Tag Archives: Work

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

IMG_0055What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

I feel enlightened. I feel foolish. I feel grateful.  I feel stubborn.

It’s been three years since I started pioneering Mirror Mirror. If you’ve been following this blog and have felt the cloud of failure looming over my head, I don’t blame you. But I do not see it myself.

Earlier this year, one person – a senior consultant connected in with the pharmaceuticals industry – asked if we were ready to run Mirror Mirror with multiple teams, dozens of teams, simultaneously. I said yes, knowing we would really have to scramble if that was the case.

If such an opportunity came up, our delivery would need to be at the highest level of quality to gain client endorsement, so I made a big decision.  I decided to invest in a professional level software upgrade that I’d been holding off for some time because of the cost.

Chicken and egg.  You can’t deliver until you have the right capability, yet you don’t want to invest in developing capability unless you have the demand.

Continue reading

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Self-Esteem, Self-Image, and Projection

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By: Angie Falls

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

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

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

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

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

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 76. Mindfulness

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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 just read a book by Deborah Rowland called ‘Still Moving’.  In essence, she advises leaders on how to use mindfulness to optimise their impact.  By being still on the inside, having that calm, that distance, you can better listen to others, tune in to ‘what is’ more objectively, understand how you are reacting to that, and see ways to guide others forward more clearly.

Mindfulness is edging into mainstream thinking in the workplace and it resonates strongly with Mirror Mirror because we help people align on ‘what is’.  I was introduced to Deborah by a mutual contact and found that we some connections in common.

Mindfulness speaks about a universal energy.  About connecting more strongly with that.  In trying to understand this, I can see that we are all acting and reacting to each other and to the environment around us in the physical world. Signals from ourselves, from other people, from the weather, from plants and animals: everything is indeed connected in a whole system.

Deborah Rowland talks about the intentionality of that energy.  I’m trying to appreciate that.  By intentionality, she could mean direction.  And here we go DEEP…

Ultimately, if you believe that the universe, over billions and trillions of years, is in a cycle of exploding and imploding, then everything is in a state of ongoing change and renewal.  This is a direction of the wider system we live in.  There’s a life energy that we are moving within our own ways.  This energy is the meta-level, driving our motivations and our own connected energy.  It’s just happening all the time around us.  This could be what she means by wider intentionality.

Back to us individuals: if we can be still inside, if we can better sense what is happening around us, then we can align with that energy.

Your influence starts with the impact you can have on your own experience, then the impact you have on experiences of those you are in contact with, and then you can impact physical things like materials, items, buildings, terrain, as well as emotional, maybe spiritual things around that energy.  Your influence can extend to the impact you have on the world and the universe in a tiny, tiny way.

When you align with this wider energy, you find more synergy, more possibilities, more traction.  Even if you can’t see it or feel it, you’re going with a bigger flow and tapping into the way that travels, rather than battling it out on your own.

I think that’s how I would explain it.  At least it makes sense to me like this.

I managed to get on to a call with Deborah and we had a wonderful conversation about the inevitability of empowering leadership (or enabling / servant leadership as it’s otherwise known).  I’m sure we can refer clients to each other in the future.

Still moving.  Learning how to live with 2 perspectives: having distance and being ‘in it’ at the same time. I personally find myself operating in my own energy and would like to sense the around me better.  My days now start with a 10 minute meditation.

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 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

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

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