The Modern Boardroom is Empty

June 19, 2012 - 0 Comments

In the not-too-distant past the boardroom was a place where executives met to plan the future of the company, analyze the competition, discuss satisfaction and retention, and generally come together to brainstorm how to accelerate success. On occasion guests were invited to the boardroom – for example,  top customers who required an executive briefing or an employee celebrating 25 years at a company.

Executives would spend hours, if not days, traveling to the boardroom to meet his or her peers face-to-face.  The boardroom would be filled with executives sitting down to hammer out the company’s top initiatives.

Today’s boardroom is empty.

Or at least not quite as full as it was a few years ago.

Could it be that executive teams are hosting less face-to-face meetings? Is the desire for personal interactions decreasing? Do people value meetings less now than 5, 10, 15 years ago?

If anything the opposite is true: people want to meet more often but are more geographically dispersed. Executives want the boardroom experience without physically being in the boardroom. Work / life balance (which I personally refer to simply as “harmony”) has made all of us – executives included – demand more time at home which means less time in the boardroom.

Companies like Advocate Health Care and AXA Group have figured out how to bring the boardroom experience anywhere, at anytime.

Boardroom redesign leads to innovation at Advocate Health Care

Advocate Health Care has a very unique boardroom which sits at the heart of its headquarters in Oak Brook, IL. The multi-purpose boardroom is a meeting spot for board members, a place of celebration for associates commemorating a 25-year (or more) anniversary (and there are MANY of them which demonstrates what a great place Advocate is to work but that’s a topic for another blog),  and even to film this video testimonial about innovation in the Advocate boardroom and beyond:

The Advocate team describes how adding Cisco TelePresence to the boardroom helped:

–          Executives and associates collaborate more effectively and get face-to-face more quickly

–          Reduce travel time and improve productivity to better serve patients. For instance, executives that previously spent a week traveling to individual sites can now meet with each site  from the boardroom, saving days of travel.

–          Include more key people in critical meetings as evidence by Dr. Rishi Sikka, Vice President of Clinical Transformation, “At the end of a long day, no physician wants to drive an hour each way for an in-person meeting. But if they can walk into a TelePresence room in their own hospital right after surgery…they appreciate that. We see more physicians in virtual meetings than we ever saw in our in-person meetings.”

–          Save money. “if you get a group of highly-paid physicians into a central location without requiring them to travel, that translates into a considerable cost savings for the organization,” says Dr. Lee Sacks, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Advocate

Dr. Sacks, also commented that prior to the TelePresence deployment, a meeting with 20 surgeons would have been difficult, if not impossible. But with Cisco Telepresence, not only is it possible, it is extremely effective and also provides considerable cost savings to the organization.

The results are eloquently summed up in this statement from Dr. Sacks, “We held a single TelePresence meeting for 20 spine surgeons to discuss implantable devices. I’m certain that we paid for our entire TelePresence investment with that one meeting.”

And while there are less people using the Advocate boardroom, productivity has increased, executive and employee satisfaction is higher, and everyone is spending more time focused on their priorities.

 AXA Eliminates  20,000 Executive Business Trips

When AXA Group looked for a dynamic solution  to leverage the collective knowledge of 214,000 employees worldwide to improve business, they understood the solution would need to be simple and scalable; like Advocate, they chose Cisco TelePresence.

At the beginning of the project, the AXA Tech department identified a few key meetings on which to test the new Cisco TelePresence system, including the annual board meeting.. Board members travel from all around the world to Paris for a 2-hour meeting costing the company a lot of  time and money.

The pilot board meeting was a huge success (to the relief of AXA Tech!)! Greg Medwin, Manager Global Network Design Authority at AXA Tech told us, “Some of the initial responses to our AXA presence [Cisco TelePresence] systems was initially ‘wow, how can we adapt this into our business? The pure immersive  and interactive response, as well as the ability to reach out and communicate with teams globally or on the other side of town is [powerful]’ It was seen as a great benefit by the executives, something immediately accessible and not expensive”

The success with Cisco TelePresence extends beyond the boardroom:

–          Cut travel costs by €100 million over three-year period by hosting 43,000 meetings

–          Reduced CO2 emissions by 240,000 metric tons over same timeframe

–          Simultaneously allowed executives to make better use of their time by reducing the number of trips for executives by 20,000

–          Eliminated 15,000 employee business trips

What is your company doing to bring the boardroom experience outside the boardroom? Share your story!

Find out how Advocate Health Care and AXA Group planned for, designed, implemented, and optimized their TelePresence solutions:

Advocate Health Care  case study | video testimonial  | how they accomplished the boardroom

AXA Group case study | video testimonial

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