Lindsay Uittenbogaard founded Mirror Mirror in 2016.
With twenty-five years of commercial experience, Lindsay spent the first ten years of her career in entrepreneurial and small business management roles. She moved across to communication leadership positions in multinational organizations in 2001. Since then she has gained international communications experience across the energy, IT, and telecommunications industries.
Manuela Damant, Co-Founder and Owner of Open the Door Leadership, which focuses on empowering high potential women, interviewed Lindsay about her work with Mirror Mirror.
Hello Lindsay. You clearly saw a gap in the market and a need. What first inspired you to develop it?
We know that progress and change is slow and inefficient when people in teams aren’t aren’t pointing in the same direction. I’ve seen the frustration and cost that results. And that’s where the Mirror Mirror concept came from. I was inspired by the opportunity to address the real communication problem rather than the problem as it was already framed. The resulting process, Mirror Mirror improves team effectiveness through behavioural and cognitive alignment.
If people can open up and hear the views of others, they can better see the common ground and find compatibility among the differences. What happens next is better actions and decisions, and ultimately more effectiveness.
So how is Mirror Mirror different to the other team effectiveness offerings out there?
A wide range of expensive tools are used in organizations for learning & development, and engagement of employees and managers, such as employee engagement surveys, 360 feedback tools, psychometric profiling, Line Manager engagement training and coaching and so on. It is difficult to assign causality between these activities and performance improvements.
Mirror Mirror is a lean and systemic team effectiveness process that takes a structured, focused, common sense approach to shared understanding and ownership in a way that brings multiple, lasting benefits.
What tip would you give to team leaders who have concerns about the alignment of their team?
Leaders and Managers have a tough job (I have written about this on my blog). Teams are not naturally aligned, harmonious units. Most team leaders try to keep on top of things by having conversations with people one-on-one or in groups, but when things speed up, diverge and change, it’s hard to keep everyone properly in the loop, and the confusion and disconnects that occur are not necessarily a reflection on the Team Leader. My tip would be to spend time understanding what the views of your team are, and why. That way you’ll know how to engage with them. Ask questions upwards, keep the dialogue going, don’t struggle on defiantly with a wall around you.
What do you feel is lacking in business today when it comes to team effectiveness?
There’s a general sense of disappointment about some of the leadership learning models and concepts out there. The ROI from using that doesn’t seem to be coming through. Good learnings and intentions seem to disappear when we return to the workplace. Why? Because the culture and other contextual factors at work are simply overpowering. We fall back into our old ways and habits.
A good friend of mine who has worked in HR Management with a large global organization for the past 20 years remarked that with all the millions they have spent on leadership development and performance management programs over the years, the evidence just wasn’t there to show a return on investment.
With the low levels of trust in leaders, the perceived fake news, and the increasing complexity in all sectors, we are missing tangible, practical, quick and easy ways to move forward that are anchored in the workplace context.
Mirror Mirror was founded solely by you along with the support of various industry partners. What is the hardest part about launching a new offering in such a busy market?
When people ‘get’ Mirror Mirror’ they are very enthusiastic and want to help spread the word. But it’s a new idea – something that addresses a problem people can’t quite see, with something they didn’t know existed. Creating awareness of the problem and the solution is a real challenge.
Finally, what excites you about working in this industry?
What I hear about the future excites me. I’m hearing a hunger for more transparency, honesty, employee involvement, and employee enablement. I’m hearing a need for simple, practical, and immediately actionable learning rather than month-long programs. I’m picking up on the willingness of people to look at the latest offerings on the market. All this means there’s a lot of scope to deliver low cost, low intensive options that make a big impact. I find it hugely exciting!