Author Archives: Femflection

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 80. Shiny new avenues

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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…

It’s 6.45am. I’m trying to meditate but my upset head keeps butting in. Normally I tune in to my senses after a yoga stretch and focus for 10 slow breaths. No thoughts. Just observing senses. Today I can’t get beyond 3. My anxious mind keeps trying to solve the discomfort that’s been creeping in over the past few days. Small things that people have said have brought doubts to the surface:

• In discussion about what kind of company will want to buy Mirror Mirror: “But how many companies are prepared to truly empower their people? Not that many.”

• As I look at the new reports coming out of our new software system I recall: “It’s only the very brave line managers who will want to look under the carpet to see what’s actually going on.”

• As I look at the website of someone competing in the same space and see their global footprint, the output of their well-funded marketing machines, a voice in my own head says: “What happens if Mirror Mirror starts getting a lot of business? What makes you think YOU’VE got the abilities to take it forward?”

It’s now 8.30am and the girls have just left for school. I’m feeling insecure and at my desk making a call to a friend who is happy to be a sounding board now and again. He used to work for McKinsey and now works for an investment firm. Very high- quality sounding board… “You need to get data,” he says. “Focus on what the buyers like – they’re your early adopter market. Just like how the lean feedback loops work, you need to ask your customers and facilitators key questions. How did Mirror Mirror help you? What would make it more helpful.” I take the advice. Gratefully of course, it’s fantastic input. I capture and diarise doing that – while knowing the numbers of people we’re talking about is small, that so much has changed about Mirror Mirror that the reference point keeps changing. But it’s still a great, objective reality check – ironically. But I’m still upset NOW, more conscious that the massive elephant on my desk has a big sign on it that reads ‘WHERE ARE ALL THE CLIENTS?’ God, after all this time – where is my faith I the potential of Mirror Mirror coming from. My biggest fear – being deluded – sits red hot by my side.

9.30 am and I call Anja. You know – Femflections founder Anja. She offers balanced, supportive and constructive coaching from a place of real experience. I’m having a coffee while talking with her, hearing the reassuring viewpoint that Mirror Mirror is just going to be a long journey because it’s such a new product. That what I’m experiencing is the journey of an entrepreneur and no, I’m not mad. As usual, she makes a link to more of her contacts. With these two helplines, I’m ok to take my next call.

It’s 10.00 and the call is scheduled with Mr Doe, let’s call him. He’s a long-time communications expert in the public sector, very well connected, exactly my target market. Maybe I should reschedule that call to when I’m on top form, but no. Having had a couple of very good conversations in the past, let’s hear what he has to say. Summarised, this was his response: “I’ve been thinking about Mirror Mirror. It’s exactly the kind of tool we need to plug a gap in the offerings to clients. Let’s pitch this to the executive board and run some trials with our clients. Give me a draft pitch pack and we’ll work on it together beforehand.” We spoke for an hour. What a fan.

And now … what do you think? YES! I’m up again!!! The upset has disappeared. Those doubts are a silly memory and I’m all fired up. Not because I think this guy is a silver bullet – and it may not happen with his agency of course – but his kind of reaction and the other reactions I get like that make sense. Get the offer right and Mirror Mirror has huge potential.

It’s 1.30pm and I’m on the phone to a good friend / business contact in Germany. It’s an advice call I set up in my state of unease the day before – not knowing who would be available to talk and when. Now I’m a bit worried I might be taking up her time unnecessarily. She’s in the US but insists we go ahead. We speak for 30 minutes. She helps me see things in context – ironically. Here’s the context: For the past 4 months I have focused on getting the business ready: software, positioning and strategy. I consciously let go of business development and now that we’re nearly ready to go, I am returning to the pipeline and staring in dismay at the lack of activity. So, of course, there’s no activity! We’re just starting on a revised strategy. I know why the last strategy didn’t get us the sales we were looking for. I’ve adapted the business model and here we are. She also said, “Sit with it. Sit with the doubts. Don’t fear them, they’re telling you something – and in this case it’s that you need to focus back on business development.” Wow – how profound – don’t push away a feeling because you are scared of it. It’s just a feeling. I am so privileged to be able to call up experienced, top class advisors for free at short notice. I spend the afternoon regrouping and getting on with it, ticking stuff off my list. This business model is so much clearer and more focused. The motivation and flow returns.

It’s 3.40 and the girls are back from school. It’s time to take a break see what’s for dinner. While doing that, I can’t help but reflect on all the other avenues I’ve been down that started out looking shiny but only led to brick walls:

• The agency in London right at the beginning that were going to partner up but didn’t want to sell – I don’t blame them now!

• Approaching the BIG Four and other such players, thinking they’d lap up an idea like this – but getting no response

• Targeting agile – only to find Mirror Mirror is a great complimentary offering but isn’t yet something that agile coaches see as being in scope for them and their work

• Seeing Mirror Mirror could be offered as a training programme, and getting on the portfolio of a huge training provider, but not getting much interest (yet) – perhaps because they’ve priced it out of the market?

• Targeting merger and acquisitions – only to learn that the decision makers in these deals don’t care about alignment – they don’t spend on this stuff

• And the countless other clients / consultancies who have promised shiny door openings – I can think of 5 immediately – and you get part way down the path and then they just don’t return calls or mails.

I don’t regret going after those avenues because of all the learnings they provided. Yet I hope this current track isn’t another false start. Again, I check the logic. Yes, this direction makes sense. I’m still in the game. Then a friend of mine sends me a newsletter from James Clear. He writes weekly with 3 ideas, 2 messages and one question. The first idea is this: To improve, compare little things. -marketing strategies -exercise technique -writing tactics To be miserable, compare big things. -career path -marriage -net worth Comparison is the thief of joy when applied broadly, but the teacher of skills when applied narrowly. Hail all generous advisors! Thank you!

