Tag Archives: professional development

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 75: Plugging In

business freelancer start new year

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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


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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How do you know when you need a coach?

There’s a fine line between ‘I’m not having a good day, I’ll be ok tomorrow’ and ‘I don’t think I can meet my goals without expert guidance’. Knowing at what point to seek professional support through the help of a coach is crucial.

Coaching is for those who recognise they have wandered off their path and need to realign themselves again – be it in business, life or relationships. It is not counselling, mentoring, therapy or training. What a coach does is listen to your aspirations and goals, recognise the obstacles that are standing in your way, and provide actionable solutions to enable you to fulfil your ambitions in a measurable, simple and successful way.

Seeking a coach demonstrates that you wish to improve and that you recognise that you need an expert to guide you. Every great sports person has a coach to thank for pushing them, motivating them, encouraging them and supporting them in their journey…life and business coaches do exactly that too.

So how do you know when you need a coach?

According to Alexis Meads, there are ten tell-tale signs that you need a coach in your life.

1. Your friends and family are tired of listening to you

It’s wonderful to have a support network around you, but don’t exhaust your friend’s kindness by going over the same thing every time you meet them. A coach is a professional listener who isn’t worried about telling you how it is – but not only will they listen, they will also give you a concrete plan to follow in order to overcome the struggles you are facing.

2. You over-analyze everything

There is such a thing as over-thinking things and if your mind is full of questions and no answers then it’s time to seek professional help from someone that can untangle the tangled knot of questions inside your mind.

3. Your relationship problems are making you ill

Mental strain has a physical affect on the body. If you aren’t happy with your relationship then you need to find a way to handle that – and ignoring it or repeating the same mistakes won’t help. Through the help of a coach you can find clarity and confidence again.

4. You’re not happy with your weight

Health and life coaches can advise on weight loss, fitness, nutrition and exercise plans but most of all they can give you the motivation you need to stick to your plan and reach your goals. Everyone knows that having someone by your side when trying to get fit is easier than going at it alone!

5. You’ve lost your identity

Whether you’ve recently moved abroad, had children, changed as you’ve got older or inexplicably lost confidence – coaching can help you feel like the old you again. Or alternatively, help you reinvent a new happier and more positive you.

6. You have Imposter Syndrome

On the outside you’re rocking it, but on the inside you’re crippled with self doubt, insecurity, worry and anxiety. A good coach can alleviate that stress and empower you with the skills to feel just as good on the inside as people believe you are on the outside.

7. You’re not at the point in your career you thought you would be

It’s nobody’s fault but yours, but you don’t know where you’re going wrong. Do you lack confidence to seek alternative employment? Or do you need to improve on your leadership skills and communication techniques? Our coaches will recognise the obstacles standing in the way of your success and give you the tools to ensure that you reach your career goals.

8. You’re stuck

Your life is in a rut. You’re bored. You’re wondering if there’s anything else out there for you or if this monotonous treadmill you call life is as good as it gets. Don’t worry, it can always get better, you just need a push in the right direction by a life coach that will understand your concerns and show you the light.

9. You have no social life

It’s not just the work and family life balance that a coach can help you wish, they can also assist with helping you find the all important ‘me’ time. Hobbies, mindfulness, interests and fun are just as important as family and earning a wage.

10. You worry about what others think

This is all too common in an age of over-sharing, but this form of thinking can be paralysing and in the long term affect all areas of your life. In order to reach your goals you need to be confident, fearless and positive. Coaching can help you value your self worth while providing ways for you to protect yourself from the opinions of others.

So if any of these points sound like you then you may benefit from coaching. Coaching is not a last resort, far from it. Coaching is a way of reigniting that internal spark that makes you want to be a better you. So get over your first obstacle and get in touch – we may just change your life.


Visit Koach.net to discover how our coaches can help you find clarity at work and at home, and can lead you to a more successful and fulfilled you.

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

Having a manager but still unmanaged


By: Angie Falls

In my view, managers are facilitators of their team members’ success. They ensure that their team members have everything they need to be productive and successful; that they’re well trained, happy and have minimal roadblocks in their path; that they’re being groomed for the next level; that they are recognized for great performance and coached through their challenges.

It has been now 6 years that I am at an organization where I have performed in a team with 2 different managers.

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Reflecting on Career and Professional Development

stairs of knowledgeBy: Angie Falls

I think about a famous lesson from Confucius around 450 B.C. that illustrates the importance of active engagement and real-time experiences in learning:


By reflecting on the actions, I took at work and the concrete experiences I had has taught me to recognize that the experiences have shaped a new way of thinking for me.

Communication is one of the most important professional skills that I could develop. I use action-oriented and positive words whenever communicating.

By describing how I perform my work, including skills and tools I use to manage my work tasks give me a clear picture of the past. The learning objectives that I established can highlight the skills that I have developed. I used the PAR strategy to have a clear method to document my accomplishments.

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