The last few months have been quite eventful and full of surprises and new experiences. Slowly, companies are beginning to find their way back to normality and have gained a lot more experience than at the beginning of this year – as have we, of course. Today, MDI Solution Development Manager Dominik Etzl looks back on the period from March to the end of May 2020 and shows how he, as the person responsible for innovative solutions, has experienced the entry into a new reality and which lessons he takes with him into the future.
About the author
Dominik Etzl is Solution Development Manager and Trainer at MDI Management Development GmbH and Managing Director of Metaforum International. His focus is on topics of digital transformation, as well as OKR (Objectives & Key Results), agile leadership and lateral leadership. His goal is to support managers in leading a valuable contribution to their environment: on an individual, corporate and societal level.
This is how virtual collaboration succeeds
Like many other companies, all MDI employees moved to home office in March. In principle, the infrastructure with VPN connection and laptops was already in place, but there has never been a situation where the entire team can now only communicate with each other via virtual means. The learnings I take away from the digital collaboration area are:
Building a new communication infrastructure for corona/digital collaboration
- Internally in the team: Here, agile learning by doing with fast iterations has proven to be successful. Pilots were set up, tested and quickly adapted with common sense, because the optimal structure can only be found when it is used and lived in practice. It is also particularly important to include the voice of the employees, because in the end it is they who have to work and deal with it.
- Externally with trainers: Especially from our trainers, who are spread all over the world, Microsoft teams has been welcomed to work together with open arms and the cooperation via this communication and collaboration tool has proven to be successful. The empowerment of the trainers resulted in them being more actively involved in the implementation of the measures and being able to build up new technical know-how.
- During the introduction of the communication platform (MS Teams) and the different conferencing systems (Zoom, MS Teams, …) it was necessary to establish clear rules for collaboration and use of the tools. For this purpose we held a mandatory MS Teams training for the employees and provided documentation at important places on the platform (specially created wiki). In general, it is very important to remember the collaboration rules frequently, for example to avoid the proliferation of (sub)channels in MS teams.
Living the new reality
Right from the start, the “MDI Product Showcase” had to be adapted to the new reality. The (meanwhile again feasible) presence measures had to be taken away or converted into streaming and virtual variants by innovative systems. Due to the short-time work and the resulting scarce time resources, the MDI TrainerInnen Netzwerk has proven to be a valuable source of excellent ideas. Through active co-creation, new opportunities could be created, which allowed the trainers to continue to be the focus of our work and at the same time added value in the form of webinars and workshops.
A regular exchange between trainers to share learnings from the implementation of virtual measures and to enable cooperative learning are important to move forward together.
The feedback that we have received recently has been very positive: Many participants were very surprised by the smooth running of the virtual trainings and we internally are also very satisfied with how the workshops, certifications and trainings of the last weeks and months, which were originally planned as attendance measures, were handled with new technologies and systems.
Now the main thing is to hang in there and continue working on the digital strategy, which has made great progress in recent months. We are excited and confident that our agile approach will enable us to continue to react flexibly to upcoming changes and turn them into our advantage.