Case Study

Luxury problems

When bad times turn into good times, how do we build on them?

Starting point

A client had a somewhat unusual situation. In 2020, when the COVID pandemic broke out, few companies were very profitable outside of the medical sector. My client was one of them. In fact, he was so successful that he wondered why that was.

Typically, one would not ask this question at all, and I am rarely asked for advice when something is going exceptionally well. Now, however, it was not as if the business was running by itself. On the contrary, the employees were more than busy. However, that was not the reason, but part of the problem.

There was little time available to answer questions about why business was going so well despite the global pandemic and what needed to be done to keep it that way. At the same time, however, there was little time to get enough people together at the same time to get to the bottom of these questions.

The solution

Since a long and detailed solution was out of the question, we had to work out a crash course followed by two intensive workshops with the company's CEO. Long, in this case, would have meant one or two weeks.

For questions of this kind, usually, only a Red Team Thinking workshop comes into question. Anything else would not be able to answer the questions in sufficient depth, for one thing, and would take too long, for another.

Therefore, online training on the basics of Red Team Thinking was provided for 25 employees to work through themselves in their own time. This ensured that a basic understanding was available before we would go into the workshops.

We then scheduled two days of intensive workshops. The first was dedicated to the methods needed to familiarize the staff, including the CEO, with the application. The second day was then devoted to intensively addressing the questions posed, allowing the customer to initiate or expand the necessary measures themselves.

The result

As a result of the crash courses, which each employee conducted by themselves, on the first day, all participants already had a rough idea of what the coming days would be like. That was something we would usually only do at the beginning of the first day. So we could go directly into media res, and all participants (without exception) were highly motivated.

The lies we tell ourselves and the Assumptions Challenge are difficult to keep track of and usually require some getting used to, as they turn the usual upside down. However, due to the excellent mix of the team from all areas, a typical introduction, and the preparation, there were already many aha moments here, which continued the next day.

During the workshops, the CEO was already so surprised by the insights he was able to gain about his employees and the business in such a short time. But also afterward, we had a very positive conversation with the head of HR because, with the methods, all employees from different departments talked constructively with each other without silo formation. Red Team Thinking directly included diversity, which brought quick and new insights that the company subsequently implemented.

Methods/Skills used

  • Assumptions Challenge
  • Five Whys
  • Lies We Tell Ourselves
  • Red Team Thinking Boot Camp
  • Workshop

Tools used

  • Mural
  • Zoom