Tag Archives: MINDSET

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 74: A bit personal

 

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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…

This the back story, right?  What I write in these blogs isn’t what I share with my clients and potential clients. It’s not relevant to them, actually. Maybe the odd one or two might come across one of these blogs.  And that’s ok.  I’m ok with being open – as you might have gathered.

In fact, the core values of Mirror Mirror are respect, openness, inclusivity, empowerment, integrity and wellbeing.

While I’m at it, to refresh on the Mirror Mirror vision and mission:

Vision: Team alignment is widely used for organizational effectiveness and Mirror Mirror products lead the market.

Mission: We free people up from unnecessary cost and frustration at work by helping to close the alignment gaps that hold them back, so they can get on with doing great stuff together.

I get so motivated when I read that! I can feel the excitement in my stomach.  The Mirror Mirror methodology really delivers something fundamental and valuable.  Where is a team if it is not aligned, after all?

The size of this opportunity – to provide a structure so that people can get on top of this is where my motivation comes from.

Yesterday I ran my first Mirror Mirror training session in my kitchen , with 4 experienced people.  I’d given them pre-read materials via a free learning site to prepare with.  The objective was to have them able to explain and deliver Mirror Mirror independently. It was a good session. They all gave great feedback and talked about the clients they could introduce this to. Setting that up was a bit of a stress actually, but I got great guidance from Steve and Judy at Rees McCann– expert online facilitation and learning consultants. So pleased it worked out well.

But at the same time, I have that damned feeling of dread again.  We have 2 big contracts lined up for after the summer, but we don’t have any other clients firmly lined up. The pipeline looks ok but I’d like to see maybe 3 or 4 extra companies trying out Mirror Mirror this year.

We’re back to that quiet, arid, barren place, trying not to look needy.

Now, I left my last big corporate job, I was burned out.  I was teary, upset, I couldn’t sleep.  My doctor said it could be due to pre-menopausal symptoms. I went on the pill and that was 5 years ago. Then last month, I thought I’d try life without it.  I wanted to see where I was in the menopause.  I wanted to get rid of the headaches I get quite regularly that could have been caused by the pill.

Now, 5 weeks later I’m in regular hot sweats, I feel emotionally more vulnerable, and often wake up at 4.00am. It’s strangely debilitating and must be affecting my work.

I confess that I turned 50 recently – a number that I still find to be far too big (I feel about 32) – so the question is: do I brave it out, or go for hormone replacement therapy?

Then it struck me.  Maybe the feelings of dread I get – I got those more frequently in the early days of the business – are exacerbate these two pre-menopause symptoms: mood swings, anxiety.

I look back on those phases of dread, and I try to look objectively at the ‘dread’ I feel now, wondering why it was such a drama. Even if the feeling of dread is connected with a real reason to be afraid, if the course of action is not to run (to close the business now and find something else to do) but to deal with it, then I need to deal with it!

Moving the feeling of dread away isn’t burying my head in the sand and deluding myself it’s ok, it’s putting it into perspective and not letting it hamper me.

For me, the most difficult (and important) part of doing something big is self-management. It seems to have taken ages for me to learn these now obvious things:

  1. Take responsibility for yourself
  2. If you’re tired, get some rest – don’t be snappy or attribute any meaning to it until you’ve recharge
  3. Eating well boosts your energy and makes you feel like you want to eat well again
  4. Exercising boosts your physical and mental health if you regularly just do a little – like walking
  5. Putting things into perspective always helps everything
  6. Don’t criticise yourself too much, don’t be over-confident but find somewhere between the two
  7. Accept yourself as ok while still pushing yourself to go further and learning how to be different
  8. Accept other people as all being ok too – while not having to necessarily be in their lives – it’s about having respect for their validity
  9. Don’t feel obliged to do something that doesn’t serve you, unless it’s a choice you have made to help someone else
  10. Do your best to keep your good friends – forever.

Apparently, it takes a few months after coming off the pill for your hormones to return to where they were, naturally.  Wherever that is. So, I’m going to brave it out.  I’m not going to take any hormone pills and will just manage it.

For now, I’ll take tip number 6 from above, and put ‘dread’ back in its box.

