Tag Archives: transparency

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

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Lindsay’s In Business: PART 62: Momentum and Learning

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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…

The Netherlands

On Friday 14 December, we discovered that some reports we had produced for an EU organization in Berlin were incorrect.  The reports were out of our normal scope, and created at the client’s request, for 15 managers based on ratings given to these four statements by people in their teams:

  • My manager sets clear goals and objectives
  • My manager is available to help with problems
  • My manager initiates discussions on progress
  • My manager provides feedback and direction as needed

This is part of a section of our work that looks at factors of team effectiveness that are mainly outside of the control of the team members themselves.

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Lindsay’s In Business: PART 60: 2019 Anchors 

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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…

So now I’m delivering Mirror Mirror for 22 teams within the next 4 weeks.  Fair enough it’s only 2 clients who are coincidentally running multiteam workshops, but there are other likely clients in the pipeline and I feel like I’m in an ENTIRELY different world.

My brain is full of learnings, planning, and preparations for clients.  I’m drawing on my extended freelance team to customize questions and design new reports. I’m orchestrating a chain of actions and briefings that will guide each team through the Mirror Mirror process in a way that makes the most sense and adds the most value.

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Lindsay’s In Business: PART 52:  OMG – a competitor

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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…

The business renovation is going great.  I’ve found someone to draft client terms and conditions, and two practicing lawyers to review them.  Actually, I’m on the train to Amsterdam right now (on one of the Netherland’s hottest days yet) to brief the second lawyer. I hope she might be our (informal) legal counsel going forwards.

By the way, I don’t expect ever to take anyone to court about this business – after all the IP, as I gather, is only worth its value to our clients.  It could be reproduced without much hope of any successful legal action, even if we did know it was happening.  And I don’t see any clear liabilities arising from alignment work. But terms and conditions can at least set the tone, set expectations, and set clear boundaries with potential clients and partners.

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Lindsay’s In Business: PART 50: All change

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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…

Just on my way back from a one week trip to London – wow. It seems like everything is changing so fast!

Great response from a conference on Monday and Tuesday.  Wednesday morning’s intro meeting with a Strategy Implementation consultancy was very positive.  My new Director was able to join – I think it really gave him some confidence. The next steps agreed were:

  • let’s run a Quick Scan with his team
  • let’s produce a one-pager to share with a current client.

On Thursday, the leader of the conference I’d attended on Monday (who also runs a consultancy) got in contact to say he’d approached one of his clients who is potentially interested in running Mirror Mirror across multiple teams.

Both consultancies were talking about delivering the whole customer facing process themselves. This means we would effectively then just ‘license’ the use of Mirror Mirror. Taking on that business model – to sell licenses and mainly, or fully, work with consultancies to deliver – has a number of refreshing advantages. It isn’t a million miles from the way we’d been thinking before, but if we move away from being consultants ourselves and can scale up that way, it makes our job much more focused, lean, and simple.

Then to top it all off, Friday, a Head of Comms in an international European organization sent me a meeting request.  That wasn’t unexpected, but it felt new.  Normally I’m the one doing the polite chasing – but here we are – I’m being chased! It felt like we were on a whole new flow.

But back to the license-sales model.  Thinking more on that, immediately, 2 new priorities go straight to the top:

  1. We need to train the trainer – to get that design and content ready – not too difficult.
  2. We need to upgrade our software – the black box that could now be our main revenue stream – needs to upgrade. That’s a major cost and I’ve got some ideas about the funding for that.

Now, instead of losing sleep because I’m worried about the future of the business, I’m losing sleep because my mind is whirring with excitement about the future of the business!

And new challenges come up with every new era. With two new team members joining, how to strike a deal with them that balances an offer of ownership / revenue shares with what they will provide in return, and that is also fair to the two of us who have already been working at this for 2 years. Tricky stuff.  The answer isn’t obvious and I discuss it 1-1 with each team member.

With the new wave of confidence being generated by all of this good news, I pick up hints of guardedness among what the other three may be ok with in a new configuration of arrangements that I haven’t felt before in the business. I realise that I’m feeling nervous about handling this issue properly. I’m not great with interpersonal conflict and fear this topic may jeopardise the goodwill and harmony we need to move forward as a team of four.

But I have to pick myself up and get out of fear-mode. I can’t solve this immediately and there must be a good solution at hand.  Relax – this is inevitable.  My goal is to be transparent with all four of us so that we understand and are happy with the various arrangements among us. The skill now is to mediate towards that understanding and come up with something that has been properly thought through instead of acting impulsively.

Then it crosses my mind that maybe I am being completely naïve – maybe it won’t be possible to find a win-win for all.  Was transparency a mistake here? I hadn’t even considered NOT being transparent because the values of the business are grounded in openness, respect, and inclusivity.

But I’ll press on with finding a solution that fits. I don’t want to lose anyone and I want those values to be real.

 

Mirror Mirroris a proprietary organizational effectiveness process. It is the quickest and most cost-efficient way to accelerate shared understanding and ownership within teams as a means of improving strategy implementation.

