COVID vs the “magic” formula for online collaboration

Want to get started and run your online session? Here is a heuristic formula: COVID®.

Celebrating (C) – a gathering is a celebration, an online gathering follows along so to prepare for this celebration what are the rituals you are looking for and the boundaries you believe are necessary? What are some of the things you can do to keep people awake and listening, and, what are those that will make them fall asleep? Since Easter is coming soon, I recall social etiquette amid other memories.

Giggling around the heuristics of the COVID approach to on-line collaboration.

Organizing (O) – sensemaking to basically ensuring you notice the behavior of people during the call as to consider alternative scenarios. Organizing in this context includes: preoccupation with failure and reluctance to simplify (as explained by Karl Weick & Kathleen Sutcliffe in “managing the unexpected”).

Verifying (V) – verification and validation are separate procedures but powerful when used together in this context: one helps checking that the call or online collaboration (our ecosystem) meets basic requirements we have agreed upon with the audience whilst verification helps to answer if the intended purpose of this event was attained (from the Project Management Body of Knowledge).

Inducting (I) – inducting in this context is about the use of a cognitive coaching approach (praise the work of Arthur Costa and Robert Garmston in Cognitive Coaching). Inducting includes assessing peoples states of mind as a guidance and not a corollary for straightforward decisions on the situation or audience attendance. This includes a constant look and an adaptive approach to different and changing levels of consciousness, craftsmanship, efficacy, interdependence and flexibility.

Deploying (D) – means you need to work as an online collaboration “malabarista”. It means bouncing back and forward between the aforesaid approaches ensuring you keep doing what often aircraft pilots do: observe, orient, decide and act at all times (praise to the work of John Boyd on the ODDA loop).

If you want to praise your Paralaudakian Caucasian ancestors then move quickly to a very simple (and simplistic formula). The magic on-line formula that has conquered the world of online collaboration by storm. Behold for the simplistic details.

Stay safe, stay strong: stay home.

“Magic” Formula = Intro (2-3′) + hygiene factors, housekeeping (tech, sound, resources, etc., 1′) + emotional check up (5′ run all or a few candidates if n<15 if n>15 greet all and wish all are good) + session flow (=up to 15′-20 = 10-15 slides) + breakout meeting discussion for digestion and assimilation (5-10′) + session flow + breakouts (5-10′) + session flow (up to 15′-20 = 10-15 slides) + sensemaking session and key takeaways (10 min, overflow and connection/ transition to the next session, storytelling) + break off screen! 15-30 min + (Magic Formula again no more than 2 cycles of 90-120 (considering 25-30% add time). Total approx time: 240 min max. This includes preparation work on both sides and touch calls or on-line videos to setup and prepare for content: no safe assumptions here: network does not work or is weak, sound does not work, settings are not right – so be there to account for this in video format (pls do not make people read a lot). Post session materials are great as well as recording of the session and schedule (if more than one and global / glocal scheduling on time zone where and when applicable).

So then how do you know you have done a good job? Use the Magic Formula bingo chart. Let your audience tell you if you had a “bingo” collaborative work or not.