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Lindsay’s In Business: PART 89. From control to intuition 

Trust

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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 wrote last time about not trying too hard, about not trying to push Mirror Mirror onto other people, learning that if you show respect for their space and their decision, they’re more likely to come towards you.

Since then, I’ve been very conscious of a big area of discomfort: the thought that 2020 will be all about marketing.  And I draw away from that.  I’ve had too many experiences of putting a ton of effort in and feeling like it all disappears into a vacuum.  No results. No responses. Just a waste of time.

But I know that’s not true.  And I know I have more traction these days. I have people willing to spread the word, people advocating the use of Mirror Mirror.

What’s been happening….

  • The first two weeks in January saw scheduled training with 38 practitioners – 4 online sessions, 5 hours each.
  • The vibe on each call was amazing.So much interest and enthusiasm.  There’s the demand – RIGHT THERE!
  • Lots of valuable feedback from each round: edit the pre-work content; include a simulation.
  • Nice work on support facilitation and follow up of contacts from virtual training partner, Steve.He’s great.
  • Lots of admin managing membership invitations, invoicing, communications etc. Help from

new Operations Manager taking time to onboard, as it would, and invaluable.

The year 2020 is indeed all about these two things:

  1. Growing a practitioner capability and an effective network
  2. Building brand awareness, credibility and sales via network and in general

But that discomfort is still there. It’s not just about feeling the efforts could be futile, it’s about the AMBIGUITY of marketing. You have no idea who’s going to be interested to have you at a conference, publish an article, who will be reading it, where these opportunities are even.  It’s so frustratingly RANDOM. You can have a strategy, but you can’t structure everything, you can’t control it.

And there it is again. Control, goddamnit!  Come on Lindsay!  You’re old enough and wise enough to get your head around this.

After a ‘marketing brainstorm’ call with Steve and my good friend Mike, during which I can just hear the angst and retreat in my voice, I take a step back.  Guided by Mike and Steve’s advice I realise that successful marketing just is random, it’s bit by bit, it’s just picking off one opportunity at a time, and that’s ok.

  • Keep generating content that’s useful.
  • Keep asking people if they know of exposure opportunities.
  • Use your objectives as your guide and flit around intuitively – talking to people, following up research, taking part in conversations – just like it was a Saturday and it’s ok to drift around aimlessly.
  • Believe that when you keep up the positive, credible presence, STUFF BRINGS STUFF (as Steve always says : )

It’s time to learn about situational leadership once and for all.  Be intuitive when getting the word out about Mirror Mirror.  Be structured and controlling when it comes to building new products on a budget. Listen when someone you work with has a point of view. Tell people about your vision when the time is right.

Now I feel better. It’s the end of January and already, things that used to be difficult are becoming easier.  Interest from practitioners to join the training. Ideas people have about teams they could pitch to.  Proposals from people about trying out Mirror Mirror to get the experience. I have the time to for online networking, sending out materials, submitting conference proposals in a random, playful way.

And then I land my first keynote.  At a Testing Conference in Germany!  Everyone in technology seems to be interested in why it’s still all about people.  I learn that the issues testers are faced with are often the results of misalignments further up the chain.

I get invited to do a podcast.  And then another.

I start merging what I read in one place with what I read in another, and think up new content for Mirror Mirror based on both.

And I send out a newsletter, in it the vision:

Over the last decade, we’ve seen more complexity and more remote, short-term staffing. All this means more scope for misalignment, which is costly and frustrating for all. Now, imagine having a good level of alignment between people across your organization, both cognitively and behaviourally, after just 8 hours per team.  We’ll be able to offer this through our growing delivery capability of our network. Once this happens, our market will open-up: from supporting a handful of teams at a time, we’ll be helping people align across any size of organization, anywhere. They’ll have less stress and better results from a better foundation of alignment. And we believe that’s a vision worth fighting for.

Mirror Mirror – a team alignment diagnostic tool and process in one, helping people align to the strategy, as well as each other.

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

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 88. Not trying too hard 

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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 like the hypnosis download I bought recently about How to Be More Patient.  It seems to be making a difference. Actually, I like reading the descriptions they’ve written about their other available downloads.  It makes it so easy to understand the simple psychology behind unwanted mindsets.  For example, advertising the download ‘Overcoming Negativity’, here’s what the site says:

Let’s take a second to think about that critical negative voice inside your head. You know, the one that says: “I won’t be good enough” or “It’s not going to work”. 

