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We miss the water cooler. 

It was the single point in the physical office where cross-team collaboration blossomed. In person, face to face, verbally.

And it’s hard to replicate the water cooler in the digital world. The water just doesn’t have the same taste – it’s too pixel-y.

Face to face interactions are 34 times more likely to produce desired outcomes, like having coworkers rally behind an initiative or getting your boss to agree to a promotion is better received when trust is established, something face to face helps to do.

While we may dream of life before the pandemic, the hybrid workforce is here to stay. And though video conference has made this all possible, Zoom fatigue and virtual meeting overkill isn’t going anywhere either. 

Creating a mini Dreamforce via digital cross-collaboration 

Dreamforce showed the industry a new way to cross-collaborate. While not every company can put on such an elaborate production, the fundamentals of the approach can ensure team and customer alignment – minus the fatigue.

While an industry-wide Dreamforce may not be practical all the time, a mini-Dreamforce approach based on the Salesforce fundamentals can be very successful. Here’s how it works.

Focus on core values

The Salesforce core values are guiding principles for all things Salesforce and are a good way to center the mini-Dreamforce agenda.

  • Customer success: Make sure you focus on broad, big-picture Customer Outcomes. Resist the gravity of the day to day issues and tasks, and rather focus on how the larger team will make the customer successful 6 months out. As well as what the business landscape  influencing customer success is.
  • Trust: Creating a safe environment for team members to share both successes and struggles takes time but is key to a human-transformational discussion.
  • Innovation: Team members often don’t have time to work on new, cool projects that might take time but will return great value to the customer and program. It’s important to be purposeful and carve out dedicated time for this type of high value, high concentration work. And a great boost to team morale!
  • Equality: Everyone has a voice at Dreamforce, same should be for your mini-Dreamforce. Make sure the meeting time is as accommodating as possible to team members across time zones and help facilitate in the meeting that everyone is able to make a contribution.

Coordinate from the digital office 

Within a digital atmosphere, getting the word out and excitement level increased is challenging but not impossible.

Slack allows for advertising and promoting to the team in fun ways. Both Slack message builder block kit and video messages allow for eye-catching messages to the team to increase excitement vs. a standard email invite.

Setting up a Slack workflow automation for mini-Dreamforce related submissions can accelerate the collection of discussion topics.

Using a video conferencing platform is a given, but some people don’t enjoy being on camera because they don’t like how they look or don’t work out of the best environment, like a shared space, for instance. Encouraging everyone to use custom branded video backgrounds can help mitigate reluctance. There are even animated and interactive background options – make it fun and engaging. 

Create a winning agenda

How does Dreamforce drive so much success and participation? It’s all about meeting attendees’ needs. The same goes for your team when putting together the mini-Dreamforce agenda. 

Here are some key events to make sure to include: 

  • Keynote address: Ok you might not be able to get Marc Benioff to give your keynote, but hearing from an executive on the impact of your team’s work is a great alternative. Often executives can give a ‘forest’ view of the work, and help the project teams understand how their deliverables are shaping the customer and industry at large. This is a great boost to the team when those late night troubleshooting sessions come around.
  • Trailblazer Awards: We know who the famous trailblazers are, but trailblazers can come from and be recognized within the project team as well. And when nominations are gathered from within the team itself, it’s a great way for coworkers to shout out for each other. Building morale, collaboration, and (dare we say it) friendships at no extra cost.
  • Lunch: Good to have a break mid-meeting, try continuing the special day vibe by providing the team with lunch. Typically everyone could crowd around the restaurant table, but in the Digital HQ a certificate to DoorDash or UberEats works well.
  • Innovation project brainstorming: This is often the best part of the day – presenting, brainstorming, and collaborating on how the team can innovate and get better. Innovation projects can be anything, from code development to process improvement, Slack pro tips, improved documentation, or Tableau analytics.

    This is not limited to technical team members. Gathering these project submissions before the mini-Dreamforce, and then having the submitters share their vision allows for the often unspoken team members a chance to shine and dream. Then, encourage team members to volunteer to work with someone new on one of these projects. This is a great way to get to know each other better
  • Happy hours or virtual game nights: There are online collaboration games out there, like Kahoot and Brightful that allow remote team members to answer trivia questions and award points based on timed responses. A lot of games encourage user defined questions and answers so you can spotlight fun, little known facts about your team.
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Identify the inspiring takeaways

Dreamforce has been a huge success for Salesforce, and with Dreamforce to You events appearing this year, the success continues. By harnessing the power of the Dreamforce model for your next event, all the benefits of the larger gathering can be realized by your project team in the context of the specific business outcomes. And in today’s digital world, where cross-collaboration is a challenge, this is a tested and proven means to get team alignment and motivation.

What’s next?

Want to learn more about the digital office and Dreamforce? Check out Salesforce’s Digital HQ, chock full of content from Dreamforce in New York City. Once you see Dreamforce example topics, create your agenda – specifically Keynote and Trailblazer components – and start getting the word out to your team. 

Be sure to check out the Dreamforce channel on Salesforce+ to get ideas for your team’s very own mini-Dreamforce.