Lenovo’s global employee kickoff: The evolution of company meetings?

Disclosure: Most of the vendors mentioned are clients of the author.

When I first started in technology, I worked for ROLM Systems and our employee events were largely weekly: we’d get together on Friday afternoons for beer, snacks, and updates.  All-hands meetings were  less frequent and required travel; they were nowhere near as much fun but just as critical for understanding top-level strategy and my role within it. (I was less a fan of these because I’d often end up getting a virus — large crowds and finger food are a danger — and spending a week to recover every other time.)

But big events often get employees, particularly sales employees, fired up and motivated. And  they help create critical connections we often need to complete a task or progress as an employee. I’ve been wondering how companies are handling these things during the pandemic, so I was excited to be invited to Lenovo’s all-hands meeting virtually.  It was nicely done, given the limitations of technology.

Here’s what worked, what didn’t, and what it foreshadows about the future of these kinds of corporate events. 

The elements of a successful company meeting

Lenovo’s executive team hit every element I typically expect at one of these company-wide sessions.  The CEO and different division heads spoke about Lenovo’s market share, leadership, and gains —touting the company as the most successful multinational, at least in its segment. They also conveyed the unique nature of Lenovo with leaders from a variety of geographies and backgrounds. 

Employees that stood out as leaders or thought outside of the box to accomplish needed change were called out. This recognition for successful rule breakers is critical if you want employees to take the needed risks a company needs to advance; otherwise, the status quo can discourage risk-taking or push people to leave a company. 

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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