Best Practice Story UNIQA – a virtual development journey

Best Practice Story UNIQA – a virtual development journey

The large insurance company UNIQA planned to enable their managers to put focus on their own development as well as the development of their employees. The managers were offered the opportunity to develop the necessary mindset and to provide different methods & tools for this.

MDI offered a virtual development journey, which has now been running successfully for almost a half a year. Our experienced trainer, consultant, coach and MDI partner Regina Rosenstatter has already guided more than 100 managers successfully through the virtual master classes.

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The Power of Purpose Driven Leadership

The Power of Purpose Driven Leadership

In the past five years, there has been an enormous increase in interest in purpose driven leadership. For many business experts and consultants, including our purpose expert Regina Rosenstatter, purpose driven leadership is the key to more success and satisfaction for companies, leaders and employees.

Why it is even more important to talk about Purpose in times of crisis

The current COVID crisis has made life even more challenging for both companies and their employees. The topic of self-leadership is currently in high demand. Evaluate your own leadership mission, your own leadership approach and be clear about what form of leadership is effective for your company.

Central questions are how to maintain the relationship with your team and individual team members in the virtual world and how to maintain the work performance and motivation over a prolonged period without physical contact. The challenge for managers is not primary to control goals, but rather to be able to maintain a sense of belonging in the team and to the company despite the distance.

And this is exactly where a common why, a common purpose – a common goal – can be more important than ever. Pulling on one string, knowing what each person can specifically contribute.

That is why companies and leaders need a very clear understanding of why they do what they do. A crystal-clear formulation of this. Because only this common goal – a common purpose – creates a bond and maintains the relationship.

Especially in difficult times, purpose functions as an ” inner compass” and can give hope and courage to leaders and employees.

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Sustainable development of virtual and hybrid teams

Sustainable development of virtual and hybrid teams

“Changing the mindset in teams is also successfully possible with a hybrid set-up. The virtual coordination especially requires clarity and structure. We will show you how you can also implement virtual and hybrid trainings using a best-practice story!”

About the author:

Nicole Altenberger, Training & Development Consultant at MDI, shares with us her work experiences with L&D in international companies.

Initial situation

At the beginning of the year, a large customer had decided to change the focus of a team (approx. 25 people) and to encourage a mindset change from problem to solution orientation. The general goal of becoming a high performing team was in the focus and was to be implemented through individual measures (conflict resolution, brainstorming, out of the box thinking, customer focus, prioritization, …) The training was designed to take place in one large seminar room, with two smaller rooms to meet the individual needs of the participants and to provide enough space for exchange.

… and then came Corona.

Like so many other companies, we were faced with the question: what are we postponing, knowing that no one can see into the future and anticipate when the situation will “normalize” again. In contrast to this, however, there are always topics and contents that have an urgency and importance – which should therefore definitely be held within a certain period of time.

After all, how important is a training session if you postpone it several times?

– this is a key question that every company should be asking itself right now.

All hands OKR meeting

Environment meets mind- and skillset – Shaping and leading sustainable dream teams Vol. 01 How can you lead and support teams on the way to the IDEAL Mindset and IDEAL Skillset and ensure the appropriate ENVIRONMENT for this?

How to implement a virtual hybrid training – How does it work?

Together with the customer we went on a creative search for solutions and created an interactive virtual format, in which the exchange among each other, but also the setting of impulses by the expert is not neglected. The aim was to strengthen the team both virtually and hybridly in the long term.

The hurdle here was the preparation and infrastructure. Since there was a group of 25 people, a total of 3 rooms were needed2 physical (in an chair circle in a hotel) and 1 virtual room, with the participants joining in virtually. Additional laptops had to be set up to ensure that the participants could be seen – but also heard – from all sides. With optimal support on site, we scheduled technical rehearsals in advance to test the sound quality from different angles in the room. With joint effort, the first major hybrid training was created – with amazingly positive results.

3 Key Findings

 

Planning is half the battle

A hybrid training needs clarity and structure in the preparation. Since contact persons have to be coordinated virtually and on site, a meticulous agenda is advantageous.

Coordination Meetings

should be divided into: Focus Content and Focus Technical Support – as this guarantees that all success components are aligned. A visualization of the hybrid set-up is also very helpful

Clear rules

  • Switch the camera on as often as possible.
  • Do not mute as often as possible.
  • Mute if necessary.
  • In question-answer and interactive sessions, the moderator “moves” around the physical and virtual rooms to “collect” questions;
  • encourage participants to speak proactively.
  • Stick to the agenda and start punctually after work sessions or breaks to support effective hybrid collaboration.
  • Photo documentation of group work on flipcharts and/or worksheets by the group leader.
  • Please keep  the Covid-19 regulations in physical meeting rooms, in mind. 

