Lindsay’s In Business: PART 32: The Turnaround

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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…

I can’t tell you how much has been happening – and it’s all so exciting!

OK to pick up from last time, I mentioned a new trial I have coming up. It starts with interviews next week and it’s with a student project team from the University of Applied Sciences in Austria. Ping! It just happened…

I’ve become connected with a performance management community, led by a guy called Lukas based in Switzerland. I connected with him because of something he wrote about somewhere. He liked Mirror Mirror and sees that it connects with the needs of his clients, so he made me an ‘affiliate’ and I joined the network. I reached out to some of its members and came across a Professor of Strategy and Innovation. We skyped, she immediately ‘got’ Mirror Mirror’ and offered me a trial on the spot. Done : )

It fits fantastically. I’ll run the workshop in Lintz a couple of days after the annual community day in Vienna on November 15. Makes that travel investment triple-worth it.

Now it’s a couple of days later and an appointment I’ve been chasing with an ex-colleague at an IT Company I used to work for, comes up in the diary. I know he’s got several dispersed IT teams that would definitely need help with alignment. As I’m cycling to the meeting (it was in The Hague), I decide he just IS going to do a trial.

By now, my chat about Mirror Mirror is so practiced, and he’s such a friendly guy, that I didn’t need to open my laptop during the meeting. The chat flowed – and he agreed to do a trial in December. PING number 2! It would be unpaid, but the deal was that if they liked it, he’d run another with his Leadership Team fully paid. DONE.

My word – I can now FINALLY see the end to the Beta Test phase. And with that comes a slight feeling of dread. I really do NOT want to spend the next 2 years scrabbling around for clients on my own – asking for rates according to our calculated pricing. (That’s where we left off from the last blog). I need a bigger network and a bigger machine to really get Mirror Mirror off the ground and realised. I need to work with other people, and I’m thinking what a ‘partners’ scenario might look like. Would it be several partners, or one larger exclusive partner?

I don’t know why, but instinctively I reach out to a contact I know via my husband, called Emeric. He works for a global consultancy firm and started a dot com business himself a while back. Maybe he could advise about partners.

“I’m in finance so this isn’t really my thing. But why don’t you pitch this to our Human Capital Practice,” he said. “They’re always looking for new ideas.

“Don’t I need to wait until the end of the Beta Test phase?” I asked – pleased there was even scope to approach someone at this big-name professional services firm. “By then, I’ll have more evidence and a stronger case, no?”

He replied, “You’re already testing – why not start the conversation early?”

WHY NOT, ABSOLUTELY! This put my whole business development timeline on to a new footing. I’d just finished the case study about our first formal trial with Samsung – great results there – so I sent my very best pitch mail the next morning to Emeric to forward on.

A couple of days before all of this, my intern from TU Delft had come back with a summary of the research he’d been reviewing about the various definitions of ‘alignment’. He said he felt the way people were describing alignment were unclear, but was seeing two broad areas in the literature:

Strategic Alignment

Strategic Alignment more commonly discussed among papers and defined as: The Degree to which all jobholders in the organization share the vision, values and strategy of the organization.

Social Alignment

Social alignment is a more psychological phenomenon. Compared to strategic alignment, Social Alignment focuses on Understanding each other. Pickering and Garrod (2004) state that social alignment is the basis for a successful dialogue.

That’s so useful!!! While Mirror Mirror deals with the team understanding of how they are strategically aligned with the organization, Mirror Mirror definitely sits in the social alignment space. Social alignment is both unclaimed and untapped territory, and naming it provides a label that can help people identify with that space.

Wow – straight away I blogged about that label – along with the Samsung case study story – and it went into the in the pitch mail too.

A week later and the strategic vs social alignment spaces have translated in my mind into what that means for leadership communication – and I blogged about that too.

Then it went quiet. Oh no, not a slow burn reaction – or even worse a negative reaction to my pitch…

Keep the faith, girl…

Then, a couple of days ago, I got a response to that pitch mail – it apparently generated quite some interest and I have an appointment with one of the Human Capital Partners next Wednesday. WAHOO!

Now I’m in London for the first time in 2 months and meeting up with various potential collaborators and people in similar lines of work, musing over business development and partnerships. It came up in conversation: why not send that pitch mail to the BIG FOUR global consulting firms and HR Consultancies. I could find the names of the Product Development leads online somehow surely …

A big fish has caught my line and there could be more in that school looking for my bait… I am going fishing!!

The death-fall-experience is now far, far away and I’m happily surfing a wave to god knows where, trying to keep my feet on the ground – but not quite being able to 😊.

Mirror Mirror identifies misalignment gaps and opportunities and works with teams to address those, for clarity, alignment and momentum: www.mirrormirrorhub.com

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