Lindsay’s In Business: PART 13: The Team and Tumbleweed

by Lindsay Uittenbogaard

What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

It’s obvious that when you ready a product and declare it ‘NOW AVAILABLE!!’ that there will be relative silence in return. But it still takes you by surprise.

But we’re not sitting 🙂 . Now that the Mirror Mirror process has been designed and is ‘ready’ to go, we need people to test Mirror Mirror, to give us feedback and help us fine tune it to be an AMAZING intervention.

Come on, come on – I was feeling positive, I even dreamed that we’d get several great companies running Mirror Mirror in this pilot phase. Before I go on, let me introduce you to the 6 Mirror Mirror team members:

  • Hannah Rattay came on board first. An old contact from Shell, she’s an Aerospace Engineering graduate from Cambridge with a passion for the social sciences. She brings rigour, objectivity, structure and consulting experience.
  • Next was the leadership and team development company, 3 Minute Mile, introduced to me by an ex-colleague, James Gardener – also from Shell. 3 Minute Mile was founded and is led by a true expert in people development, Jeremy Sutton. He is joined by Leadership Coach Saira Chaudry, and Consultant Psychologist Sebastian Teijeiro. They have solid client and associate lists and are the official UK distributor for Hogan Assessment Systems.
  • Soon after, a long-standing contact of mine Stephen Welch, whose work as a global partner in the Hay Group meant that his value to Mirror Mirror is in terms of understanding, experience and contacts is entirely relevant.

Except for myself, the other 5 have ‘day jobs’ and are contributing on the side, a few hours a week.

A few weeks back, Jeremy came up with the idea to run a breakfast briefing on Mirror Mirror in December to attract test clients and get feedback.  Given that we still don’t know exactly who our target customers are, this was a great idea because we still need these key questions answering:

  • Who are the buyers / users?
  • Are we talking primarily to sponsors or team leaders?
  • Would this be at senior or mid-level?
  • Is it best to target forming teams, transitioning teams, or teams need of performance improvement?
  • Who needs this more – traditional organizations or more advanced organizations?

We wanted to start at the HR Director level and 3 Minute Mile are members of the Searcy’s event venue in the Gherkin, London. There’s a meeting room with a fabulous view for 25, which would mean about 20 guests. Perfect!

We identified around 100 invitees, planned the agenda, wrote up the communications and went for it.  Three weeks later we compared the reactions:

  • Interested but not available = about 40
  • No response = about 30
  • Out of date contact details = about 10
  • Not relevant right now = about 16
  • Yes, interested = 4.

Not enough. Hmmm.

We postponed the date to the end of January, to give us more of a chance to identify the right participants – so it’s coming up soon.  As of today, we have around 13 takers – so thankfully, it’s going ahead.  The people who have agreed to come along are fantastic contacts interested in improving team effectiveness in their organizations, so we should get some great feedback.

I’m at Schiphol airport right now, about to catch a flight to London Heathrow to meet with the team about preparations.

But even if we do attract another 7 people, are they going to leap up and volunteer to test Mirror Mirror?  I do anticipate positive and useful feedback about Mirror Mirror itself, but it takes a fairly bold person – with the level of brand presence that we’re seeking for testimonials – to put up their hand and try it out.

I don’t know who is reading this blog but if you know a team who either need to get to know each other better, need to transition to a new phase, or who need to move their performance to the next level, then please let me know – .

In the meantime, I have to go now. I have a speech to prepare – eek!

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