orientation, and we’re creating more recorded video segments and interviews. Check out our Facebook and LinkedIn for the latest and greatest! We upgraded our typical teleconference to a video conference where face-to-face from our own homes has increased the intimacy of our client relationships in a way that would make Getting Naked author Patrick Lencioni proud of both our clients and of us.

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