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 can be slow, inefficient and even negative when people in teams aren’t aligned. I’ve seen the resulting 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. Decisions and actions come down to how people understand how to be active in their context. I see that consciously addressing that is fundamental and extremely valuable.
So how is Mirror Mirror different to the other team effectiveness offerings out there?
There are a wide range of expensive tools deployed in organizations for learning & development, and the engagement of employees and managers. Employee engagement surveys, 360 feedback tools, psychometric profiling, Line Manager engagement training and coaching and so on. But they’re only focused on one aspect of team performance and they’re not linked to the team context. Mirror Mirror is a discovery diagnostic that does three things within one process: assessment, insights, alignment.
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 and most team leaders try to keep on top of things by having conversations with people one-on-one or in groups. But it’s hard to keep everyone properly in the loop as things constantly change and evolve. Confusion and disconnects that occur in teams are not necessarily a reflection on the Team Leader, because they themselves are subject to the same alignment issues. 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 open questions, keep the dialogue going, don’t struggle on defiantly with a wall around you. Or use Mirror Mirror – it’s a structured process that addresses this issue.
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. I feel that what’s missing are 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 empowerment. People need simple, practical, and immediately actionable learning rather than month-long consultancy programs. All this means there’s a lot of scope to deliver low cost, low intensive options that make a big impact. That to me is very motivating.