I remember looking at the news and thinking how odd it was, that Italy was having such big troubles, causing them to close the society.
Looking back, I was reacting as if I was “in the dark” (Rick Maurer ‘Circle of change’). I Had yet to realize that Denmark was going to be hit too and that it would have such a massive impact that it would change the way we work and live forever.
On the 11th of April, the Prime minister of Denmark Mrs Mette Frederiksen announced the closing of Denmark.
I remained in the dark! Not at all accepting or seeing the scale of the impact it was going to have on my personal life as well as for Actee and my colleagues. But then again, no one, in the beginning, saw how radical this would impact the way we do business.
The fact that our revenue plummets by 70% and we lost all activity from day 2... was a brutal wake-up call from my slumber.
Being the driver of a startup doing business with more than 2.000 global consultants, I knew this was not going to be an easy period and I also understood it would not be over shortly.
What was unclear was how to overcome this crisis and how best to navigate Actee through it.
I started a process of 1.000 things, looking back, this was the best move I made in the process.
The team simply did a lot of brainstorms and we made some fast decisions in the team on what we believed was the best plan of action. More importantly, we agreed on how to execute the plan. From that day on we were working from home and we quickly experienced all the classic irritations of not working within close proximity of our colleagues. Set meetings every day was a MUST to ensure deadlines were being met.
Beginning Of The Process:
We focused on consultants who had lost all their scheduled work and now had time to talk. This gave us a lot of information on how we could transit together with our clients, following their pace towards the new digital solution.
We moved all meetings online (Great not to travel anymore)!
We did a lot of online meetings with our clients about Actee tools and got clarification that our tools were super relevant to overcome and support the new situation of working only online. But end clients were not ready to purchase anything yet. Every business reacted the same – switching on survival mode. This meant they skipped all learning activities - having nothing to do with our already 100% online products - It was a result of the crisis.
We cut back on all resources and prepared our self for the worst. Everybody had a 20% salary reduction, and some were sent home with less work.
First, we ensured we supported the need in the market - this meant a focus on a digital festival including free courses to see our games being played 100% online. Just simple stuff like knowing the most common tools like Zoom, Teams and other tools to use for online facilitation.
We transformed our certifications to a 100% digital setting and were ready to run those in two weeks.
The Implementation Phases Started
We shifted back to end clients realizing that bigger clients were the only clients buying. This was hard on us since the hit rate was low. Going from a 40% to a 5% meeting rate. We had to work a lot harder to get to these meetings.
At this point, the consultants had accepted the new normal and were building portfolios of new digital products. Here we had a lot of revisiting and old clients returning to add some engaging activities to the digital portfolios. Super fun to be engaged in designs and we saw our first activities paid off!
We closed some of our first initiatives like the festival. We had +400 people at small free events playing with our games. Now free webinars and knowing our games was a job well done.
We then created two bigger and longer initiatives:
1. The virtual lab. To inspire on how to add games.
2. The World Leadership E-games a global event including all our 100 partners around the world allowing them to include a game into marketing activities. It is a free event and we will announce the winner in December.
Has now adapted to the new way of working and we have overcome the level of coordination - getting back to being the effective team we used to be. It also became clear how we had to deal with the situation in the long term. This meant we were able to establish and create plans on how to get back and align with the new normal.
I did a lot of talking with investors from the outer circle of Actee talking about our plans. I knew we needed to get more funding due to COVID 19. I spend 50% of my +80 hours work week on budgets, meetings with investors, and planning with the team. We think we succeeded and we can see that we are moving into a more stable phase. Clients are back and we see a lot of clients have moved with us into the new reality.
The funding we got was from the growth found. A huge thanks to them - and the great government backing us!
Today we are exceeding the budget by more than 100% and we expect to be back on the same level as before COVID 19 already in September!
We are onboarding in sales and upscaling on development.
Our New Status Quo & My Learnings
We are now entering the anchoring of the new status quo and trying to transfer the learnings we have made. Our revenue streams are getting back to normal and we will soon be proceeding with our plans to change the world by using e-games in more countries with more power and knowledge.
The first learning I personally have obtained is:
It is super super important to react to your environment, in a structured way. I also learned that structure could help us with our decisions making...
I have been reminded deeply that colleagues see and react with passion and understanding of the information is available. The thoughts on my side are not enough to get the job done, it is the actual doing, talking, aligning, and changing plans that create the results. It’s not in my head it happens! (Apologies to my team for being so much in my head and forgetting to communicate enough😊)
The biggest learning to me was the importance of being agile and constantly examine our decisions and the outcome our decisions created. Not evaluating how we feel, but evaluating the facts we were able to gather.
If someone in the team assumed something, we learned that the decision then needs to be proved somehow. The only way for us to challenge assumptions was by having information or data (online, CRM or) before we made a new decision. If the information or data was missing, we stayed with the first decision until we had some data to back up a potential shift. Examine our assumptions became a daily routine.
If you want to test how you react in the first phase of a quarantined situation you can play the COVID game here.
Find your country on the map. Sign in and start to compete. The price is a large level learning package.
Do I Wish To Go Back To The Old World?
I do not think so, we are now entering a much more vivid and engaging learning design period for learning at work.
I believe the future will include much more than a workshop and it will include building customized games for your clients to fit their exact needs. (We have 150 games built after April - look here!)
COVID-19 have also made us develop Actee to be more fun for users since we can make sessions open to be played asynchrony in time. This means the player can challenge themself after a session to test personal assumptions. After any game, the player will get profiles that can be measured against colleagues or the manager level above. We are putting out the Style trade tool, a quiz and a word cloud tool. We are opening community games allowing users to add games and content they have made to Actee exceeding the + 50 games we have already created.
Do I want to go back… NO…. I don´t
Do I hate the webinar format! Yes, I do… please stop yourself if you think the webinar format is great... It's boring… add activities and be inclusive in your design.
In online sessions please remember to turn on your screen and please be present when you are in a meeting or workshop. Here are a few tricks from Lars Hoffmann the master of FOL (facilitating online Learning).
If you want to create value in your design remember to use the CLIC model.
Great talking…. Let’s connect soon.
LeifPlay A Cycle Game Here