I’ve been reading Leaders Eat Last, a book about leadership by the motivational speaker Simon Sinek. His book explores, as the subtitle puts it, "why some teams pull together and others don’t." Sinek quotes a lot of biology and anthropology to support his thesis: when companies prioritize the care of human beings, and put people before numbers, they thrive.

We are biologically wired, Sinek says, to function best as a member of a close and trusting group. Teamwork helped us find food and stave off attacks by saber-toothed tigers back in the days when we were hunters and gatherers. Today, when most of our hunting and gathering is done online, teamwork is just as important in maintaining an organization’s health.

I thought about Sinek when an email about a new program by one of my favorite San Francisco hotels, the iconic Sir Francis Drake, landed in my inbox. Called "Be a Kid Again," the program brings a sense of play and nostalgia to meeting breakout sessions. Covered in butcher paper, tables offer crayons, construction paper, pattern scissors and nostalgic playthings like yo-yo’s, play-doh, Slinkies and Silly Putty. Childhood games are also provided-from Twister and Candy Land to Monopoly. And the snack-break menu includes the kinds of treats you never quite outgrow-mini pb&j crustless sandwiches, fried mac ‘n cheese balls, house-made pudding, Twinkies and rice crispy treats, warm chocolate chip cookies.

People whose day job includes writing code, managing budgets or developing long-term marketing strategies can wind down with some throwback games like Simon Says, telephone and big-group Pictionary.

I think our Paleolithic ancestors would want to join us in this fun, don’t you?

Michigan’s vibrant art and culture offerings are a big part of what makes the state so attractive as a meetings destination.

To support these assets, the Michigan Arts and Culture Council (MACC) coordinates several grants to arts and culture organizations, cities and municipalities, and other nonprofit organizations “ensuring that every citizen and community in Michigan enjoys the civic, economic and educational benefits of arts and culture.”

 

In the upcoming Spring issue of Michigan Meetings + Events, you’ll find an exclusive interview with the authors of Suddenly Hybrid: Managing the Modern Meeting (Wiley). Emmy-winning broadcaster Karin M. Reed and Joseph A. Allen, Ph.D., a leading expert on workplace meetings, offer a guide to navigating the new normal of meetings where some attendees are in the room and others are Zooming in from remote locations. 

Here’s a preview of the strategies that make hybrid meetings work for team leaders, according to Reed and Allen:

 

The CDC defines close contact as within six feet or less, for 15 minutes or more with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. At gatherings of many kinds, contact tracing is used to trace the people that someone has come into contact with, before they learn that they have tested positive. This allows the people that the sick person came into contact with to be aware of the situation, and to make health-informed choices.