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strategic planning

How BambooHR uses Lucidspark for remote strategic planning

Reading time: about 6 min

A strategic planning session at BambooHR generally finds the executive team packed in a conference room turned war room—whiteboards with scribbles on every spare inch, boxes of donuts and coffee cups, sticky notes and markers strewn across the table. But with the entire team now working remotely due to COVID-19, CEO Brad Rencher knew their three-year strategy planning meeting would look very different. The problem was determining what this year’s session should look like. 

“I was really worried about our three-year strategy refresh. How do you get people to open their minds to the possibilities of what’s possible and to embrace the “why not” philosophy of business? I was concerned we’d sit on Zoom for five hours with low energy, and people would think I’d put them on a death march.” 

As he struggled to determine how to still drive alignment and engagement without being in the same room, Brad was introduced to Lucidspark, the sister product to the company’s diagramming solution of choice, Lucidchart. He decided to make Lucidspark the workspace for their strategy meeting, in hopes that a virtual whiteboard could at least help attempt to replicate the in-person experience. 

Lucidspark didn’t just help BambooHR replicate the experience—it made it better. In fact, the meeting went so well that the entire executive team agreed they’d prefer to use Lucidspark over a PowerPoint or physical whiteboard even when they can meet in the same room again. The virtual whiteboard brought back the excitement and collaboration often missing in today’s world of remote work, allowing the team to align and bring new ideas to life.

Driving engagement

While Brad had been worried about productivity and engagement during their Zoom call, Lucidspark brought the same energy and focus found in their in-person meetings, if not more. Brad explains:

“The Lucid team had a great idea for how to drive virtual whiteboarding—for how to drive engagement like you do in a conference room where you have that moment of clarity and someone jumps up to the whiteboard and writes it down, and everyone exclaims, ‘This is it!’”

The team set up their canvas by defining the different strategy pillars they needed to discuss, such as customers, product, and competition. Then they began brainstorming objectives for each area, with every team member adding their own sticky notes to the board. Brad described how fun it was to see his team actively engage as sticky notes and colors began flying all over the infinite canvas.

strategic planning

The power of Lucidspark truly clicked when everyone’s ideas were on the board and the discussion began. 

“I knew this meeting was going to be a win when I heard the dialogue begin based on the context that had come out of each and every person’s mind and was now populated on the board. People started clarifying their ideas and connecting them with others on the canvas in real time. When I saw that interaction, I was like, ‘Okay, we’re good.’”

According to Brad, the features and functions of a product shouldn’t be the main event. The main event should be the conversation and activity those features help create within a virtual room. For the BambooHR team, Lucidspark’s features created lightbulb moments that will lay the groundwork for their next three years of success.

Facilitating the future of remote work

Lucidspark made it easy for Brad and the team to facilitate an effective working session. Even though everyone was brand new to the product, a user could go from opening Lucidspark to taking their first action in mere seconds. There was virtually no learning curve, allowing the team to get to the meat of the meeting right away. 

The infinite canvas provided infinite possibilities for new ideas and connections. The team loved that everyone could have their own working space but attention management features still gave Brad the chance to easily call the group back together to a specific area of the board at any time. 

Using Collaborator Colors, every participant in the group received a unique color so participants could see who was adding what. “The color-coding really helped us align. I could see where everyone’s mindspace was on the board. As the CEO, I want to see where people are working and where their heads are at.” 

Lucidspark helped drive and direct the meeting’s discussion. Describing his team as a “passionate group who likes to talk,” Brad found the timer especially helpful for realizing when the team was spending too long on a particular subject and needed to move along. 

But most importantly, the virtual whiteboard provided an interactive way for people to gather context in one spot—a capability that’s key for the apparent future of remote work. 

“As a facilitator for a group meeting, you want an application where context can be added. We’ve used whiteboards and slides for years. With the future of work, there will be a persistence of people participating in meetings remotely. There need to be products that act as that context facilitator and discussion aligner. Even if we were in the office, we’d want a screen projecting Lucidspark and we’d want to use it as our workspace to drive the context and alignment around what we’re discussing. I think Lucidspark is off to a great start in terms of being a powerful product for the future of work.” 

Creating alignment to move forward

Regardless of how productive a brainstorm is, it can’t lead to action if the team doesn’t align around the resulting ideas. BambooHR has 19,000 customers looking to them for direction on the future of managing teams—this strategy session had a lot at stake. The team found that Lucidspark’s voting feature was key for driving the alignment they needed to move forward.  

After brainstorming, the team organized their sticky notes by themes. Then they voted on the remaining ideas. Brad describes the experience, “Voting was fun. It also drove better alignment in terms of what we were thinking than when we do it in person.”

strategic planning

Through voting, the team could clearly identify and agree upon their winning ideas in order to take the next steps to make them a reality. In fact, Brad was so pleased with the meeting’s results that he texted Lucid’s CEO afterward: “You helped me get a win on our strategy meeting today.” 

The BambooHR team plans to continue making Lucidspark a part of their workflow, with Brad already planning on using the strategic planning software for a multi-hour 2021 OKR planning meeting. In a single four-hour strategy session, Lucidspark became a must-have product for the BambooHR team as they look to the future of work.

“We’ve all had virtual calls where cameras are off, you’re talking to a blank screen, and it’s not going well. When you’re doing multi-hour strategy sessions, it’s key that I as CEO can draw context out of everyone’s minds and hearts so we can make the best decision. We’ve tried other online collaboration products, but the dynamic nature of Lucidspark with features like color coding and voting, all in one application on one canvas with flexibility, really helped our meeting reach a new plane. Now it's up to us to turn that strategy into a business that will thrive for the next three years. I was super grateful we got a test run at Lucidspark to help us have a productive meeting.”

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About Lucidspark

Lucidspark is a virtual whiteboard that helps you and your team collaborate to bring the best ideas to light. It comes packed with all of the sticky notes, freehand drawing tools, and infinite canvas space you need to capture that next big idea. And it’s built for collaboration. Think of it like a sandbox where your team can bounce ideas around and innovate together in real time.

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