We all now have the full tool box to our disposal again, for our variation in methodology. COVID-19 had brought a sharp cut in the diversity of our work. Some methods were made more difficult, others had to be changed, but some were also made easier. But let’s not throw the digital, virtual developments away. We could use them again; and they open up really new possibilities, world wide!
More is possible here than before! We can now conduct stand up meetings and initiate other spontaneous, short interventions. We can now provide much more intensive support – and still continue to use the virtual tools, more often. Thus, we in turn help to save costs – we don’t have to travel or book an overnight stay in a hotel.
In the context of change management projects and processes, we often provide external support. We help to define the goals and determine and implement the way forward. Further, we document the progress of the work with key figures and design lessons learned meetings. By taking part in team meetings, we actively drive the change project forward. Our process and method competence and sensitivity for processes in groups are of particular importance. While all that happens, there is again and again a need for training, workshops, team development measures and coaching discussions.
Training is a standard measure for the further development of behavior and skills. We consider leadership to be in the very foreground. We use different methods to train leadership behavior, incl. the use of leadership tools. Thus, the management control loop of job design and goal definition, delegation of tasks, support, feedback on goal achievement, are fostered. But also employee development and deployment, conducting discussions with employees, team leadership and conflict resolution, are trained. However, training courses also bring about the development of skills “below” management topics. We design training measures in the broadest sense, train actively, moderate, present.
Strategy and process workshops live just as much as team development measures off direct contact and spontaneous, situational variation. For that purpose, variation of methodology helps!
We repeatedly use special workshops to reflect on and further develop their goals, tasks, division of labor and interfaces, work progress and results. In workshops for management teams at all levels we do this. And also for project teams, entire departments and working groups as well as committees. But we also take care of team development to shape your internal culture, cooperation and communication – i.e. development on the relationship level.
By no means do we automatically mean outdoor training. This is of course an option, but it often has the disadvantage that at the end of the certainly instructive actions there is no time for reflection and conclusions. (We can sure realize such endeavors with competent partners.) But having a shower is the order of the day, and everyone is hungry! Rather, we use a variety of methods, exercises, and “games” in the normal rooms. Or just outdoors, but much shorter…
In real practice, we do not experience any technical or process-related workshops without team development parts and no team development without recourse to content, processes and specialist topics.
We guide executives and managers, but also specialists in a series of personal one-on-one meetings. In doing so, we to deal with complex tasks, career development and personal skills development for self-help: coaching. Many methods are now easier again: changing the perspective by swapping chairs, walking the life line, a simple or complex sociogram.
Through this work, we typically focus on the further development of their own business, the organization (hierarchical, project…), but also specific questions. Finally, we practice new ways of behaving, reflecting on different issues, such as preparing for decisions.
Starting from the original question or target agreement, in coaching we typically proceed into neighboring areas…
In the meantime we have piled up extensive experience. Where there is light, there is shadow, still. We use instruments such as WebEx, Zoom, MS Teams for a start. This allows us to integrate decks or videos without system breaks, and without having to set up a projector for a start. Conversely, the idea of never showing a flip chart was inhibiting: you could spontaneously insert a theory sequence, which is one of our strengths. Overall, we have found that the need for theory increases in virtuality! We have a large fund for this. And also, in home office, you can get up and take a book off the shelf to refer to. – Caution: we recommend exercise, coffee breaks, humor everywhere, and yet forget them all too easily – we have a supply here too.
Here we definitely saw disadvantages due to virtuality. Strategy and process workshops live, just as much as team development measures, from direct contact and spontaneous, situational variation. Thus, from variation in methodolgy. But: we let small groups work together in breakout rooms on a document, a simple whiteboard or a more complicated concept board. This was, truly, a step up from flip charts and partitions! One participant could also edit a Word or Power Point document for the group and then share it on the screen – nice as well. We would like to learn more…
In eCoaching, of course, the upcoming questions and topics brought up by the coachee, are processed. In order to do so, the methods mentioned in the left column, are partly used, tailored to the virtual situation. The zoom image section has to be right! But even in training courses for the development of competence, the immediate practice is relatively easy to implement. In presentation training courses – for example according to the Pyramid Principle – presentations are made (based on real presentations by the participants). At train-the-trainer seminars there is training (and materials created). For CIP method training, these methods are immediately applied to concrete problems in the workplace of the participants. And in the virtual counterparts, the virtual presentations and seminars and solving problems are done right away! So to say as preparation for real tasks of the participants.
For all of the above assignments – in workshops, when supporting change projects, in advising and in coaching, we work on the upcoming topics with proven methods. We also use these in training:
With management simulation games, we depict realistic situations (goals, tasks, hierarchies, processes…) and provoke concrete management behavior.
In case consultations (reflecting teams) we deal wiht real incidents of the participants, so from their everyday management life, work on them and develop steps towards solutions.
Through special exercises we reflect in detail on certain recurring themes. These may include methods as diverse as the transport task on speed in processes, the marshmallow challenge on team dynamics, the pencil – sharpener – cards task for negotiating and training specific behaviors (“systemic questions”…).
With scientific methods such as the MBTI and soon 16PF or smaller ones, such as a self-developed diagnostic instrument for reflecting on the work-life balance, we deepen the reflection.
By exchange of experiences we generate conclusions and tips.
Although all of this was possible virtually, it did not have the desired effect on the team dynamics. Finally it all works again!