Tag Archives: align your teams

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 75: Plugging In

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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…

People say that when you’re pioneering a new business idea, the first years are dominated by trying to figure out how what you’ve got fits into the market.  Enquiring, adjusting, repositioning, reconfiguring, testing…

What I find most difficult about that process is that all you’ve got to go on is insights from people with different perspectives and your own experience.  Then having gathered several points of insight, a logic forms and you are convinced that finally, you’ve hit upon THE RIGHT way to plug-in to the market. Your gut tells you that the way you have shaped that logic around what people want MUST be right; that what you have WILL fit the customer need x for reason a, b, c…

After that, you get closer to execution and find MORE insights that contradict / refine / show how what you previous thought wasn’t quite right, after all. Although with these new insights, you are getting closer to the real plug in, circling around like this is confusing.  A question sits staring at me:  how can you trust your gut instinct when you keep being proven wrong?

The answer surely is that you need data.  But no-one’s done any research to answer my specific questions.  I’m not about to embark on a 4-year academic study either.

The little quiet voice in the back of my head that is wisdom tells me that impatience is ruling over my gut and my brain.  I’m so eager to get this out there (I thought it would take 6 months – we’re now 3 years into the process) that my motives – to get this done quickly – are influencing my interpretations and my judgement.

What would it look like if I approached this as if I were a clean sheet of paper?  No expectations, no pre-conceived notions about the process, no desires to have whatever emerges fit my personal timescales?

I would simply let it happen. God I’d like to learn how to do that. I have an inkling on how to go about that….

Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying this journey a lot, I feel safe – like I know if I stick to this path success will happen – in whatever form – but god-damnit I FEEL INESCAPABLY RUSHED!! Why?!

Anyway, here’s how the plugging in process has unfolded over the past months, step by step:

Mirror Mirror is a methodology that helps people in teams get more cognitive and behavioural alignment so they can deliver better together.

Which teams?In companies (in Europe) where there are market innovators with budgets.

In what kind of situations?In complex situations where there is more need for people in teams to align.  Specifically, emergency response teams / safety teams / IT Security teams / teams in post-merger and acquisition environments / teams in need of strategic clarity / teams in need of agile ways of working.

Several weeks of talking to people to test these hypotheses go by

What priorities are you working to – where will you target?Teams in need of agile ways of working.  There’s such a philosophical crossover and there are many agile consultants looking for new tools to support teams outside of IT.  There’s a huge opportunity there.  Feels right!

Many weeks of presenting at agile conferences and events to gauge reactions go by

What was the market reaction?  They’re all interested and say it’s great, but none seem to want to go further or ask about how they can get hold of this.  I don’t know why that is.

More weeks go by enquiring about what’s behind that response.

Did you find out more?  Apparently because Mirror Mirror asks questions about context and behaviour, agile consultants don’t have experience in that space and see it fitting more into HR.   They probably perceive it as being outside of their territory.

What now?I’ll move on to another market area.

Which one?   Teams in the post post-merger and acquisition (M&A) environments because the benefits would have such high value in this context.

Wait.   News in from helpful contact deep into the agile space.  Apparently Agile COACHES have a broader role than consultants and may well want this.  Don’t rule it out.  I chase up a contact from the conference who is running training courses to see what she thinks.  Meantime…

Where will you start with the M&A area?  I’ll contact anyone I know to get advice and do some research.

Several weeks go by as I get appointments and referrals and write to people speculatively.  One of my contacts goes sour as I explain why I think traditional communications promote disengagement, which was a driver to develop Mirror Mirror.  I realise afterwards I effectively told her that her work was meaningless.  Oopsie.

Apart from that, what happened?  Most people said it sounded great. I got a few hours of research done by a freelancer on Upwork who found white papers to say that 23% of M&A failures come down to poor team integration.  I then discovered that the word ‘integration’ isn’t just about people, it’s also about processes etc.  We need to use the phrase ‘cultural integration’.  And overall, talking to people in general, the general feedback is positive.  There’s a lot to gain, there are budgets.  We decide to proactively target this area. Feels right!

So how are you going forward now?  The work we’ve got coming up after the summer will give us a great case study in this area so we can use that to attract attention.

So that’s it? Well, 2 weeks ago I met with a new contact via LinkedIn who manages M&A transactions. He put me in touch with a guy he knows who is very experienced in the integration phase and I had a long call with him the next day (so nice to get accessible advice!).  The news is that while cultural integration is seen as important, it doesn’t tie into the bottom line and practically no meaningful team cultural integration activities take place.  There are no budgets allocated and plenty of HR people with their own tools, ready to swoop. It’s a no-go area.