Have you ever considered the possibility that it isn’t your voice saying these things?

That it could be someone else’s? A parent’s, or maybe a teacher’s, friend’s or a partner’s perhaps?

No one is born negative. I mean, have you ever seen a negative young child? No question is too silly, no outfit is too outrageous. So, you’re not an innately negative person, you just ‘caught’ someone else’s negativity somewhere along the line. And this means you can break your poor thinking habits and reveal the real you. The ‘you’ you were as a young child, when anything was possible.

Wow. People just need to hear those reassuring words repeated to understand what new mindset is needed to overcome their issue.  I know it’s not that easy but it’s a bit start.

Then I got to thinking about feedback I’ve received for years but never knew what do to about: “You’re trying too hard.”  What does that even mean? I’m working too hard or being too determined?

I looked for it in the list of hypnosis downloads. Nothing there.

Then I started googling.

The second link was a comment by a Julie Gunner to an excellent article in Quora.com.  Now I get it.  And it couldn’t have come at a better time.  Right before I’m about to train up 40 practitioners over the coming month.  The comment said:

“I noticed that when I wanted things the most, that desire came with a lot of force. Not only does it put more pressure on you (which makes you act differently), but it’s not attractive to others to be pushing or trying so hard… whether it’s establishing new business relationships, or personal ones.

[If you put] yourself in a position to win, you take all the pressure off.  You stop trying so hard. You’ve done what you have to do , you’ve put in the effort to be the best, and you have placed yourself in situations that if someone wants to take advantage of that expertise or who you are – they either will or won’t …   

I think if you try too hard, you try to force a particular path, and aren’t flexible to the amazing opportunities and relationship you can build if you simply focus on being the best you can be, and allowing yourself to be open.”

I have, for years, been trying to extend my sphere of influence into other people’s decision-making territory – by showing passion, by being persuasive.  But that’s not my territory and that actually turns people off.  I just need to accept that people make their own decisions and I need to give them that space.

Mirror Mirror – a team alignment diagnostic tool and process in one, helping people align to the strategy, as well as each other.

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

 

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 86. Building Capability

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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…

We have 3 jobs in progress and almost all 40 places for January’s training are booked up!  The pressure is on to get the best Mirror Mirror training programme finished before Xmas. Meantime, it’s 22.00 and I’m typing in pyjamas. I want to get this written before tomorrow.

My youngest daughter was off school sick today – that hardly ever happens. She lay on the sofa looking cute interrupting my work every 5 minutes with attention-seeking comments. She’s such a sweetie but the experience for me was a mixed back: a test of infuriation, caring, patience and acceptance all at the same time.  By about 14.00 I had given up on my well-intentioned plans to spend the whole working on the training course and succumbed to distraction.

Actually, I have 6 days over next two weeks blocked to prepare the training delivery.  And what a crucial task.  Getting this right means growth. The trainings are one day virtual Mirror Mirror courses scheduled with 10 participants per time.  From the pilot training course I delivered over the summer, this one will be a major improvement.  You could say I’ve been preparing for it for months.  The content brings together the new sample reports, the new messaging, the new processes, the new concepts and new commercial parts of the business.

I’m pleased with the format of the training day.  It starts in advance of the training day with pre-read / pre-watch videos.  The day programme consists of three online sessions – each one interactive so the participants can think things through and learn from each other. There’s offline reading and tests in between the sessions. Finally, individual 2-way feedback sessions culminate in a pass or fail situation – although I’m sure most people will pass.

I might have to skulk out to coffee shops over the Xmas break to get everything properly prepared – there’s so much to do.

Sometimes I think I’m neglecting my daughters a bit with the extra hours I’m squeezing in. But then I realise I’m just busy, like any other working mum and there’s no point in feeling guilty about it.  I’m probably more being an example to them – showing them that if you’re the working type, it is possible to find a balance that works for everyone.

And as the girls are 11 and 12, they’re starting to ask questions and listen to my explanations about what I’m doing and why.  Wouldn’t it be great if they could work for Mirror Mirror – or take it over one day?

