Staying True to Values and Giving Back Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

The interview was transformed into an article by Audrey Coggins

The Lockdown Economy: Interviews by think tank AlterContacts.org with real entrepreneurs sharing insights, challenges and successes during the COVID19 global Pandemic to inspire, motivate and encourage other entrepreneurs around the world.

In June 2020, Julia Skupchenko from Lockdown Economy spoke with Poom Narudee Kristhanin, the CEO and Founder of Eureka Global, a transformation consultancy based in Thailand, active since 2006. She shares how the lockdown became a good moment to revisit the company’s purpose and what true value it brings to the clients. It gave Poom and her team a chance to focus on the collective strengths each of them has. Despite the majority of the work being postponed to “better times”, they continued being active partnering with various organizations and clients both on pro-bono and business bases to reimagine and rebuild the future together.

Can you tell us more about Eureka Global?

Poom: Eureka Global is a small consultancy that aims to create a global impact. We were previously known as Eureka International but now we are Eureka Global. We co-create a global impact with the clients.

Was the name change connected to the lockdown?

Poom: No, this was a decision made last year. We sold the company to a partner, a multinational consultancy firm, and continue to do business through another entity called Eureka Global. The deal closed in April 2020. We are excited about this new beginning.

It’s a big change — particularly happening in the midst of this global lockdown. What did you do on the business front during the lockdown, besides signing the deal?

Poom: While the lockdown was during the time of closing off the deal, this was a perfect time for us to think about the new rebirth and what matters most in terms of business. With COVID and readjustments, there is a lot of uncertainty and discovering what the ‘new normal’ is looking like.

We’ve taken time to consider who we are, and the values that we are creating and what matters to us. In the past, we haven’t had to market ourselves despite being very busy with clients and work assignments. We work with leaders from different organisations in transforming their teams and outlook. We encourage play with their strategies and business. We have been extremely busy.

Now it’s actually the perfect time to think and put on the shelf things we’ve done in the past and we are not doing anymore. This is the time to restart; a clean slate.

You’ve been doing a lot of workshops as part of the key tools for transformation. With the lockdown, this is no longer possible — the traditional way. How have your clients responded to the lockdown? You must have had a lot of events lined up.

Poom: Yes, there were a lot of projects lined up, including some big ones. But with the lockdown, there were postponements, even up to the following year. This is a test of our inner strength. This has been an opportunity to really upskill. We have been so busy, now we are able to take a break and focus on what matters to us and what lies beneath our service delivery, the collective strength that we have through our workshops.

The lockdown has given me and the team the break to upskill and refine values and offerings.

What we are really offering, of course, is not just workshops. What we really do is value-creation. That has not stopped despite the lockdown. We have continued to make ourselves useful because now we know what really matters, what we are here for and what are the impact statements we can co-create.

For example, as part of COVID relief — and this is also part of the Thai culture, the mindset of being a part of one large family — we are reaching out with what we have or don’t have to see how we can be of service to others who need help. We have used our facilitation strengths to connect dots. One of our projects last month was to sit down with our partners and look at our clientele. We realised that each organisation leader was working on various COVID relief initiatives. As we discussed these initiatives, we realised that we could work as a team to connect the dots so that the big picture was evident. We could connect the dots and co-create something even better in a concerted manner.

By facilitating difficult conversations and allowing different leaders to connect, what was a small joint initiative began to gain traction, even with the media! That has been exciting.

I’ve spoken to other facilitators who try to do legacy-rich play and attempt to bring this online. It hasn’t been a success as with online events, you don’t get the same group dynamics as you’d be able to in a physical room/group. How did you deal with this? What tools and methods did you employ to facilitate these dialogues?

Poom: We started with the need. We didn’t start with the tool. We started with the need out there and the tool was mere support. We started with the facilitation mindset and considered what we are able to do for society (for the COVID relief initiative).

So those people that were brought into the meeting were those that trusted us. And what we do is to connect the trusts. We did not go into this by telling them that they should work together. Our mindset and attitude was curiosity.

How might we help them have more visibility for one another so that decisions can be made in a way that would be helpful for all?

In terms of tools, we use virtual facilitation boards. These leaders were able to connect to these boards from their homes.

This project is still ongoing and snowballing! It started with a small group, and that’s grown as these leaders connect with each other in an organic way. It’s led to other projects for other organisations too. We were really happy to have been facilitating this in this pivoting point.

Another thing that we’ve done is to truly take this lockdown period to determine what our values are. A project that we’ve invented is the concept of ‘hacking the future’. This is an intervention program that is partnered with Lukkid Group (Thailand’s leaders in design thinking). We pair Lego® Serious Play and Design thinking together to help people see things and solve problems in a systematic manner. This helps people see scenarios and hacking the future. We’re preparing this and launching it very soon.

That sounds exciting! I’m sure people will be interested and looking into it. How did you respond to the lockdown? Inevitably you lost out on income and clients…

Poom: Of course, there’s a journey of emotions. There was tension and stress, but when we looked ahead, we decided that our team was the most important asset. This is what we have protected, taking care of one another. I focused on keeping the spirit and cohesiveness of the team. Together, we have strived to create values as a team.

We’re also checking on each other to make sure we’re all healthy. For me, health and work performance are interlinked. If our head is not on our shoulder, it is impossible to take care of other people, our team, our business and our clients. So it all begins with ourselves.

So there are mixed feelings regarding the lockdown, but we are aware of that. We try to keep ourselves grounded. We focus our eyes on what energises us; we found that when we continue to make ourselves useful, that is our strength.

You mentioned above that one of the key things you do is to look ahead. This brings me to the next question: What is the outlook for Eureka Global for the future months?

Poom: Yes. So Lukkid Group is one of our key partners. We are also partnering with a lot of other different companies to do different fun things. For example, we are partnering with John Roberts Powers in launching program Brand Me, which is a personalised brand program. We also partner with Hello! Magazine with CEO branding projects.

And we are also partnering with a lot of our previous clients to offer pro bono projects to inspire people. Thinking Series is one such project, where we connect, talk and have fun with clients and those in our network, in a way that is helpful. E.g., maybe it’s talking about resilience in ourselves and others, or shifting skills from one industry to another/online platforms (Facebook/IG strategy), utilising partnerships with Facebook etc.

It sounds like you are really focused on partnerships and goodwill, and doing something for society at large. It’s really inspiring! It would be great to see how these projects go in the coming months!

Poom: For entrepreneurs, believe in yourself and see through your values in the business. What are your strengths and what energises you. There is monetary earnings and then there is intrinsic earnings. Both are essential and good for you to keep you progressing.

Visit Eureka Global to read more about their many inspiring projects.

About the Guest

Poom Narudee Kristhanin, the CEO and Founder of Eureka Global, a transformation consultancy that connects and unleash leaders to co-create impact for themselves, businesses and ecosystems by using ‘play’ to bring out high levels of human intelligence to solve complex problems. Starting from Eureka Consulting in 2006, then Eureka International from 2013, the company now grows and transforms itself into Eureka Global in 2020 with the mission of helping individuals and businesses reimagining their future with clarity in meaning and purpose. With a strong presence in Asia based out of Bangkok, the multidisciplinary Eureka Global team is steadily referred among top leaders as a trusted partner in bringing collective human intelligence to solve complex problems through serious play. It is known regionally for uncompromising facilitation skills using LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Method to drive strategy and innovation in organizations with deep collaborative engagement.

https://www.eureka.co.th/

The UN-registered nonprofit social initiative that helps small businesses and self-employed professionals to overcome the challenges of the pandemic.