Some context

  • In February 20, 2020 a European Cosmetics retailer planned a 3-day project inception workshop in Taiwan
  • Before kickoff, borders were set to close with key counterparts still stuck abroad
  • Workshop participants came from all parts of the organization – not all were tech savvy
  • No specific collaboration tool was in place for intense collaboration across borders
  • At the same time, I have helping another client’s team adapt to remote work
  • The decision was made to experiment with an online inception

Our Coaching Approach

  • A remote workshop had to take place to make this project a success. We accomplished this by undertaking the following:
    • A dedicated one hour session to train everyone on the workshop tools & protocols
    • We designed all sessions as creatively as possible to gain the interest of all participants. Elements such as virtual post-its and drawings helped push engagement and excitement
    • Faster discussions were achieved with a few simple rules: camera on at all times, raising your hand to speak, etc…
    • Refined attendance for the whole 3 days: only key participants for each session, and catch-up intermezzo for everyone
  • Intensive collaboration was achieved by repurposing classic tools in a new way
    • We used Microsoft PowerPoint as an interactive whiteboard
    • Microsoft Teams was our very own video system
    • And Slack for decision voting, general announcements, and as a tool to update to non key-participants
  • Excellent training and sufficient support were given to our 2 co-facilitators:
    • 2 facilitators required to handle the technical aspects
    • I implemented an express training of a manager
    • I used back-of-the-room approach to let participants self-organize as much as possible

The Outcome

  • Overall, the project became an overall bonding experience that redefined the work for upcoming teams in South East Asia and Europe
    • The workshop was intense and as productive as in-house
    • Surprisingly, participants were highly-engaged
    • Bonding moments were cultivated between team members from different divisions
    • Upcoming workshops in APAC were all been shifted to online with little to no worry
    • The European headquarters reached out for advice due to the pandemic; ultimately bringing our team to redesign and facilitate a remote kickoff project in Paris