Anyway – it looks like we already have quite a team.  I have Miss X in Berlin on Product Development (involved from day 1), Miss Y is a contractor based in Maastricht who helps on the IT side, and now I have Miss Z on board with Operations Management. She’s living quite close by, now wanting to get back into the workplace for 20 hours a week or so after her kids have left home.

It takes time to explain what’s needed and set up all the back-office processes with someone new. Miss Z has spent the first two weeks getting set up with software and learning how to use the reporting tool.  We’ve set up a new job process and are using it now.

I’d like her to support on training administration, social media, materials development…  it’ll be great once she’s up to speed.  Finally, I’ll be able to concentrate on growth.

But it’s back to preparing the training for now. Wish me luck!

Mirror Mirror – a team alignment diagnostic tool and process in one, helping people align to the strategy, as well as each other.

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

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

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 79.  Step Change Evolution

IMG_0055What 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.

Continue reading

Self-Esteem, Self-Image, and Projection

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By: Angie Falls

On my path of self-discovery I did some research on the topic Self. To better understand this I would like to share the below methodology.

The Johari window is a technique that helps people better understand their relationship with themselves and others. It was created by psychologists Joseph Luft (1916–2014) and Harrington Ingham (1916–1995) in 1955.

To further analyze it is necessary to properly define Self-Esteem, Self-Image, and Projection.

What Is Self-Esteem, Self-Image, and Projection?

Self-esteemis the opinion you have of yourself and your perception on your value as a person. Low (negative) self-esteem can cause people to be negative, lack motivation, and be moody. Those with higher (positive) self-esteem like themselves, so they expect others to like them, too. They don’t harshly judge themselves and are comfortable with who they are. Continue reading

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 77 It’s basically about TRUST

d46e4803-6844-40fd-bc36-d25b3a92f915What 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…

Business has stalled for a month.  It’s mid-summer and there’s no activity.  My pipeline , everything is frozen in time while outside it’s a heatwave.

We went on a European road trip for 3 weeks covering 10 countries – it was amazing, hectic and hard work.  Sounds like business!

While I was away, I read Stephen MR Covey’s book, The Speed of Trust.  It inspired me to share. A summary of what he says is this…

There are 4 core aspects of trust that build credibility: Integrity and Intent (character), Capability and Results (competence).   All of these are needed to establish trust. For example, you can trust your friend but wouldn’t to go to them to get your teeth fixed unless they were a qualified dentist.

Building trust starts with inspiring trust in self through behaviours, such as: talk straight, demonstrate respect, clarify expectations, show loyalty, and confront reality.  Through reciprocation of these behaviours, trust can be created between people.

Organizations need another dimension to build trust, which centres around the ‘principle of alignment’ at the design level: “Just as the tax created by low trust is real, measurable, and extremely high, so the dividends of high trust are also real, quantifiable, and incredibly high.”

The stories that Covey tells about how these behaviours work in practice orientate around congruent communications and systems that lead to rich, expedient, productive actions.

These tables say it all…

What does it look like in an organization when there is no trust?

Organization level Interpersonal level
Micromanagement Hostile behaviours and confrontations
Sabotage, grievances, lawsuits Labelling of others as enemies or allies
Punishing systems and hierarchy Communications coloured by fear, uncertainty, doubt and worry
Unhappy employees and stakeholders Real issues not surfaced or dealt with effectively
Time wasted defending positions and decisions Energy draining, joyless interactions
Bureaucracy, redundancy and misalignment in systems and structures Evidence-gathering of other party’s weaknesses and mistakes
Hidden agendas Guarded / grudging dispensing of information
Slow approvals / lack of overall agility Regular misunderstandings

 

What does it look like in an organization when there is trust?

Organization level Interpersonal level
Aligned systems and structures Positive energy
Good communication Inspiring work characterised by purpose, creativity and excitement
A focus on work and results Open, transparent relationships
Positive partnership relationships Cooperative, close, vibrant relationships
Helpful systems and structures Cordial, healthy communications
Strong creativity and innovation Focus on smooth and efficient collaboration
Engagement, confidence, loyalty Mutual tolerance and acceptance
Healthy workplace Mistakes seen as learning opportunities

Mirror MirrorWe identify and close alignment gaps between people in organizations to improve engagement and 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