AH Global is a successful social media management firm offering services with a globally distributed team.
And I do mean global: they speak 9 languages and live in 14 time zones.
While business is good and the company is humming along, in the past their meetings were not as productive as they wanted.
They tried video conferencing, screen sharing, and other common approaches, and none of them effectively bridged the time zone and language barriers. They needed something different, a new approach to meetings.
Here's what Mark Harrison, CEO of AH Global, had to say.
AH Global is a successful social media management firm offering services such as Digital PR, Online Grassroots & New Media Marketing, Business Intelligence, Search Engine Services and Online Reputation Clean-Up.
The company is highly diverse, made up of people stretching across 14 time zones and living in nine countries on four continents. With such a distributed team working in a fast paced environment, we rely heavily on online meetings to collaborate and get work done. However, even though online meetings were central to our operations, the quality was not matching expectations: discussions were digressing, meetings were running long, meeting notes were inadequate and information was being lost. The traditional screen sharing tools we were using were not meeting our needs.
“We wanted a means of organizing our meeting-to- meeting activity because we realized that effective meetings were key to keeping projects on schedule.”
We tried various solutions to try and solve the problem, including Google Docs. We also tested video but quickly found that due to the time zone differences (meetings at 3 AM for some employees) people were unprepared, or unwilling, to jump on a video call after having just gotten out of bed.
We reached the point where the effectiveness of the meetings was more important than the technologies we were using. We wanted a means of organizing our meeting-to-meeting activity because we realized that effective meetings were key to keeping projects on schedule. We weren't looking for a document repository, such as Sharepoint, or a sales presentation service, like Webex. We were looking for a tool that allowed us to collaborate before and during a meeting.
I was familiar with Lucid Meetings and after some investigation, we decided to give that a try.
We learned very quickly how to create an effective agenda for the team, as Lucid Meetings makes this very easy. None of us were novices to meetings, but having a tool we used on a weekly basis improved our ability to create an effective agenda. We also improved our ability to hold to the agenda, resulting in fewer detours away from the reasons the meetings were called. If new topics were brought up they were added to the agenda to be handled in turn, or scheduled for a break-out group's meeting.
With the ability to take and share real-time notes, the quality of the note taking and subsequent meeting archive greatly improved. This helped when people needed to go back and reference previous decisions or discussions which in turn meant we spent less time repeating discussions.
“[Lucid Meetings] was good for morale. Meetings were tighter, more organized, and shorter. And that makes everyone happier.”
Before we adopted Lucid Meetings, our meeting success rate was mixed. After we had been using Lucid Meetings for some time, we began finishing our 1 hr meetings in as little as 45 minutes. Some of this was because of the prep work prior to the meeting, but mostly because we had really good focus during our meetings.
An unexpected benefit was improved employee morale. Meetings were tighter, more organized, and shorter. And that makes everyone happy.
Download the full case study: Lucid Meetings Case Study: AH Global (90K PDF)