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

Why Your Inner Critic Is Your Worst Enemy – And What To Do About It

IMG_0035by: Bevan Rees, Koach.net

Why Your Inner Critic Is Your Worst Enemy – And What To Do About It
A long time ago, when most of our species were living in caves, survival was generally more difficult than it is today. So, responding to the almost constant threat of death at the teeth of wild animals, the human brain made some intelligent adjustments. It began to prioritise negative judgements, because they kept us alive longer. Let’s imagine, for example, that your troglodyte ancestor stepped out of the cave one morning to stretch his legs, and saw a brown shape behind a nearby bush. If he thought that the shape was a rock, but it turned out to be a sabre-toothed tiger, it would likely be the last mistake he ever made. But, if he thought the shape was a tiger and it turned out to be a rock, he might be a bit embarrassed, but he could make the same mistake a hundred times and not suffer any major consequences. Which is why humans developed the negativity bias: the brain’s tendency to react more strongly to negative stimuli, or even the expectation of negative stimuli. It’s why the amygdala – the part of the brain responsible for managing the fight-or-flight response – dedicates two thirds of its neurons to negative experiences. And it accounts for why we are so adept at fearing the worst, despite the lack of concrete evidence for doing so. In Mark Twain’s words, ‘I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.’
For millennia, this programming did an amazing job of preserving human life, but as civilized life has become safer and more predictable, it is no longer as necessary. Yet, the negativity bias prevails, as does the voice of the negativity bias: the inner critic. The inner critic’s job is to talk you out of risk and threat, even if that threat is only failure or embarrassment rather than death. We all know it because we all have one. It’s the voice that tells you that you’re crazy to apply for that new job post, or start a new business, or move to a new country. It’s the voice that tells you that you’re not intelligent enough, qualified enough or brave enough. And it’s powerful. As Ilene Gregorian, mindfulness trainer for US Special Forces, says, ‘You can take yourself down with your thoughts faster than any enemy can.’
Overcoming the inner critic and its seeds of self-doubt is one of the biggest challenges on the path to self-development, and one of the earliest you’ll encounter. Though it can be subtle, it usually kicks in as soon as you try to shift from the status quo and is a big contributor to a resistance to change. Many strategies for dealing with it are combative and rely on willpower to defeat the repetitive self-assassination (ignore that voice in your head!). But this is often a superficial approach that fails to address the underlying causes, because even though we all have an inner critic, the degree to which it affects our lives varies from person to person, and time to time. It peaks when we are feeling unconfident and is quietest when we feel success, and is a function of the unique psycho-emotional matrix of every individual. So, what can be done about it? Here are 3 suggestions:

Meditate
Yes, you’ve heard this one before, because everyone seems to be punting the virtues of meditation. And that’s because it works. The more research is done on meditation – especially mindfulness-based meditation – the more evidence there is for its multitudinous benefits. Among them is a deeper familiarity with the habitual processes of the mind. Through even 10 minutes of consistent daily mindfulness practice, you will become acquainted with the seemingly endless internal chatter that fills your mind, as well as the quiet space that holds it. You will be able to identify the voice of the inner critic and view it as an object of your awareness, allowing you to see it for what it is: a limited survival guide trying to keep you safe, rather than a speaker of the truth. Creating this distance and perspective during meditation grants progressively stronger ability to do the same in the normal run of your day, allowing you to make more intelligent choices. To get started in meditation, join the worldwide community, download the free app and use the guided meditations at Insight Timer, or sign up for Headspace’s fantastically accessible meditation program.

Ask for help
One of the problems with the inner critic is that it is so difficult to catch in action. It could be the primary reason you are blocked in trying to transform a particular aspect of your life, but you might not be aware of it. A conversation across the kitchen table with a friend or partner could make you feel better and see the way you’ve been sabotaging yourself, but if you’re feeling genuinely stuck you might need to enlist some professional help. This is the service provided by most coaches and mentors, though for stalled growth due to longstanding psychological difficulties it is advisable to see a therapist too. Overcoming your own internal monologue requires insight and awareness, as well as action-oriented plans and practices – coaching can help with both.

Be compassionate
When things are challenging and stress is high, our inner critic is usually in full flow, making it very clear why the world is bad and everything is going to go wrong. At such times, compassion may seem like a strange attitude to prescribe, but it is the antidote to an over-activated negativity bias. The 2016 State of The Heart Report – a global EQ study of 100,000 people in 126 countries in different professional sectors, revealed that emotional intelligence, empathy and compassion are on the decline. A significant factor in these findings is the global rise in stress levels. It makes intuitive sense that the more stressed we are, the less compassionate we are. But this relationship also works in reverse: the more compassionate we are, the less stressed and anxious we feel. Compassion, particularly self-compassion, can be trained, and allows us to integrate anxiety or stress while remaining more open to new experience. In practical terms, this means acknowledging the inner critic and accepting it, while still being positively engaged in your life. As a start, use Dr Kristin Neff’s 5-minute self-compassion break to connect with this powerful approach.

 

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

Suggestions for managing and resolving conflict:

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

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

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

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