Work sessions are fairly straightforward as a concept—sort of like a meeting of minds toward the completion of a common goal. But how are they different from meetings? And what are the benefits? The struggles?
What is a work session? How is it different from a meeting?
A work session (sometimes called a co-working meeting) is typically a 1-hour session of a very small group of collaborators working on a single project to get it to almost-completion.
As you can imagine from this description, it is fundamentally different from a meeting where the purpose is to discuss ideas about a project then walk away clear action items that everyone will complete on their own.
We all the know problems here—accountability, time wasted, follow-up, competing priorities. We walk away from countless meetings having not gotten any closer to making any measurable progress.
And that’s just the thing about work sessions. They are about making measurable progress. And besides that obvious benefit (ahem…progress), there are many others which are making them a go-to choice for businesses looking to get things done!
The Clear Benefits of Work Sessions
1) Clear End Result
This isn’t a discussion about doing work in the future. It isn’t a pow-wow about what methods we think will work best. Work sessions are usually post-brainstorming stage, although that isn’t to say that conceptualizing won’t take place during the process. The initial brainstorming stage explores the scope of an idea and determines through discussion what the purpose of the work session shall be.
The session is then designed with a clear end goal in mind and the mission of the time block is to accomplish that task and reach that goal. Having the clear goal in mind helps to prevent scope creep, which can spell disaster for progress.
2) Success is Measurable
Because there is a clear end goal in mind, measuring success is pretty easy to do. Was the task completed or did the team near completion, or not? Will another work session need to be scheduled to complete it, or can the facilitator wrap up loose ends to see the project through to completion?
3) Less Time is Wasted
According to Asana’s ROI of Work Management Report, time wasted in meetings is a top barrier to productivity. The new approach of tackling projects through structured and organized work sessions means less time wasted and more tasks are crossed off the list.
4) Allows for Social Collaboration and Buy-In
What makes a work session so attractive is the participants’ willingness to strive towards the common goal yet be open to discussion and sharing ideas while making all decisions by consensus. This social aspect keeps employees motivated, allowing them to put their best foot forward in (and outside) the session.
5) Creative Friction Catalyzes Innovation
One of the key hallmarks of these work meetings is that the top minds in your company can come together to work on an important project. Naturally, this leads to differing opinions and ideas about how the work should best be completed. This creative friction can lead to the production of more innovative ideas that help propel the business forward.
What makes a work session so attractive is the participants’ willingness to strive towards the common goal yet be open to discussion and sharing ideas while making all decisions by consensus.
In the world of financial advising, with such diversity of talent and demand for services, utilizing work sessions keeps everyone on the same shared path towards completion while managing the flow of ideas, challenges, and potential changes.
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Maribeth Kuzmeski, PhD, President of Red Zone Marketing, is a marketing strategist, advisor to financial services companies, bestselling author of seven books, and a professional speaker rated as a Top 25 C-Suite Speaker as seen in Meetings & Conventions Magazine. She speaks on topics including marketing, branding, sales, and customer service.