What do you think about that?To me, it’s no go but it doesn’t mean there’s no opportunity. If deal makers can be convinced of the ROI (return on investment) and see how quick and effective Mirror Mirror is, there would be fertile ground because like I say, we deliver great results and are unique in that. This is about creating the market. I bounced that off against an ex-colleague of mine who I remembered also works in that space. He agreed but said the whole field is laden with political issues as people lose jobs and as others get pay-outs. It’s not top of mind for that reason.

What did you decide?Better to leave this whole area until we can evidence the business benefits with great case studies and come back with clients telling fantastic stories about us as a pull rather than a push.  Back to the drawing board on getting more evidence-based case studies : (

OK – what next?  I just trained up 15 potential delivery agents in 5 countries having developed a free 2.5 hour training.  WOW. Amazing insights. The small consultancies want to buy licenses and our reports service – and would need help with delivery for multiple teams; while there are TONS of experienced freelancers looking for work within our framework (because they’re sick of corporate life). They’re keen to get innovative, effective offerings and be subcontracted to existing projects.   They’ve got what we don’t have – credibility, existing networks and if they use Mirror Mirror, they’re not selling it as their own product. CERTIFICATION IS OUR THE ROUTE TO MARKET!!!!

Now I’m convinced – this feels spot on.  As I look at other HR licensed tools of course they’re doing the same thing.  I can’t be wrong –can I?

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

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Lindsay’s In Business: PART 57: PUSH!!

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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… 

Right COME ON YOU SALES!!

Great conversation with the new business development director (4 hours a week to the year-end). We’ve shaped up an intro story in slides that he likes and he’s now getting around to approaching his best contacts.

We discussed our concerns – and were fairly direct and confrontative at times – as we should be to really address the elephants in the room:

  • Why haven’t more people been approached by now?
  • Why is the emphasis almost entirely on me to bring in business?

It was a constructive, respectful exchange. We got on to squaring up a lead generation plan that looks like this:

  • New sales funnel – Take the Team Test – just launched.

Just so you know this is a free, automated tool that assesses team effectiveness.  The tool is based on research that learning behaviours in teams lead to better alignment – and that both determine team effectiveness.  The test helps people see where the gaps are, so they can be addressed. The Team Test report includes:

  • top 5 behavioural strengths and weaknesses
  • a breakdown of scores for each behaviour
  • a comparison of how each team member sees the team purpose
  • group perception on alignment, positivity, and preparedness
  • a guide on what to do about the results.

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Lindsay’s In Business: PART 56. Is history repeating itself? 

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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… 

Here’s how I see the journey has gone so far:

I launched a business selling a new approachto team communications / team effectiveness. The market is awash with stuff like this, but the process I have is, dare I say, revolutionary. It took a while to find a way to articulate and present the concept, and reactions in general have been positive. Within 14 months of trading, I got 3 great case studies and the process was all up and running.

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Lindsay’s In Business: PART 48: More epiphanies and hot developments 

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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’m just going to list all of the amazing developments that have happened in the past week – it seems like so much!!

A guy I used to work with – very senior, very credible, very well-connected and an EXCELLENT leader – has taken an interest in a role with Mirror Mirror. He loves the idea and wants to get involved in a start-up – I’m so flattered! We had a one-day workshop and talked through a load of stuff: he’ll get involved in providing advice, sales prep & activity, commercial housekeeping, and business development.  That’s so massive. He will change the game here. Our workshop was so inspiring and much of the list items below came out of the discussion I had with him.  Let’s call him my Director.

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Lindsay’s In Business: PART 47: Epiphany

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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…

In the last post I gave you a link to my first Mirror Mirror webinar.  Whether you watched it or not, I can tell you that it went well, I got a reasonably-sized audience, some compliments afterwards – and in it, I must have mentioned ‘alignment’ around 200 times.

In a blog a few weeks earlier, I talked about the mountain range. How just when you think you’ve reached the top to land something concrete, (like pricing, positioning, strategy) you see another range in sight – a better way forwards: things keep morphing and changing.  And that’s more than ok because at least you can see where you need to go next to suceed.

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Lindsay’s In Business: PART 45: Why

IMG_0051What 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…

Before I get on to WHY, (which is a question we all need to ask ourselves about what we do in business if we’ve ever watched Simon Sinek’s video on the topic) – I need to give you an update.

