How Demanding Would It Be to Play Charades on Zoom?

Many businesses hampered by COVID-19 see their work interactions as daunting, given the restrictions.  We at Breakthrough just completed a major market/customer investigation for a client.  The learnings and potential business impact are considerable (and not related to COVID-19), and a thorough business team interaction to address these learnings and define a new path forward is called for.  However, the format, with several team members and other interested parties listening in, was not conducive to active engagement. The key questions, issues, and potential opportunities were not discussed.  Even those who wanted to debate the implications held back.

One thing is clear from this experience: If the business/marketing leader wants the learnings to go away and wants to do nothing, they will.  If you want the learnings to take your business to a new performance level, then you need to do the following:

  1. Demand that the meeting participants–including yourself–provide you with their independent insights from the investigation:
    • What were the top three to five learnings from this work, why so, and what are the implications to our business? Note that these learnings should be diced by market segments.
    • What alternative actions do you suggest be considered to address these learnings?
    • What are you prepared to work on to help the team move forward?
  2. Aggregate the learnings into groups with similar content, and then aggregate the implications and alternative actions.
  3. Establish sub-teams based on both the sets identified and key team member traditional roles, and ask each team to distill the learnings into discreet issues, implications, and potential actions. Note that each sub-team should be small enough to easily work in virtual engagements.
  4. Conduct a “Future Business History” on the key implications and alternative actions generated and agreed upon with a subset of each involved team.  This subset usually consists of the team leader and key execution roles. Other small working teams can be initiated base on key learnings.
  5. Generate a modified strategy and conduct a “Strategy Flowdown” to translate your work into action.

Are you interested in learning more about this approach? Feel free to contact us.

About the Author

Ronald E. SullivanRon Sullivan is a Senior Partner at Breakthrough Marketing Technology. He has worked with many businesses on innovation, new product development processes, strategy, building new business models, channels and distribution, and pricing optimization. He has significant expertise in study design, data analysis, and market intelligence.


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