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 73: Warmth

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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 am feeling a deep sense of warmth.  Like I know I’ve won a big prize, but it hasn’t been announced yet. Let me just revel in this, if you please. I deserve to bask in this warmth.

The warmth comes from knowing I have 2 big contracts coming up after the summer.

It comes from setting up a mini training with my best 15 potential delivery partners – to get them competent and comfortable with explaining and delivering Mirror Mirror to clients.

It comes having lined up 4 of those training sessions – 2.5 hours each;  2 x face to face in Den Haag and London and 2 x virtual – and everyone being keen to join.  It comes from having developed and uploaded 8 x pre-read documents and 5 x pre-watch mini videos to a learning site and getting great coaching and feedback on those from virtual learning consultants Judy and Steve McCann.

It comes from having yesterday seen the final set of reports that will be automatically produced on our new reporting system – and those reports looking great.

It comes from knowing that having spent carefully and wisely, I have funds to do what I need to do for the rest of the year.

And it comes from multiple seeds starting to sprout on business developments and other fronts too.

It seems as if every call / skype meeting / interaction that I’m having about Mirror Mirror is energised, positive, productive and in the flow.

I counted up the number of people now in the Mirror Mirror ‘ecosystem’ as suppliers, contributors or partners – across Product Development, Business Development, Delivery and Management.  They are 35 people I am working with, that I believe in, who are pushing forward with me to get this to fly.

I spoke to one of my ad-hoc advisors yesterday. An experienced ex-CEO with an outstanding track record of success.  I’m lucky to get his time. His advice at this point was indeed:

  • Push through. You know what you have to do and do it your way.  Trust your gut and make your own decisions (after consulting others where you need to, of course). Because if they’re not your decisions, it’s not your logic and you can’t really learn from what doesn’t go wrong.  You have enough experience. Find your leadership style and make it work.
  • Make sure you trust that the people around you can honour your expectations – and if they don’t, stop collaborating with them.
  • Be commercially savvy – .

My modus operandi so far has been to be so grateful for the inputs of anybody to helping develop this concept that the thought of rejecting anyone didn’t exist. But now it’s crunch time. I can’t fall back on that habit.  Every spend has to work for me.  Every delivery has to be excellent.  Every week of work has to move this forward.

But it’s ok.  I’m not tied into contracts I can’t get out of. I’ve spent a long time finding those 35 people.  But ensuring high-quality contributions is now on my radar.

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

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 72: General update

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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…

YESTERDAY: You know what?  Sometimes I think the western working world has turned into much more of a cut-throat, unethical, selfish place to operate than it was before.  People promising contracts to keep their options open. People – with whom you have invested in establishing good and respectful working relationships – just blanking you: not bothering to return calls or emails if they don’t need you.

Maybe it’s always been like that and I know it’s much worse in other places.  I say this because the oil and gas company that we spent 4 months and 3 proposals courting; the one that sent an email accepting the proposal and saying they’d just get the written formalities sorted out; the one that I’ve been telling everyone about and banking on the revenue of – is now not in communication.  We can’t reach them.  They haven’t cancelled – but will this evaporate?  What’s going on?!

Here’s the email we got from the BIG potential client 6 weeks ago:

Many thanks for our discussion today.

To confirm, it is our intention to proceed on the basis of the proposal (attached) and as such we will look to raise the Service Order next week for the initial amount in order to secure your services ahead of the kick-off meeting.

We will look to have the kick-off meeting soon (April/May) with the bulk of the work occurring in a few months time as more technical aspects of the project take shape.

I look forward to working together on this aspect of the project.

Best regards,

Nothing since and it’s now mid-May.  We think they could just be busy and will get back to us next week to set up the delivery time frame. I’m going to actually cry if it falls through.

Meantime, thankfully, this ‘gap’ has been overshadowed by enthusiasm from an even bigger opportunity.  It’s with a training company via Mr.P (I mentioned him a couple of blogs ago).  This is where Mirror Mirror turns into a team effectiveness TRAINING for teams.  The company has gazillions of contacts from past clients, which gives us a very high chance of an in.  We met yesterday and here’s the first sentence from a note we just received:

            “Great seeing you and Lindsay today and we are looking forward to working with you both in the future. We are happy with the revised offer so I think we can start to get the ball rolling.”