But to start with I need to share this. Yes it’s the first Mirror Mirror Webinar, hosted by the International Association of Business Communicators: 

Align Your Teams and Improve Business Results

22 May 2018 at 1 p.m. CET

Our next webinar guest speaker will be Lindsay Uittenbogaard who will be discussing team alignment and strategy implementation in the webinar Align your teams and improve business results.

People don’t achieve great results, teams do. But what gets in the way of great strategy implementation how people naturally see things differently, especially in complex work environments. Misunderstandings, assumptions, interpretations, information gaps, biases: unmanaged, these can lead to misalignment and conflicting decisions and actions, poor performance, frustration, and wasted time and money. All too often, teams can wallow around in a state of unnecessary misalignment that easily goes unnoticed and fail to take a step back to get a better shared current reality.

Register now for this free live event and you will learn:

  • About the latest research on team alignment and how it improves team performance
  • How to improve Team Alignment within your organization
  • How to fast track the journey to team alignment with the Mirror Mirror process.

Register for this webinar now!

 

By the way, for anyone coming into this blog afresh, here’s the helicopter summary (you can read about Mirror Mirror here):

  • May 2016 – fired, again – by an asshole boss. I’m done with employment.
  • June 2016 – looking for an exciting business idea with a lot of potential
  • August 2016 – early Mirror Mirror concept developed
  • November 2016 – basic process, reporting tool and communication materials developed
  • January 2017 – launch of Mirror Mirror in London
  • May 2017 – first interest from a friend of mine at Samsung
  • August 2017 – first trial delivered –excellent results
  • October 2017 – second trial delivered with a student project team– very good results
  • November 2017 – secure a student internship at the Technical University of Delft
  • February 2018 – Quickscan version of Mirror Mirror developed and tested with Aon, Rotterdam – great results

Between all of those milestones there has been a lot of activity with marketing, meetings and discovery; and lots of ups and downs adjusting expectations, reframing and adjusting. Every time I think things have landed with the positioning, the process, the materials – we see an enhancement to make.

I’ve been working full time and another 8 people are loosely involved in various parts on the side-lines. Cost cuts and creative financing has enabled me to continue trading on virtually no income for WAY longer than I ever thought possible. It seems ridiculous to think now that I initially gave myself 6 months from August 2016 to go into profitability.

What keeps me going is that every time the concept evolves to a new depth, when we get the amazing results that we get, when I look at how Mirror Mirror fits into the Future of Work and trends that show businesses will need to find ways to include the employee voice and ways to become more agile and more responsive, I become more motivated and excited by the potential.

Now trading for exactly 16 months, all of this hasn’t come without it’s huge moments of insecurity and self-doubt, but I can say the business is off the ground, just.

And now today’s update: Just over the past month, here are the main developments:

  • The sales pipeline has now 12 real possibilities (companies with whom I have an open / progressing conversation about Mirror Mirror. The time to convert these into sales is very long: months, so this is the result of more than a year’s worth of networking and selling.
  • Curiosity Amsterdam, the marketing company inccentivised to promote Mirror Mirror has sprung into action with a build of social media activity every week in the run up to the webinar.
  • I’ve recruited Edna Ayme-Yahil to the core Mirror Mirror team. Edna a wealth of commercial and communication experience and has agreed to come on board as Strategic Advisor and introduce me to her network. The first step of that involved a Pitch Upgrade. She introduced me to 5 experts in HR / Operations / Team Effectiveness who gave me feedback on my pitch. It has come on leaps and bounds with that level of input.
  • As a result, the USP of Mirror Mirror has chrystalised. Before, I could never make it tight enough but the pitch feedback taught me that it doesn’t need to be ‘tight’ – it just needs to be right. I’d had problems with it because I felt I had to pick the strongest of the various benefits and make it different – but the fact that it provides so many benefits and so well, is different in itself. Here it is:

Mirror Mirror is the quickest and most cost-efficient way of getting teams ready to transition, implement strategy, innovate, and improve performance. It provides multiple immediate and lasting benefits:

  • improves team engagement, alignment and effectiveness
  • creates a more open, respectful, and inclusive team culture
  • promotes team engagement and agility
  • generates useful feedback for relevant stakeholders

Better, right?

And finally, the why. Here’s my current ‘why’:

I want everyone at work to experience a better shared current reality, so they can be free of unnecessary frustration and confusion, feel good and do amazing things.

Mirror Mirror – the process that accelerates team alignment for improved performance and innovation. By enabling a better shared current reality between people with a shared goal, they make better, faster progress: www.mirrormirrorhub.com

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.comanja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

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