Karla Raines of our company is fond of saying that you have to do something for 10,000 hours to become an expert at it. We at Corona believe that she’s right, because as she celebrates her 20th year at Corona Insights this week we’ve seen the impact of her 40,000 hours of strategic planning experience. We can confidently say that she’s an expert four times over.
As consultants, our presence and power tends to be diluted across a large number of clients. From an individual client’s perspective, we come in, do our thing, and then we glide back out to the periphery until we’re needed again. But in reality, we’re not just waiting in the wings for the next call – we’re working with other clients. Over the years, Karla has illuminated strategic paths for hundreds of clients.
If you live in Colorado, especially Denver, it is likely you will still be conducting the majority, if not all, of your team meetings virtually, even as some states and municipalities begin to chart their gradual paths to recovery.
As we adjust to the new reality of virtual meetings as the new norm, we’ve been gathering some tips, tricks, and resources for all of you who are having to adjust to conducting meetings online and to developing a new facilitation skill set you never knew you had or needed.
3 classic facilitation tips that will optimize your virtual meeting (in other words, these always apply):
had your share of emails about COVID-19, its impacts, and what organizations
are doing to cope (and to help you cope, too). As many are right now, we’re
taking this seriously and doing our part to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Insights is not typically a consumer-facing company, our work does bring us
into contact with our community, from conducting in-person research, to
community activities with our clients, and of course our clients themselves.
It’s a rapidly evolving situation, but here is where we stand as of today.
Research participation. Recruiting for in-person research (e.g., focus groups largely) has largely been postponed with few exceptions. Beyond just the challenges, we feel this is the right thing to do at this time as we want participants, clients, and staff to be safe and comfortable in their participation. We have not yet seen impacts via other research modes. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and current recommendations with our partners to assess additional needed changes.
Research impacts. Beyond just participation, we’re recommending assessing the impact, if any, on the project itself, such as the impact the current situation will likely have on some research topics.
Project timelines. Whether it’s due to a reason above, or clients themselves being swamped, we are helping mitigate potential delays as best we can. We’ve always been flexible for our clients’ needs and that’s true now more than ever.
What Corona is
Proactively managing projects. Corona is advising clients about the impact COVID-19 is having, or will likely have, on our work together, as well as how we recommend addressing it.
Altering research modes. Corona’s has a breadth of research tools and we are working with our clients to determine if and when it is appropriate to either change how we’re collecting data (e.g., moving more research online) or delaying research if we think the current impacts can’t be mitigated enough.
Recognizing the increased possibility of response bias. With an unprecedented level of societal changes happening to tackle COVID-19, we want to do what we can to avoid collecting data in a non-normal state right now. For instance, we recommended delaying one project that has to do with transportation, including public transit. Due to transit being used less right now, we will wait until behaviors return to normal before continuing with the study. We’re happy to talk through this with any clients who might have questions.
Working from home. Remote offices are nothing new for Corona except now it’s mandated. Staff will only be in the office as needed for critical functions, and we will determine the need for in-person meetings on a per client basis (most, perhaps all, have already moved to virtual or been rescheduled).
The marketplace is more crowded than ever with issues, causes, and candidates vying for attention as the election cycle kicks into high gear. It’s never been more challenging to be heard among so many competing messages targeted at your customer. That’s why Differentiation Zone is the tool of our time—the customer era. Differentiation Zone leads you to discover your customer’s mindset and helps you accelerate strategic success.
What trends are affecting your mission delivery? I’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, let’s bring these broad issues into view and explore what they mean for us today and the coming months. Welcome to Viewfinder 2020. Together we’ll explore the mega shifts impacting our lives across work, play, and home.
Younger association members know
what they want, and they have specific preferences for membership associations. Millennials are generally a tech-savvy and frugal group who value work/life balance,
personal fulfillment, and connection. They want a clear sense of the benefits
of being a member, something they generally don’t feel they are getting now. Mission
impact and community service are significant deciding factors for Millennials
and Gen Z. Career-focused messaging, personalization, and á la carte pricing
are the most effective ways to connect with young members. Gen X and Boomer
members expect the same.
Connection and fulfillment are
universal desires for members today, from memberships in trade associations to
cultural institutions. According to
trend tracker Colleen
Dilenschneider, “Supporting the organization’s mission matters a lot – mission-motivated
members are more likely to buy higher-level memberships, renew their
memberships, and find greater value for cost in those higher memberships that
they are purchasing. A problem, however, is that not all cultural organizations
recognize the importance of highlighting these benefits and instead focus almost
exclusively on transaction-based benefits.”
Associations used to be the place to go for ongoing professional development and engaging conversations
with colleagues in your field. That is no longer the case as members use free, open-source alternatives such as webinars, online courses, and
LinkedIn video content. Co-working spaces and meetups are ever-present
substitutes for busy people seeking connections on terms. Associations can
distinguish themselves by focusing on the credibility and brand of their
offerings and highlighting their high-touch, in-person interactions.
Your members have more options
than ever. Engage in ways that are meaningful to them.
Karla Raines of Corona will be joined by her friend Gretchen Kerr, COO of the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus to chat about the power of a 20-year visioning horizon. The Museum’s new 2030 Master Plan used a long horizon to leap over the usual constraints of shorter-term thinking. Moon colonization? Autonomous vehicles? Yes and yes.
Using a case study approach, we will share the advantages of
a longer horizon, discuss the essential topics to explore, and share how your
scan can illuminate possibilities you hadn’t envisioned as you build buy-in for
an exciting future.
We all love a good story. There is increasing evidence that storytelling is one of the most effective ways to communicate information that
will be retained by an audience. An analysis of the 500 most popular TED talks demonstrated that more than 65% of the
content was storytelling. The ability to communicate a clear and emotionally resonant
narrative of impact is essential for nonprofits and purpose driven
Three of Corona’s associates will take you past the buzzword
of storytelling and breakdown what makes for an effective impact narrative. You
will learn how tools of strategy, qualitative research, and quantitative
analysis can help your organization share the story of why you matter.
SWOT analysis, one of the most prevalent tools in strategic
planning, is in dire need of an update. Can you name another tool that hasn’t
evolved in 50 years? To put it in perspective, it is akin to using a rotary
dial phone in the age of the tech-enabled smart phone.
Karla Raines, Corona’s strategy guru, will share four notable shortcomings in the existing approach and highlight innovative alternatives that will position nonprofits to make the most of their next strategic analysis. Once you understand the shortcomings you will be primed to consider alternatives, including how to optimize your next SWOT.
We sat down
recently with Mike Yankovich, Gretchen Kerr, and Amy Burt of the Children’s
Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus to reflect on our work together. We asked them to take us back to
Twelve years ago, our
hero’s journey began, as many do, with a quest for knowledge. Feeling a bit
like the cartoon character “Underdog,” the Museum knew they had potential to
make a more notable impact on the community yet weren’t quite sure how to get
there. The facility was a bit too crowded—a theme that would emerge again in
later years. Their search for answers led them to Corona Insights, as the
Museum endeavored to gather customer insights to determine how to make the most
of the available space, enhance quality, and solidify their reputation.