Tag Archives: working life

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 77 It’s basically about TRUST

d46e4803-6844-40fd-bc36-d25b3a92f915What 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…

Business has stalled for a month.  It’s mid-summer and there’s no activity.  My pipeline , everything is frozen in time while outside it’s a heatwave.

We went on a European road trip for 3 weeks covering 10 countries – it was amazing, hectic and hard work.  Sounds like business!

While I was away, I read Stephen MR Covey’s book, The Speed of Trust.  It inspired me to share. A summary of what he says is this…

There are 4 core aspects of trust that build credibility: Integrity and Intent (character), Capability and Results (competence).   All of these are needed to establish trust. For example, you can trust your friend but wouldn’t to go to them to get your teeth fixed unless they were a qualified dentist.

Building trust starts with inspiring trust in self through behaviours, such as: talk straight, demonstrate respect, clarify expectations, show loyalty, and confront reality.  Through reciprocation of these behaviours, trust can be created between people.

Organizations need another dimension to build trust, which centres around the ‘principle of alignment’ at the design level: “Just as the tax created by low trust is real, measurable, and extremely high, so the dividends of high trust are also real, quantifiable, and incredibly high.”

The stories that Covey tells about how these behaviours work in practice orientate around congruent communications and systems that lead to rich, expedient, productive actions.

These tables say it all…

What does it look like in an organization when there is no trust?

Organization level Interpersonal level
Micromanagement Hostile behaviours and confrontations
Sabotage, grievances, lawsuits Labelling of others as enemies or allies
Punishing systems and hierarchy Communications coloured by fear, uncertainty, doubt and worry
Unhappy employees and stakeholders Real issues not surfaced or dealt with effectively
Time wasted defending positions and decisions Energy draining, joyless interactions
Bureaucracy, redundancy and misalignment in systems and structures Evidence-gathering of other party’s weaknesses and mistakes
Hidden agendas Guarded / grudging dispensing of information
Slow approvals / lack of overall agility Regular misunderstandings

 

What does it look like in an organization when there is trust?

Organization level Interpersonal level
Aligned systems and structures Positive energy
Good communication Inspiring work characterised by purpose, creativity and excitement
A focus on work and results Open, transparent relationships
Positive partnership relationships Cooperative, close, vibrant relationships
Helpful systems and structures Cordial, healthy communications
Strong creativity and innovation Focus on smooth and efficient collaboration
Engagement, confidence, loyalty Mutual tolerance and acceptance
Healthy workplace Mistakes seen as learning opportunities

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 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 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 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 70: We have lift off

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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…

What a high – I feel as if we’re lifting off!  A big part of the boost is working as an associate of this consultancy in London with my mate Mr. P.  He’s just GREAT.

Meeting in London last Tuesday.  Insurance company.  Our contact there is a personal friend of Mr. P.  Within an hour, the guy is sold and wants to send our pitch up to his HR Director. Apparently, the timing is perfect, the company motto is ‘People First’, and they’re going through lots of changes that need some kind of support. It fits.  I’m heartened.

We walk down the road to a café.  Mr. P gets a sandwich. I grab some soup.

Next up is a well-established training company.  Again, our guy there is a personal contact of Mr. P.  Within an hour, him and the Director of Learning he brought along to the meeting with him are sold.  Apparently, the timing is perfect because they recently launched a ‘team productivity’ training programme and it flopped. They need something in its place right now.  Mirror Mirror slots straight in.  I never thought of it as a training programme before, but people going through Mirror Mirror learn how to be more effective together.  Wow.  Next steps, I write the training materials, Mr. P organizes the contract.  It fits. Again. I’m ecstatic.

Mr. P goes back to his office.

And to finish the afternoon, is an appointment I’d set up for myself. They’re a huge start-up out of San Francisco who basically run an app that delivers targeted content to employees and gathers employee feedback data.  I’m thinking they could do with something extra that adds 5 levels of sophistication to this transactional feedback loop, right?

The European Manager took an interest.  Could lead somewhere…  somewhere big.

I did get a bit neurotic about that appointment a few days in advance, to be honest.  It is the kind of situation where they could buy a ditty-bitty like Mirror Mirror up, if they liked it.

What scared me is that I could feel in my heart of hearts that I’d have to accept if the offer was half-decent.  Why? Because as much as I love Mirror Mirror, I’ve had three years of scrabbling around trying to sell it with NO funding, NO organized marketing, NO pre-established brand or credibility, and NO big product all figured out, like the guy from the San Francisco app had when he started selling his app in Europe.

But it’s amazing how two good sales meetings can turn one’s confidence.  Now I’m all cool.  I’m just fine as I am. I’d have to think about an offer.