AND THAT’S WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR.  Just those one or two companies who will try it, run it, spread it, repeat it….   This is fantastic! I’m on the train back from London right now – along with my mini bottle of prosecco and salt and vinegar crisps – lovely – musing that even though this blog is humbly entitled ‘General Update’ – maybe we have cracked it!  Maybe that email is the break that will finally get the ball rolling. We have agreement on commercial terms and everything is good to go.  Maybe we’ve silently sailed into a new sea.

I also met with a guy yesterday who works a lot with start-ups and Private Equity companies.  It was all a bit speculative – the appointment time changed 3 times during the course of the day, so I’ve been scrambling a lot.  But he likes the product.

He gets that teams in post-M&A environments could use it and explained to me that Private Equity companies buy businesses, turn them around in 3 years and sell them.  They need great team integration.  This could be a way in to that market because I hear that once M&A contracts are signed, there’s very often no budget to run team optimisation exercises.  Seems crazy – seeing as presumably, those involved would want to ensure the M&A works,  but apparently not.   Back to that cut-throat, selfish culture I described: people want to make their cash and don’t give a shit about the bigger picture. No wonder the banking crash in 2008 happened.

Anyway – this guy is super-well connected and so I won’t get too hopeful but it does look good.  There are individual angels out there who fly down occasionally and help when it’s needed 😊

I have several other companies interested / proposals in hand so it feels good. Meantime I plan to train 5 – 10 of my potential delivery partners in June and July up so they can feel comfortable delivering or talking about Mirror Mirror.

The reporting tool is coming on well.  I’m going to be so pleased when we’re happy and fluent with that – should be finished around June or July.

Looks like we’ll be raring to go in August / September.  Lots of reasons to keep the faith!

And I’m still focused on getting the nuances right:

Before: ‘get Mirror Mirror established as an agile intervention’

After: Get Mirror Mirror established alongside agile interventions – subtle but crucial difference

Before: lots of potential markets – scattergun approach

After: M&A as THE area to focus on proactively and find a way in, via

  • internal buyers
  • acquisition support consultancies
  • private equity companies

And another realisation.  I have some money in the bank.  Now is the time to use that to grow the business!  I decided to spend it on a few hours of professional market research (via Upwork) so that I can fast track to talk to the right people in my target M&A market.  Right?! No point in wasting time and having 250 Euro sitting in the bank when it could be working for me.

TODAY – email from the BIG potential client:

Hi all,

 Apologies for not being in contact recently.

 This is due to workload – we have had a number of organizations through our pre-qualification tendering process and we are now in the process of having our strategy, tendering process and other internal alignment signed off.

 We go out for full tender on 12th.  Ot is hard to get a minute sometimes.

 The good news is that the need for the work with you has be reaffirmed each time we meet internally and with the supply chain.

 Hopefully I will be able to get back to you properly in a few weeks.

 My apologies again.

Wow. What a rollercoaster. I’m so grateful! It’s been nearly 3 years and I feel like we’re out of getting this off the ground and now in a new phase – stablise and scale up.

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

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 71: Devil’s in the detail

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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 getting on with everything after having had a couple of weeks off. Nothing big to tell you, except about nuance and how important details are in getting things right.

For example, apparently there’s a 33% higher response rate to a more personalised communicationsthan generalised communications.  It takes a little more time to customise, but it’s detail well worth paying attention to.

Here are a more on those lines I’ve found:

The devil is in the detail with …. social media

Social media experts will tell anyone that investing in social is a great idea.  But there’s a payback scale to watch out for before you spend time or money:

  • Level 1 –how much people know the concept – WHAT you are selling (such as socks, widgets)
  • Level 2 – how much people have seen the brand you are putting to that product or service
  • Level 3 – how many touch points people have had with your brand and product or service, and the quality of those (such as heard a presentation, read an article, experienced the product).

The lower you are on that scale, the less effective social media marketing will be – because the extent to which people can relate to your offer determines their likelihood to react.

MBTI is a very well known, widely implemented psychometric tool. Social media promotions will probably get a return on investment.

Mirror Mirror however, is actually selling something people don’t know they need, the brand is not at all known, and people are very unlikely to have experienced its story, philosophy or process.

Everyone needs a digital footprint, however.  That’s why I’ve decided to go for a marketing plan with 95% relationship building and 5% online PR.