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How to Shape and Lead a Self-Sustainable Dream Team

How to Shape and Lead a Self-Sustainable Dream Team

Sailing through a storm successfully = 

Shaping and Leading your own self sustainable team.

 

Imagine you are at the helm of a wonderful sleek, slender, sailing boat. Your pride and joy. But the sky darkens all of a sudden, there is chaos, the bow goes up and down, from triumph to unfathomable depths. Your crew are somewhere on the boat and you cannot communicate with them anymore. You do not know where you are going, the compass you can barely see has gone mad…

About the author

Vladimir Novac is based in Bucharest, Romania and works as top-executive leadership trainer and coach around the globe. He is certified NLP Practicioner and Change Indicator Analyst and especially dedicated to the topics of team development, self leadership, performance management and change. Inspired by a big personal mission, he is enriching the MDI world since many years with knowledge and passion.

How is your boat now? What about your crew?

Do they have the right skill set to safely bring the boat to the sunny shore? 

What about their mindset?

 

Mindset

Diversity

The amount of different perspectives, backgrounds, education, personality, that will ensure creativity, constructive conflict, complementing skills, avoidance of group think, as well as lack of general boredom!

Experience

Teams need experience in working together, in order to calibrate, pace, trust, adapt, hate, appreciate, evolve.

Tribe

Experience brings about stories, myths, heroes, taboos, as well as a general feeling of safety and belonging.

Commitment

comes then naturally, and it would link as well to the skill set environment as the individual understands their roles within the team and the team accepts them in that role.

Skill set

 

Communication

If you look at the AGILE manifesto, everything is communication at the right time, with the right people, using the right channels, over and over again.

Feedback

After getting feedback on my training and coaching skills for 20 years now, I know one fact: Feedback is important not only for learning purposes but for ensuring accountability as well.

Learning

Self-sustainable teams learn by themselves. Provided they want to and provided they have an agreed, continuous, effective, quick learning system. This will allow them to adapt and evolve.

Role

Individuals in the team have a formal role and an acknowledged role. Leaders are not the only ones to be acknowledged, validated by the team. We all are.

 

And please remember this wonderful quote from Maria Montessori: “Development is a series of rebirths”. 

Maybe this is a good moment for the rebirth of your team?

Vladimir Novac | MDI Partner, Trainer and Coach

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Transformational Coaching – working with the individual in its whole system

Transformational Coaching – working with the individual in its whole system

Let’s say I have a leadership problem. The solution? I am looking for a coach who can help me solving this problem. But, nowadays coaching is no longer as simple as that. Like in many other industries as well, the coaching industry is undergoing major changes caused by topics such as AI, VUCA, and digitalization. Central for the coaching industry is, that there are no longer stand-alone challenges. Executives have many connections to stakeholders, systems and the environment, where only the best coaches can really provide support.

Inge Simons Transformational Coaching

About the author

Inge is an experienced executive coach and facilitator who works with senior leaders and leadership teams across different industries and countries. The most important thing during a coaching session for her are impactful conversations that enable leaders to make some positive changes within their organisations. She focuses on increasing connectedness and impact as well as successfully navigating change. Her work experience ranges from managing complex international projects and programs through to managing culture and change processes and has intimate knowledge of starting up as well as integrating businesses. She has almost 20 years of international business experience and is working together with MDI Management Development International for about 4 years already.

From the individual challenge to a transformational coaching

 

Like almost every business sector, the coaching industry is undergoing major changes as well. The challenges are changing and so must the solutions, we offer as coaches. Many things have changed since I started working as a coach.

In the past, I worked a lot with individuals and their specific challenges. In a coaching session, we focused on current leadership topics and talked about them. Nowadays, we not only work on the challenges from one person but of the whole system the person is connected with. Instead of solving one specific problem or improve specific competencies, I am rather confronted with a complex system of connections, relevant stakeholders, different interests and structures. As a coach, you have to think beyond the individual. You have to think systematically. This skill was not that relevant in the past.

Generally speaking, coaching is changing towards a partnership approach, such as many other business fields as well. The key is that the coach and coachee really work together as a team. As a coach, you must be able to understand the person as an individual but at the same time as a part of a company and society. During a coaching session, you must permanently switch between these two roles. You can’t ask your coachee to tell you the topic you’re working on today. One could simply say: the individuality has increased massively in recent years when it comes to coaching.

But coaching is not only about strong individuality and a partnership approach. It is about changing things. A coaching should not only transform the coachee but as well the economic environment. Coaching is more than just working on the coachee’s skills.

And: as coaches, we must be faster, more agile and we must adapt our methods to the challenges and needs of our time. So far, as coaches, we have worked a lot with 360° feedback and various analyses. This is actually not so effective because you’re looking into the past with those tools instead of working into the future.

