Often, what a team needs to do to move forwards is already known by the team members, but it’s not conscious, shared, or actioned. Mirror Mirror takes a systemic, facilitative approach to discover alignment gaps and opportunities as perceived by the team members. Contact us for more information about the concept and the research that supports it. In the meantime, below are answers to some frequently asked questions.
Q: What is social alignment?
‘Social alignment’ is when people in teams can work from a ‘shared current reality’. It operates at the team level because that’s where the working context is relevant to everyone. Social alignment has three components:
- Shared cognition (how well people in teams can understand and connect with each other’s perspectives)
- Shared participation (how well people can activate those perspectives through collaboration)
- Shared purpose (how strong the link is between their own individual purpose and the team purpose).
If you bring organizational communications and social alignment together, it creates real relevance, clarity, and ownership that people can act on. Research shows a strong link between social alignment and increased performance.
Effective social alignment processes have these outcomes:
- more familiarisation / better relationships between colleagues and with the team leader
- an improved open, respectful, and inclusive communications culture within the team
- better decisions and actions
- rich insights for the wider organization
- higher levels of team effectiveness and performance / innovation.
Q: Why use perception analysis to understand a team situation as opposed to existing documentation, such as business plans and relevant research?
A: Current business thinking typically takes an objective, evidence-based approach to managing teams and organizations. Mirror Mirror was purposefully designed to complement that with a fundamentally contrasting subjective-based approach. It is based on the view that people share a reality – they become aligned – when their perceptions overlap sufficiently. This does not necessarily mean they need to agree with each other, in fact, diverse views can be useful. It means they need to invest in developing a shared understanding about their common situation so that they can work together effectively.
The central part of the Mirror Mirror process is the visualisation of data that shows the combined team perceptions. These are captured through guided individual interviews (a fixed part of the process).
Q: What is the methodology behind the perspective analysis?
A: The interviews include a mix of open-ended questions for qualitative analysis and Likert scale questions for quantitative analysis. The facilitator is trained to capture the meaning behind the qualitative data provided in the interviews and codify those to be able to link them with the same meanings provided by other participants.
Q: What is the philosophy behind Mirror Mirror?
A: Mirror Mirror is based on the following tenets:
- We define social alignment being the extent to which people share a current reality
- We see social alignment as a strategic enabler. Misalignment leaves people confused and frustrated, which leads to poor decisions and actions. This wastes time, money and effort which bears a huge cost. We want everyone at work to be connected and aligned so they can open up to themselves and others, feel good, and do amazing things.
- We focus at the team level because the shared goal is relevant to all and a shared reality is about a shared context.
- We only use data based on perceptions about way people see their world at work because this is their reality. The more overlap there is in how people perceive their shared reality, the more aligned they are.
- We only use the data and insights that emerge to identify and facilitate alignment through dialogue. The Mirror Mirror process does not include judgement about what the team need to do differently, except invest in social alignment.
- We encourage diverse points of view. Alignment does not mean agreement and diverse views can be leveraged to reach new ways forward.