Now I can focus better.

The devil is in the detail with …. data reporting

Now that we’re more than half way through building up our new reporting tool based on Tableau, I can see our draft report formats in a new light.

The way that lines are shaded, that blocks are coloured, that space is made on a page of data is absolutely critical, let alone bringing the numbers together in a way that tells an insightful and compelling story.

The devil is in the detail with …. almost everything, it seems… Gone are the days of flippant, adrenaline-fuelled, gut instinct.  Boring, but better, I guess 😊

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

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 68: Why agile rocks!

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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 sitting at gate 38 at Bangalore airport, waiting for my flight home and it’s 00.32 local time.  I can feel myself getting a tad irritable. It started with the slow-moving queues at the check-in desk.  But I suspect it’s more because I had 2 glasses of prosecco 4 hours ago, I didn’t sleep well last night, and had to get up at the equivalent of 3.00am this morning.

I’m also noticing a stronger feeling that is overtaking this mild irritation. It’s a quiet but deep kind of excitement.  In just 1.5 days at the Agile India conference in Bangalore, I made some great connections: people who might be interested in adding Mirror Mirror to their training portfolio, people who might be interested in buying Mirror Mirror for their teams, people who might be interested in running an interview about Mirror Mirror, and a whole bunch of really friendly, open, non-judgemental new contacts.

My 90-minute talk went well this morning.  Even though it’s difficult to read the local audience, there was a lot participation in in the interactive sections, there were good questions afterwards and I ended up on the Best Rated Speakers list (at least for now).

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Lindsay’s In Business: PART 66: Targeting evolution

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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 seems like we’ve been going around and around on this since we started.

Correction. We havebeen going around and around on this since we started.

TARGETING.

Here’s a bit of pre-amble before I get on to this topic about a development from last month.

I’m happily partnered with an oil and gas consultancy based in London who see that great projects need effective people.  They are happy to explore diversification into this area with Mirror Mirror.  It’s so nice to have that collaboration going on. It’s like dating for ages after being single!

Anyway, we’re now talking to a couple of big companies, connecting Mirror Mirror to their business needs (and budgets), namely Quality and HSE.  Both are a priority, and both relate to communication, behaviours and shared cognition.

Specifically, on Quality, ISO 9001is a standard that certifies companies for quality. The latest update includes these components:

 “Improve Engagement of PeopleThe new standard clearly states the need for all people to be competent, empowered, and engaged in delivering value. Organizations are expected to enhance employee communication, provide better clarity on job expectations, find ways to motivate employees to contribute to organizational success, capture regular feedback, and facilitate a dialog with supervisors to help employees achieve their growth plan.”

Enhance Leadership Involvement: Unlike the earlier ISO 9001 standard, the revised version emphasizes leadership involvement in quality management. The leadership team is expected to be highly committed to strengthening the outcome of the quality management program. They need to ensure that every business unit within the organization understands and accepts the changes brought about by the new standard to ensure a unified commitment to quality.”

Mirror Mirror fits completely – what a great angle! If we win some work there, we can start talking to other people in Quality – and they would be our targets. And we are only able to think along these lines now that we have real conversations with potential clients happening around them.

Now back to targeting.

A contact of mine once said that targeting is like folding a sheet of A4 paper. Write out who you think your product / service is aimed at, starting with the whole world.  Fold the paper in half.  Write out the sentence again but be more specific.  Fold again.  Repeat until the paper is tiny.

The theory is that if you have razor sharp targeting, your can direct your marketing activities there and will be more likely to get a response.

This is how my first attempt looked about a year ago:

1.     The whole world
2.     Teams in organizations
3.     Who want to improve performance / implementation
4.     And are forward thinking / open to new ideas
5.     And going through change
6.     Who speak English as a working language
7.     And are based in Western Europe
8.     And want more help with the people side

 

My contact told me that was still WAY too general.  I can see that now.  That’s a very big target group.  But I was stuck.  And I felt bad about that, because if he’s right, my inability to target was blocking the progress of my precious business.

A stubborn question kept me from moving forward: how do you hone a target for your sales efforts when your means to new business only comes from networking, which in itself is quite random?

