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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A lot of time has passed since then. A time that made us and our environment rethink the future of work even faster than we had already planned. Large events, which usually require to gather all people into one room, like a hackathon does, are not possible under today’s conditions. This does not mean, however, that strategically relevant issues, which should be dealt with in a timely and agile manner with the involvement of as many stakeholders as possible, should pause.

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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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Interview – “Does OKR (Objectives and Key Results) actually pay off?”

Interview – “Does OKR (Objectives and Key Results) actually pay off?”

Interview with Mag. Gunther Fürstberger, CEO of MDI Management Development International.

This year OKR proved to be a great method to overcome crisis situations. Therefore, I interviewed our CEO Gunther Fürstberger about the direct impact of OKR on our growth as a consulting and training company and asked an essential question: Does OKR – Objectives and Key results actually pay off?”

Aline: “In many companies across all industries upper management is discussing, whether the implementation of OKR in their company makes sense. For sure, an essential question is: Does OKR pay off”?

Gunther: “Yes I am also hearing these discussions especially in the finance and health industry at the moment.”

Aline: “I suppose it is difficult to give a general answer. But you are a CEO of a smaller company group in the areas of consulting, tourism and real estate and you have been working with OKR for 4 years, what is your resumé?”

Gunther: “In the time before Covid, OKR contributed a lot to our growth path. We grew 76% in 3 years and it had a great impact on commitment in our team. Since Covid the growth party was sadly over. Because almost all our offered solutions had to do with people coming together: seminars, events and renting out apartments to tourists. This year OKR proved to be a great method to overcome crisis situations. Never has it been more important to adjust continually to a dynamic environment. All companies of the Fürstberger Holding survived all setbacks without the need of making any debts.”

 

Aline: “That sounds great, but could you be more a little but more specific on how to measure the impact of OKR?”

All hands OKR meeting

This year OKR proved to be a great method to overcome crisis situations. Never has it been more important to adjust continually to a dynamic environment.

Gunther: “Each company is different, and you need to work with assumptions and estimations, but I can share, how I see the costs and benefits at MDI GmbH – a consulting and training company.”

Aline: “Can you give us some hard facts about the company?”

Gunther: “Sure, we are talking about 27 employees, 4 of them in leadership positions. Let’s take 3 months as calculation period and a quarterly revenue of € 1.300.000,-.”

Aline: “Thank you. Now I am curious about the impact of OKR on the balance sheet.”

Gunther: “Good, let’s start with costs: For a quarterly planning meeting we need 6 people for 5h i.e. 30 hours altogether. And 27 people spend each 2 hours on formulating team OKRs including listening to the presentation of company goals and presenting afterwards the new quarterly OKRs to each other, that are 54 h.

Then we need to take into consideration the Check in meetings: Each second week 30 minutes for each employee + 2h for 4 leaders = 12h + 8 h = 20 h; 5x in a quarter are 100 h.

In total we come to 154 h per quarter. If we calculate € 50, – per hour we have people costs of € 7.700, -.

As all organisations who did not introduce OKR somehow deal with goals, we must consider that there are always related people costs. Probably in a classical MbO (Management by objectives) -organisation less time for planning is needed, but on the other side lot of time is spent on ad hoc priority talks.

After analysing the direct costs of running OKR, let’s look at the impact:

My estimation is, that 10% of sales is the result of OKR decisions, due to flexibility in creating and offering fitting solutions, better processes, training, marketing. That counts for € 130.000,- per quarter. But for sure, higher sales means also higher costs involved. For € 130.000 higher sales the related costs might be appr. 80%. That leaves an additional gross margin of € 26.000,-.

But OKR influences also productivity and thus the costs. OKR focuses on change, not on the routine tasks. It helps you to think again and again about which routine task can be stopped, started and optimised. This results in automatization and digitalization. OKR helps to drive this faster and smarter. If we reach a productivity growth of 2% per quarter and the competition only 1 %, we could argue that OKR contributes in our example to € 10.400,- cost advantage. Calculation: If we have 80% of sales as needed costs this means in absolute numbers 1% of € 1.040.000,- of means a competitive advantage of € 10.400,-.

Summing up the financial impact of OKR per quarter we get:

  • Gross margin on higher sales:   € 26.000,-
  • Productivity advantage:              € 10.400,-
  • Total:                                              € 36.400,-

The positive impact on the balance sheet of OKR is almost 5 x higher than the related people costs.”

