Silicon Valley Giant
A venerable Silicon Valley behemoth was losing ground. A string of CEOs, Board infighting, confused product mixes and customers, faltering sales, a depressed and depressing stock price … all presented the organization with many challenges. The CEO determined it was time to “gather the troops” to energize a turnaround. For the attendees (vice presidents and above), the stated objectives of the meeting were (as written):
- Get VPs fired up about the organization and understand the strategy and the quest they were on
- Understand leadership’s role in the quest / turnaround and how each VP impacts the strategy
- Networking /Team Building/ Feel part of something big
The designers of the meeting needed to create something different — a meeting that would truly engage the VPs; not an easy crowd. They knew the meeting needed much more than a series of presentations. The designers had used Covision’s fast-feedback approach in a variety of senior but smaller meetings and knew the basic process. It was a perfect fit with the profile of this meeting.
Covision provided 1) agenda design (integrating the interactive processes), technical design, 2) consulting on the setup of 140 laptops and the in-house wireless network, 3) operation of the Covision system during all the interactive segments, 4) live coaching of presenters and then 5) delivered all the data in a document at the end of the meeting.
During the meeting there were presentations on topics from finance to innovation, and board stability to new products. In most segments, participants were able to ask questions and make observations through the Covision system. Anonymously. Each time, the aggregate of what all participants had entered was shown back to the group, along with summary comments from the stage. During one 30-minute “breakout” session (with all 1100 participants working in their table groups in the main hall), the whole group defined and prioritized the 10 most important Leadership Actions coming out of this Summit.
With any meeting of this size and seniority, there are many cooks in the kitchen. Covision has supported hundreds, if not thousands, of this type of meeting and knows well how to apply its interactive processes carefully and appropriately. In this case, it meant simultaneously supporting the meeting design team, the in-house meeting planners, the contracted audio-visual company, the contracted laptop and technology provider, and the meeting site people. It was challenging, but not difficult given Covision’s expertise.
The meeting was deemed a great success — from the stage at the close, in comments overheard from participants, and from the design team weeks later. Each presenter was able to see and respond to dozens of themed questions about their presentations. All the senior executives had a finger on the pulse of the whole group in a way that most had not experienced before. The energy was high at the end. A 158 page document delivered containing all participant entries and themes, verbatim, for subsequent review and distribution.
Perhaps the strongest endorsement came from the CEO as he asked for planning to begin for next year’s Leadership Summit — this time with 4,500 participants, including this time all directors and above.