IMPROVING ONLINE GLOBAL COLLABORATION - CASE

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Improving Online Global Collaboration for Grundfos IS - User Experience Center

Are you working in global teams where the cultural differences are many and vast AND most of the cross-cultural communication takes place in an online setting and face2face interactions rarely occur? Then you need strong cultural intelligence and practical skills to make the online meetings and talks as dynamic and interactive as possible.

This was the case for this Grundfos IS department (GIS-UXC) which consists of mainly Danes and Philippines.

The 16 people in the department mainly communicate virtually using chat, emails, Skype/Teams calls and planned online meetings.

They had a strong wish to up their game and improve the online global collaboration to make online meetings more dynamic and interesting and hear more voices in the meetings too.

Some of the many questions they really wanted answers to was:

  • How do we create engagement in meetings?
  • How do we handle our cultural differences?
  • How do we make sure there is availability when you need a quick response?
  • How do we build relationships when we always work online?

The training solution

Grundfos IS - User Experience Center reached out to C3 Consulting so that we could design an online training programme to meet their needs.

The programme was designed and co-facilitated by C3's CEO and Chief Trainer, Annette Dahl, and C3's Virtual Collaboration Expert, Line Mørkbak.

C3 worked together with Grundfos IS - User Experience Center for about a month and the learning process included 3 x 2-hour online workshops and collaboration in the global teams in between the sessions.

We made use of both asynchronous and synchronous online tools to create transparency throughout the whole learning process – including the tools Mentimeter, Padlet and Jamboard, just to mention a few.

As always at C3, a common thread running through the whole process was the notion of creating psychological safety and minimizing Risk (see C3's 4R model for more info about why minimizing risk is important in a global working environment).

This is one of the crucial elements to add to the online context at any given point, and it’s even more important when there are big cultural differences in Risk at play – as was the case between the team members from Denmark and the Philippines.

During the online workshops, the colleagues created a common language and realized that this specific cultural difference actually does make a difference in their collaboration – and that there are many ways to meet in the middle – on safe ground so all can speak out freely.

It’s not a quick fix though and change will happen slowly since there are some deep habits and behaviors that need to be changed on both sides. But with a strengthened mutual trust, an elevated curiosity, and common tools to create mutual understanding and respect this department is well on their way!

Participant feedback

After concluding the training programme, the participants reflected on what they had learned and how to implement the new learnings in their everyday work life.

We're so happy to share some of these reflections here:

  • I got a lot of tips & tricks on how to handle our online meetings and how to prepare for them
  • I learned to be more explicit about what to expect in our online collaboration
  • We should really remember to start our online meetings with ice breakers to lighten the mood
  • I also want to be more curious about the person I collaborate with
  • I really liked the speed of the training – you have to be concentrated all the time and the time flies away
  • I liked the structure that we not only listened but also got to share our inputs and had good discussions

Thank you from us at C3 to Henrik René Jensen, Senior Manager from Grundfos IS - User Experience Center and all the other people in the great team. Line and I (Annette) had so much fun working with you!

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