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 feel enlightened. I feel foolish. I feel grateful. I feel stubborn.
It’s been three years since I started pioneering Mirror Mirror. If you’ve been following this blog and have felt the cloud of failure looming over my head, I don’t blame you. But I do not see it myself.
Earlier this year, one person – a senior consultant connected in with the pharmaceuticals industry – asked if we were ready to run Mirror Mirror with multiple teams, dozens of teams, simultaneously. I said yes, knowing we would really have to scramble if that was the case.
If such an opportunity came up, our delivery would need to be at the highest level of quality to gain client endorsement, so I made a big decision. I decided to invest in a professional level software upgrade that I’d been holding off for some time because of the cost.
Chicken and egg. You can’t deliver until you have the right capability, yet you don’t want to invest in developing capability unless you have the demand.
At that time, I felt the pipeline was getting stronger. I had the promise of an 8-team assignment with a multinational energy company, I had signed a deal with a training company who would be offering Mirror Mirror to hundreds of their clients. I felt now was the right time to get prepared.
Now, the software is almost finished. It’s going to do everything we want it to do – create customisable surveys and reports, allow codification of qualitative responses, organize our data etc etc. And the reports look amazing. It’s gold dust.
But none of the opportunities in the pipeline have so far come to fruition.
At the same time, I’m upgrading my marketing materials (again) and developing a full day certification programme, on the basis that people who train up to run Mirror Mirror will be in a far better position to sell Mirror Mirror into their clients than I am.
I like this route to market because the chances of me selling a single intervention that no-one’s heard of, with no prior relationships and established credibility, into a performance improvement strategy that will already have its suppliers rooting for their own agenda is frankly, mission impossible.
However, training up people to use Mirror Mirror to their advantage, while I sell them licences and the reports service is well, obvious. So here I am, already feeling foolish that I thought I could sell Mirror Mirror myself … and then this…
I landed a fantastic partnership agreement with a couple who do virtual facilitation training and provide strategic advice. They love Mirror Mirror and are to give me access to their network of facilitators and help get the full day Mirror Mirror training course off the ground. In return, I will give them all the Mirror Mirror virtual delivery work that comes my way.
We opened the partnership with a one-day meeting in my kitchen yesterday and ran through the current Mirror Mirror workshop structure.
“That’s a very tall order for a workshop,” said Judy.
“Yes”, added Steve. “I don’t think you’ll be able to align the whole team completely in less than a day. You might be able to align them a bit, but what’s really valuable here is that you are measuring the alignment gaps.”
“This measurement piece is a huge benefit,” Judy continued. “I think people would buy Mirror Mirror for this reason alone. The fact that you’re bringing teams to a level of awareness about those gaps – or closing them – is extra.”
A new window opened. Hmm.
We started going through the different Mirror Mirror ‘audiences’. We looked at what problems they face and how Mirror Mirror, presented in this light, could benefit them.
It was like putting the final pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together. A glow of enlightenment gradually came over me. The people we are selling to want to know what the alignment problems are so they can take go about fixing them – and we can help with that.
This is still work in progress but here’s a summary:
Mirror Mirror identifies, measures and addresses alignment gaps that drag down performance to help…
- sponsors by providing an independent, authoritative audit on the state of organizational change in progress so they can make more informed decisions
- team leaders get verifiable insights and support to address the issues that are holding their teams back
- new team leaders rapidly understand their context and engage with their team to set a new direction
- in-house and external practitioners get hard data about what’s happening and what’s needed, while preparing employees to take more effective action
- teams develop a more open, respectful and inclusive culture, get better aligned on their work together, and so be better prepared to contribute more effectively.
This makes so much sense. Without knowing it, we had re-positioned Mirror Mirror, identified the target audiences, and put together value proposition statements – right in time for the materials upgrade project.
And it’s clear that the fourth audience: in-house and external practitioners (in HR / Comms / L&D / OE) is our target because these people are the most likely entry points and connect with all of the other audiences.
I’m so blown away. I will can adapt my brand, my materials, my pitch to this and I know it will resonate. I’m so grateful to have spoken to Judy and Steve when I did. They’re amazing.
Two hours after they left, I found myself wondering how NOBODY ELSE spotted this until now, including me, of course. And then I feel foolish again. For three years I’ve been trying to sell direct, with the wrong pitch.
Mirror Mirror is getting so much closer to becoming part of a revolution in change management. Yet the realisation that there are no guarantees any of this work will come to mean anything or be of any value, almost brings me to tears.
But I’m stubbornly certain that somehow it will.
And deep inside, I relish the challenge.
Mirror Mirroris a tool that identifies, measures and addresses the alignment gaps that drag down performance.
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