Now, if this training company and their endless contact list gets going, I need to prepare myself:

  • To turn my little one-man-band into an established, incorporated company
  • Completion of our Tableau-based reporting tool
  • Some trained delivery agents
  • A pretty good administration system to make sure all the contracts and invoices are properly processed.

And that’s what I’m going to spend the summer on. People are starting to buy. WOW!!!!!!!!

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 65: Getting the whole experience right

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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…

There’s one café in the town I live in that is just packed.  Several other café’s in the same street look embarrassed being so empty in comparison. It’s called Kek and I usually avoid it because I don’t like busy places. But last week, a friend texted me to suggest we meet up there and it was too late to try changing venues by the time I got the message.

She was already there when I arrived, and it looked like the chair opposite her was the last one available in the whole cafe.  It was bustling and I tried not to bristle with hostility for the lack of space.

Over the following half-hour I didn’t realise how much the experience there had seduced me: it was such a subtle transition. The service was impeccable, the delivery was prompt, the coffee was presented with care and tasted great, the ambiance was warm and relaxing, the décor was fascinatingly homely – with that kind of bohemian, natural mix-and-match look, without looking overdone or pretentious. The music was funky and not too loud.

There’s actually a sign they have to use at the front door informing people how to queue without getting in the way of the cyclists outside – it’s that popular.

They’ve got it ALL RIGHT.  All of it. Every aspect. It’s an inspiration.  And that’s where I’m going with Mirror Mirror now.

I delivered a workshop for a small consultancy in London last week.  I know one of the guys there – he’s fantastic – very professional (another inspiration) and he’s helped get me in to this consultancy to help their team as well as to show them how it works so they can offer it to their clients.  We’ve already been working hard to submit 3 proposals to their clients, which is exciting.

My consultancy contact loved the Mirror Mirror report and workshop – he’s such a fan. Afterwards, he said

“Why don’t you print the report on thicker paper, add a field ‘Your Name’ and some spaces for notes, so that people in workshops can make it their own?  You could put it in a proper binder so it looks like something they want to keep.”

So cool.

We are starting to hone every aspect of the user experience.  Our last customer told me they loved how we customised our process to suit them. Right now, I’m on a train to Cologne for a workshop to set up our first database.  With this we’ll be more able to add / change questions and their phraseology. And we are starting to gather enough benchmark data that we’ll be able to include comparison stats in our reports.

The report we issued for the consulting organization earlier this week included ‘error bars’, which shows the average score per item as well as what the highest and lowest scores are.  This is very important detail when you want to know where the team is already aligned. I can’t tell you how long it took to pull that together – and it seemed to be one of those problems that seems to be difficult even though there was always some kind of reason why it didn’t happen – but we kept going with it and will never go back.

My ‘chat’ / pitch is getting much better after so much practice.  I’m constantly updating our customer facing materials as the explanation improves.

One of the clients we are pitching too loved the slides we sent him before a meeting so much that we didn’t need to go through them at all – they had already accelerated our conversation.

Amazingly, I’m getting compliments on how I’m doing as a facilitator and feel ready to facilitate any group, no matter how senior.  It’s moving forward.

I did have a bit of a dip last week as 3 possibilities I had been chasing last year fell through (budget / priorities / other) but that was then.

Yesterday I submitted another proposal to a global foods organization I’ve been courting for a while – and got on well with my contact there when we finally got to meet on my last London trip.

I do get feedback that the global consultancies already have offerings like this. But that’s where I can compete. They wrap it up in months-long consultancy packages.  Mirror Mirror is a lean intervention and clients seem to be very happy.  That’s what I’m working on.

Someone indicated that they thought my progress hadn’t been that fast after 2 years of having the product on the market.  A while back, that thought would have hurt.  These days, I just disagree.  Sod what they think.

This isn’t just a consultancy offering it’s a proprietary process in constant development.  Areas on my list to progress are legal and financial. I’m outsourcing jobs on graphic design, data management, platform development and marketing.  I’m doing business development, working up delivery partners, building up my knowledge in multiple disciplines, talking to universities about research proposals, and the list goes on.  I’m fully busy and not for the sake of it, I don’t think!

Now I’m going to do things at a pace that makes sense.  I have the luxury of the family loan I got at the end of last year to do that.  I spend wisely, work hard, and I’m aiming to be the best.

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 64: We are beginning to see patterns

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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’s fascinating to discover that now, having some good experience, we are starting to see a pattern with the outcomes of Mirror Mirror. Having taken a step back over Xmas, a pattern is emerging. There usually is a core alignment issue at play within organizations that blocks effectiveness.  If you can spot that issue and start to unravel it, as we do, then other linked issues fall away. This means that while it can feel as if there are multiple problems going on that are difficult to track down and deal with, it may not be so chaotic.

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