by Lindsay Uittenbogaard (you can find previous parts of Lindsay’s story here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7)
The confidence and clarity I had in my business idea had plummeted whilst on holiday in Scotland and I got back feeling just awful.
RIGHT. This mess needed sorting out. I wanted to get back to the basic concept and start afresh. I’m sitting at desk. The house is empty. OK.
- The emphasis had always centred on creating a better understanding of ‘context’ so that Managers can better engage with their teams.
- It was about capturing perspectives to get that understanding – listening to what the sponsor, team leader and team members find as important and why, what they think could be done differently, how positive and motivated they feel about things – and most importantly – WHY.
- It was about better understanding the style of the team leader, and the values of the team members.
- It was about real dialogue: teams and their leaders talking together, co-creating a shared understanding of the issues, possibilities, ideas and means – where they are aligned and where they could be more aligned and why
- Then it was about achieving real outcomes – what the team could do differently to move forward together, be that in learning, communication, collaboration, relationships, changes to processes etc.
I was waking up in the mornings, visualising the way this ‘offering’ would work. A brand name popped up.
Perfect. This method, or tool, or whatever it was, would hold up a mirror up to the team and their leader so they could see themselves clearly. And of course, in a team, the answer to the infamous question from the fairytale ‘Snow White’: “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” is nobody. No-one is the fairest of them all if you’re in a great team.
I hadn’t ever seen a process like this run inside an organisation but no doubt, it certainly had – in one form or another – been created before. But setting up a brand – standardising it for scaled deployment did seem new.
In “Reinventing Organisations”, Frederic Laloux writes about the evolution of organisations. From centuries ago, when there were chiefs with loyal foot soldiers in line (red); to later, with hierarchies led by hero leaders who know the ‘right way’ forward (amber); to the more recent management by objectives and merit-based promotion (amber); to the more advanced empowering leaders as servants (green); and finally the future: self-managed, distributed, societally relevant (teal) organisations.
Surely it’s about the right time for leaders to want to progress from amber to green? For leaders to listen to their team members, for teams to own their progress through co-creating their own ‘shared reality’, guided by the frame the leader sets – that everyone understands? HR and Communications communities have been talking about this for years…
Mirror Mirror would be an engagement, team work and performance improvement situation assessment tool. It would show how powerful real 2-way interaction could be. It would combine the insights that an experienced facilitator would get from a round of interviews, from value assessments for all, and from a leadership style assessment. The data playback would be so interesting and useful – about what people think is important and why; how they feel and what they think could be done; what they experience in their environment that could be holding the team back. Wouldn’t you like to know that as a Team Leader?
Any freelancer or small consultancy could be trained to deliver it to their clients. The more the better – let’s get this approach on the map!
It was time to write out the ‘blueprint’ – the instruction manual, so I did – in 3 days flat. It was 14 pages in total and spelled out the what, why, and how of Mirror Mirror, A-Z.
Miss X and I decided to circulate this blueprint up to 10 – 15 experts in the field as our Alpha Testing phase, while asking if anyone had heard of this kind of tool before. From Hong Kong to Pakistan, England to Australia, that pack – with an NDA precursor – went out to the most accomplished and well-respected OE, HR, Comms, Learning and Leadership experts I had ever met.
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