Aline: “It seems you are convinced that OKR pays off?”

 Gunther: “For us, it is definitely a YES!

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Design virtual Meetings effectively and efficiently

Design virtual Meetings effectively and efficiently

​We are doing it… many weeks with the stricter regulations have passed, still a great part of your working time may be characterized by meetings which are facilitated virtually.

Leaders and HR managers from various organisations I work with describe different experiences. These range from „We are more focused in our meetings than before“ to „Our meetings get out of hand because everyone just says what they are doing“ to “Only one person speaks, everyone else is muted”.

So, what does it take to design virtual meetings effectively and efficiently?

In a nutshell: Use all the elements, which make effective and efficient face-to-face meetings and focus on C D I.

C D I stand for

  • Clarity,
  • Discipline and
  • Personal Interaction

Weaknesses and gaps that may have existed in face-to-face meetings are becoming more apparent in a virtual context, so the level of suffering increases.

Here you have some practical hacks to be able to focus more on your C D I:

CLARITY

 

Be clear about the following questions:

  • “What is the specific objective of the meeting?“ Is the meeting the best way to handle the subject?
  • “Which outcome would you like to achieve with the meeting?”
  • Which type of meeting is it?” (e.g. transfer of information, brainstorming, decision-making, exchange of experience)
  • “Why am I in this meeting?, “What is my task, my duty?”, “What can I contribute?”, “What is expected from me?”
  • “Who else should be involved in the meeting?” (e.g. Stake holders, decision makers, knowledge carriers)

Yes, it seems tedious to clarify these questions, but only if there is clarity for the participants, they go into meetings with the same expectations.

DISCIPLINE & FOCUS

 

 

  • Preparation: When objectives and type of meeting are clear, all attendees know what to prepare for the meeting. Lead by example and be prepared!

  • Punctuality and interference-free environment: When a meeting is set for 9:00, then everyone should be dialled in and the required infrastructure and equipment ready to go, so that the meeting can start on time and without interference.

  • Stick to the plan: An hour-long meeting ends after one hour. If at the end more time would be needed, clarify how to continue working on the pending topics.

 

  • Shorter meetings (45-60 minutes max): Have shorter meetings, in which all attendees fully focus. If there are several topics that require more time, make virtual breaks after 60 minutes.

  • Make sure there is a summary of the results and agreement for follow-up activities.

  • … and well known, but not always easily implemented: make sure you really listen to each other and don’t interrupt.

PERSONAL INTERACTION

 

  • So far, in addition to virtual meetings, there usually would be the possibility for personal interaction. Therefore, the focus in these virtual meetings is often “on the matter/topic”.

 

  • Since the possibility of personal interaction is currently very limited, make time and (virtual) space for it.

 

  • If the infrastructure allows it, hold virtual meetings in video mode as it creates further closeness. It gives you the opportunity to engage more with the reaction of your dialogue partners.

 

  • At the beginning of the meeting, consciously plan time for social onboarding. These can be questions such as “What is your current energy level at the moment?”, “What do you need so you can get involved in the meeting in the best possible way?”, “What does it take so we can use the meeting as best as possible?”.

 

  • Generally, use questions more often so that the engagement is increased. In addition to the open and closed questions scale questions are also suitable. You can use it to query various things, from assessment to commitment to experience. For example, “On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your commitment to implement the proposed idea?”. Then ask further questions, such as “What does it take to get from 6 to 7?”. Use one-word questions to quickly get opinions or ideas.

 

  • If social onboarding is needed at the beginning of the meeting, a feedback loop at the end is just as important. Questions like, “What went well today? What should we keep? What should we change next time?” help to continuously improve the quality and efficiency of meetings.

 

  • Recommendation! ROTI = Return On Invested Time as a feedback method. With the scale question “Was the time you invested in this meeting worthwhile – in relation to achieved/achievable benefit/advantage?”, you get feedback on the meeting. The scale ranges from “1 = worthless” to “5 = great benefit”. This is followed by the questions mentioned above.

 

Finally, two more practical tips:

 

  • Make sure that there is a moderator for each meeting who ensures that the essential principles of effective meetings are adhered to.

 

  • … and last but not least: It needs the mindset / attitude of all attendees that virtual meetings are a suitable form of meetings.

In need of a working virtual Set-Up?

We prepared interactive and virtual Masterclasses, inhouse workshops and video courses for your needs right now!

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