And then I met Patricia.  A marketing freelancer, who within one hour taught me that HOW you market is the difference between success and failure.  She said if you market on a relationship-led basis, you can’t help but target because there are only so many relationships you can develop at once.

I explained my activities: I was networking, doing social media work, some conferences and articles.  “Yes”, she said. “I’m sure that’s right, but let’s look at HOW you are doing that.”

On a small budget, online networking – from a relationship development perspective – would look like inviting 1-1 connections on LinkedIn.  Perhaps contacting them once a week, with very short notes, links to things they might find interesting.  Not selling, just being kind. And then eventually asking if they’d like to meet.

And the next area – social media work.  Yes great.  But, as Patricia explained, let’s look at HOW I’m using these. Twitter isn’t what it was 5 years ago. It’s not so effective. LinkedIn is my channel.

Write articles, post, recycle, share the links with those NEW relationships that I’m building.  Get profile at conferences that link up. Test different content, see what gets the most clicks.

Towards the end, Patricia commented that it was good to meet with me in person because then she can understand how I think.  She said I’m a structured person.

Very structured. I know this.

So structured in fact, that I have been operating like a robot. Lists, tick, efficiency, straight to the point – WHERE WAS THE ADAPTABILITY, WHERE WAS THE SENSITIVITY AND THE SOCIAL MATURITY???!  I could kick myself.  Honestly. At this age, I should know better.

I’d need to use my judgement to gauge reactions and determine which people and situations are most receptive to Mirror Mirror.  And herein lies the problem. This for me is very difficult. I totally trust my experience and intuition that anyone in a complex situation can benefit from Mirror Mirror – if they’re open to it.  Seeing that that individual people who don’t recognise the need could represent the reaction of whole market areas, doesn’t make sense to me. Whether you see the need for Mirror Mirror or not is an emotional rather than a factual response.  It’s about them, not the whole market, surely.

But not everyone is a completely independent, challenging thinker like me. As Patricia explained, there are trends, people / roles / industries / cultures that will be more receptive to Mirror Mirror than others.  No matter how ambiguous that might seem, you need to spot the trends and hone-in on the most likely buyers.

So again, who is my target?

We already know that the business is coming to the point where we have identified certain business objectives (and budgets) that give us a ‘hook’ and a need. These are HSE, quality, the agile mindset, strategic communications, and performance in general.

Patricia brought up the situation of the new manager. Wouldn’t this be a great way to onboard?  OK so we added onboarding to the list.

“Who do you want to work for?” she asked.

Reluctantly, I became specific by saying “Large organizations, because that’s where the budgets are.”

“OK”, she said. “And if you went into an organization like that to do one team, which of your business objectives fits the best?  You have to go in step by step to build trust.”

Admittedly, going in to approach strategic communication with Mirror Mirror is more of an end-game because it would be so disruptive.  We’d have to build up to that point over years.  So that was out.  And the generic ‘performance’ piece is too broad.  So even though those two business cases were the basis on which Mirror Mirror was designed, we are left with HSE, quality, agile and onboarding. And the managers / leaders of those, who would be the buyers.

Immediately my targeting becomes clearer.  I don’t need to be so precious.

1.     The whole world
2.     Leaders and managers of teams
3.     In large organizations
4.     Based in English speaking Western Europe
5.     Who want to achieve better safety / quality / agility / onboarding
6.     And are forward thinking / open to new ideas
7.     And are under pressure to get better results
8.     And interested in developing relationships with external suppliers.

I will design a structured  – and socially sensitive plan – to test that target group and hopefully get sales in the process. Even if sales is 25% about targeting, 25% about story / pitch, 25% about credibility, and 25% about timing, every detail counts.

Mirror Mirror – … because a collective focus, with each team at the centre, drives 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 61: All things to all people – stupid me 

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 back in London and sitting in a café bar with my Business Development Director. We’re soon to meet a well-connected, very insightful contact he’s set up for me. We talk for the first time about the misalignment bonanza between us over the past months.

I realise now that he had held back from opening up his network to Mirror Mirror because the proposition just isn’t right.  It’s not something he feels he can sell. I don’t know how far that was conscious or unconscious, but while I’d been super task and delivery focused with the plan to revamp and sell sell sell, he’d been more people and impact focused. I’d lost trust with him way too quickly and he’d lost the communication with me way too quickly.

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