Mirror Mirror is a tool that identifies, measures and addresses the alignment gaps that drag down performance.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

Do you know what you don’t like about yourself in a conflict situation?

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“In business, when two people always agree, one of them is irrelevant” – William Wrigley.

Conflict is a normal part of any healthy relationship. Nobody can be expected to agree on everything all the time.  Make conflict resolution the priority rather than winning or being right. Maintaining and strengthening the relationship should always be the first priority. Say what must be said in a way that is not damaging the relationship. Pride does not belong at work!

Suggestions for managing and resolving conflict:

  • If you have a problem explain your thinking and ask the other party to explain his/her thinking. Focus only on the issue, not on the person. Separate facts from opinions and assumptions;
  • Take the time to really define the problem: describe the problem and its impact, avoid direct blaming remarks, make the problem concrete and specific;
  • Listen for what is felt as well as said. Let the other person finish, don’t interrupt, ask clarifying questions, acknowledge the other person’s feelings and show respect;
  • Use contrasting technique if applicable: “I don’t want to appear that I haven’t heard what you said, because I have. I do want to express a different way to look at the situation”;
  • Let the person know when what you are about to say is difficult: “this is a bit difficult for me to say, but I do want to let you know how I see the situation”;
    If you get emotional, pause and pull yourself together;
  • Focus on the common goals, priorities and problems on both sides. Find wins on both sides, give in on little points, show respect;
  • Keep the open conflict points as concrete and specific as possible (the more abstract it gets, the more unmanageable it is);
  • If you cannot agree on a solution on all conflict points, agree on a procedure to move forward;
  • Know when to let go of something: agree to disagree, disengage and move on;
    If needed, take the situation to the upper level for further calibration or decision taking.
    Other learning suggestions:

We often don’t like in others what we don’t want to see in ourselves. Are you up for a challenge? Write down five traits that really bug you when you see them in others. Be aware that these traits are your “hot buttons”.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

Can you be truly successful without making some friends at work?

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Given the increasing demands of work, it is likely that you are working long hours on projects with your colleagues. The intensity of the work can result in camaraderie and the formation of strong bonds – a feeling of ‘we are all in this together’. Therefore, it is not surprising that some work colleagues may consider you to be more than just a coworker and try to extend the relationship to your personal life.

It is hard to be strict about never mixing work and personal life since you may find that there are a few people at work whom you both respect as colleagues and get with on a personal level. Therefore, it would be a shame to cut yourself off from the possibility of cultivating them as friends because you feel that would be unprofessional and/or you like to keep your work and personal life separate.   If you have adopted this philosophy ask yourself these questions:

  • Why do you feel this way?
  • Why is this important to you?
  • What do you gain from this approach?
  • What do you lose out on?

If you feel uncomfortable with any invitation to socialize either physically or virtually it is best to have a face-to-face conversation with the person concerned. Do not respond to a friend request on Facebook directly on the app/platform. Ask the individual why they sent you the invitation  Remember to use a tone that is conversational rather than judgmental. ‘I saw that you sent me a friend request on Facebook, I’m curious as to why’ or ‘By the way, I saw your friend request on Facebook, that was a surprise’ are better than ‘Why did you send me a friend request on Facebook?’ Actively listen to what he/she is saying to you; your aim is to get the other person to open up to you so you understand his/her motives, then you can decide how you want to respond.

If you still feel awkward with having a personal relationship say that politely; thank him/her for the invitation and say that you normally prefer not to mix business and pleasure. However, it may be that once you have heard the reasons, for example, the person does not know many people in the area and would like to meet up occasionally or feel that you have mutual interests that you can share via social media, you will feel able to give this a try.   It is fine to tell him/her that you feel a bit awkward since this is not something that you normally do, but will give it a try to see how it goes. This signals to the other person that there is a chance that you will ‘unfriend’ him/her at some point if you continue to feel awkward.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

A SENSE OF SELF

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The more we try to be something else—what our parents told us we should be, what our jobs demand us to be, what other people seem to think we should be—the more the desire to just be ourselves grows stronger.

In other words: Our authenticity comes under pressure as soon as we are challenged to act in a way that is foreign to our nature.

As long as we are able to find our own voice, adapt our behaviors and at the same time maintain our personal values and integrity we will function well.

The key to maintaining your balance of self and to become the most authentic version of yourself is simply focusing on what makes you happy by regularly checking in with yourself.

Taking care of your self is the most powerful way to begin to take care of others. Your wellbeing is the platform from which you serve others.

Embrace your individuality and be true to yourself!

Take care!

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

Like yourself and what you stand for

IMG_0057Steve Jobs once said, “If you want to make everyone happy, don’t be a leader, sell ice cream”.

The qualities we tend to like in women (modesty, humility) are not the qualities that get professional recognition. Qualities we tend to like in men (self-confidence, assertiveness, asking directly for what you want) are the same qualities we uphold in the business world.

Caring too much about what others think of you stifles your ability to take risks and disrupts your social satisfaction. While you can’t control what other people think of you, you can control what you think of yourself and how you respond towards those who judge you.

People you work with do not need to like you.

People you work with need to respect you.

Strong leaders treat everyone well, but their actions are focused on the organization’s mission, vision, and goals rather than getting everyone to like them.

Be comfortable with the fact that not everyone will like you at work, in your neighborhood, and in your community activities; they never will.

Jesus, Gandhi, and Mother Teresa weren’t liked by everyone. So how can you and I possibly expect to attain 100% adoration? If we try to achieve that, we’ll bend and flex so much no one will know what we stand for – including ourselves. Be true to yourself and your values. It’s important that YOU like yourself and what you stand for. When that happens, others will stand with you.

Liz Weber

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com