Transformational coaching

As a coach, you have to be much more agile these days to look into the future and not the past

Responsibilities as a Coach – Living a partnership approach

 

The partnership approach, we’ve been talking about earlier, involves certain responsibilities. The times where you went to a coach and spent one hour with him/her are over. As part of this partnership approach, you as a coach have to support your coachee as good as possible, also beyond the coaching session. In my opinion and regarding leadership development, this sentence applies more than ever “The heroic CEO is dead, long live the leadership team”. This is the reality and the reason why my work as a coach has changed. I still have coaching sessions with individuals, with senior leaders, but I work much more with teams and groups of people than a few years ago. Individual coachings are more an additional measure from time to time. This development is exciting and challenging at the same time. You cannot coach someone for a few hours, get paid for it and you’re done. But you can achieve a completely different impact and experience successes together with the individuals and with teams. This change is taking place throughout the whole training and development industry. In most companies, more than 50% of the employees are millennials by now. They have different needs and a much more personalized and individual working approach. In my opinion, the time of training programs, as we know and realize them today, will be over soon.

Excursus: Artificial Intelligence in Coaching

 

The Singularity University has built a new app that makes diagnoses, highly complex diagnoses and sometimes even better than most doctors. Some people may start asking themselves: why should I still go to a doctor? Tomorrow we may be sitting at home, uploading our data via a chip and someone will tell us what to do. In my opinion, this will be the reality in less than 20 years.

AI also affects the coaching industry. If you ask Alexa or Siri “How should I deal with my conflicts?” they will have a lot to say. One effect: you no longer have to tell your coachee all the basics because they can find them on the internet. Another effect: many average coaches will probably lose their jobs because they have been replaced by Artificial Intelligence.

What moves executives today

 

Nowadays, we have this interesting phenomenon that children learn a lot in school they don’t need later in life. Meanwhile, other skills remain on track. For example, the ability to quickly work together with people you’ve never worked with before – beyond nationalities. That’s a skill you cannot cover or replace by the internet or AI – unless we will all be robots at some point. This is a key challenge for today’s leaders. Everything has to be fast, you face a new situation with new teams and stakeholders and you do not even have 6 months to incorporate. You immediately have to get used to the new situation. In this case, we as coaches, can support them with questions such as “Who am I?”, “How do I affect people?”, “What kind of impact can I have?”

Transformational coaching - Interpersonal level

We learn so many things in school, but one of the most important things we don’t – for instance, the ability to work together with different people from different countries.

Nevertheless, the interpersonal relationship is still the focus of the coaching – in all possible forms. Of course, that has a lot to do with communication, whose challenge has increased with the complex systems, we live and work in. People no longer work alone, isolated in their personal “silos”. There is always a connection with partners, not only within the company but also on the outside. This is the reason why everything about cooperation is one of the most important topics during coaching.

Equal to the interpersonal challenges is the time, we currently live in, and all the challenges it brings. Complexity, overextension, the flood of information, aggressive competition, and constant disruption are just a few keywords. So many things are happening at once nowadays. As a leader, you must make sure that your business is running. At the same time, you must be aware of the changes which might come. The speed of change is enormous. Not too long ago, people were starting to talk about VUCA – now it’s here!

When working on a senior level, the question of meaning is central and more present than ever. People are wondering and asking themselves if their work really adds value to the world. “If my life comes to an end, will I be satisfied with what I did in my life?”

 

Coaching in times of disruption – a conclusion

 

We all come from areas where it is said over and over again “This is the agenda.” Based on this agenda, things get told, questions asked and on certain actions will be agreed on. But we all know that many of these actions are never put into practice – whether in a meeting or a leadership program. Now, when we think about what makes coaching meaningful and successful, it’s the following: the moment you take part in coaching, something must happen. We must change our mindset from “I am asking a few questions” to “I am doing interventions right now!” Such an intervention does not have to be big, it can be – for instance – just a sentence that triggers something in the coachee. What’s important is that something is happening and that you try to make a difference in this exact moment.

As long as this happens, as long as coaching creates impact, it will persist – still in times of AI – but at a different level with higher quality.

Dear Inge, where do you see the purpose of your work?

 

Firstly my work is enormously exciting and complex and consistently an adventure. Methodological I always start to work with the principle “We start with the end in mind”. This means that I always try to find out where we have to go. Actually, we never know where the journey of development will bring us and what will happen. That all happens unbelievably fast and this is what fascinates me. I like the complexity and I like working intensively, starting the journey anywhere and find out what it needs to support a person, a team or a company on their way. Most important for me is knowing to have an impact on people and the organization I work with and to make some change. Especially when I think of my kids and their kids. Primarily, I work in the organization sector, in government as well as in non-government and I would like to leave not just chaos for the next generation. I am trying to support the people as good as I can so that they can advance the organization in their way. Therefore, we are all helping to create a better world.

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