What are the definitions of alignment and misalignment?

Alignment is when all forces move in the same direction to minimize energy loss and maximize outcomes. In an organizational setting, this means people can work from a shared reality about purpose, goals, behaviours, and mental models to deliver better together. Alignment is not about getting everyone to think the same thing. It is about getting people to work with compatible mental models, both in terms of how they see their shared challenges (cognitive alignment) and how they will collaborate to deliver together (behavioural alignment).

Where alignment is compatibility, misalignment is conflict between how people see things – large or small, significant or subtle, visible or invisible.  The impact of misalignment is summarised in this research from Box & Platts, 2005: “Problems caused by misalignment include confusion; waste of time, money and opportunity; diminished productivity; demotivation of individuals and teams; internal conflicts, power struggles; and ultimately project failure as well as resulting in time and energy spent: doubting, conspiring, guessing or gossiping – when that same energy could be deployed in moving an organisation forward.”

Box, S., & Platts, K. Business Process Management: Establishing and maintaining project alignment, Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 11 Issue: 4, PP.370-387), 2005

On what research is Mirror Mirror based?

Mirror Mirror was designed in collaboration with the Technical University of Delft, drawing from a range of research sources. Please contact us for a copy of our Research Summaries and Literature Review documents.

Key influences are the theory of Social Constructionism: how people make sense of their contexts through language with others; research by Barron[1], showing that effective collaboration is not merely a case of putting people with the relevant knowledge together, because team members face challenges in integrating their different perspectives and developing shared cognition (a shared understanding) of common problems; and the work of van den Bossche[2], which shows that interpersonal and socio-cognitive processes and practices (behaviours) affect the rapid development of shared understanding, which drives improved team effectiveness.

[1] Achieving Coordination in Collaborative Problem-Solving Groups, Brigid Barron, Journal of the Learning Sciences Vol. 9, Iss. 4, 2000

[2] Team Learning: Building Shared Mental Models, van den Bossche et al. Instructional Science, 39(3), pp.283–301. 2008

How reliable is the data?

The data is as reliable as the openness of the respondents providing it. To maximize levels of openness, we provide communication texts about the process in advance, we explain that all inputs are taken anonymously, and we codify all qualitative texts to avoid personal attribution as far as possible.

How is Mirror Mirror different from other tools on the market?


Mirror Mirror is focused exclusively on building better shared mental models between people as a means of increasing organizational effectiveness.  


  • The questions direct the individual to answer on behalf of the group – focusing on about what is between people
  • The reports show the extent to which views converge and diverge – identifying and measuring alignment gaps
  • The process goes deep, using qualitative questions and manual codification – discovering what needs to emerge



The process promotes open, respectful, and inclusive behaviours without labelling them. It is practical, action-oriented, rapid, measurable, and repeatable.

Specifically, how is Mirror Mirror different from the Employee Survey?

Mirror Mirror is:

  • Systemic – it takes a discovery-based approach to identify misalignment
  • Action-oriented and interactive – employees work with the data they provide
  • Team-centric, and part-qualitative– the data reflects the unique context of each team
  • Inclusive – promotes effective collaboration and appreciation for diversity
  • Outcomes focused – aligns mental models and prepares participants to succeed
  • Measured – progress is evaluated at 3 points in time to show what changed and why
  • Fast, cost-efficient, and delivers real change.

How can organizations benefit from using Mirror Mirror?


  • New leaders – compress the onboarding phase by building rapid familiarity with the team, the context, and the culture. Use this to engage and reset direction.
  • New teams – accelerate the familiarisation process with each other, with the context, culture, and challenges. Use this data to create cognitive and behavioural alignment
    so the team can deliver better together.


  • Multiple teams – get the strategy implemented through better engagement and
    alignment; funnel key insights and feedback to key stakeholders
  • Project teams and cross functional teams – get clarity, engagement, and
    alignment on the shared challenges and how people can deliver better together
  • Teams in trouble – identify the issues and get them on the table, safely and
    constructively. Have these addressed through acceptance or change so people can move on and deliver from a shared reality.
  • Remote teams – improve  collaboration by building rapid familiarity with the team, the
    context, and the culture – then co-creating an action plan for team delivery.

How can Mirror Mirror help organizations navigate through change?

Mirror Mirror identifies and measures alignment at multiple points, both cognitively and behaviourally. By having people review specific assumptions and take in the views of others, alignment gaps become clear, so they can be addressed safely and constructively. The participating teams then recognise and accept what is happening, and ultimately take ownership for how they can best respond together. The Mirror Mirror approach helps diminish resistance to change, improves clarity and agility, increases engagement, and heightens preparedness to succeed.

Are the question sets fixed?

Mirror Mirror is a ‘whole systems’ discovery tool. It uses a fixed set of questions that have been designed to elicit how people perceive their world at work, so letting the significant factors, issues and opportunities emerge.

We also have seven small situational question sets that can be added according to the team situation:

  1. New teams
  2. Teams in change
  3. Innovation teams
  4. Virtual teams
  5. Cross-functional teams
  6. Teams in post-M&A environments
  7. Executive teams

Around a third of these questions are qualitative and the responses are codified by trained staff to match meanings where possible. The entire approach is based on spotting the extent to which participants perceptions converge or diverge.

How long does the whole Mirror Mirror process take from end to end?

The end-to-end process includes:

  • 20+/- minutes survey completion per participant
  • 20+/- minutes interview per participant (Full Picture product only)
  • Minimum 48-hour report delivery
  • Workshop 4 – 8 hours, depending on the product.

See this page for more details.

Can we get a demonstration for how it works?

The Snapshot, our free automated 11 question product, is designed to demo our approach. It is available via any one of the trained facilitators in our network on request.

Can I speak to a reference customer?

Yes, we can connect you with previous customers who are happy to be contacted to share their experience of the process. Please contact us to set up a reference call.

How do we ensure data security?

When you participate in research that uses Mirror Mirror products, you can be assured that we will protect your privacy. We follow rigorous standards that are set out in our IT security and privacy policy, which is available on request. We also have a privacy policy relating to the use of our website.

How are the benefits of Mirror Mirror measured?

After the event, we measure perceptions on clarity, alignment, positivity, and preparedness by comparing perception data at three points in time. Below is an extract from a client team measurement report:

“What’s in it for me?”

Mirror Mirror helps people in organizations close off these questions:

  • Can’t put your finger on what is affecting performance from a people perspective?
  • Concerned about how communications are understood in different parts of the
  • How can I get my teams aligned and delivering on the strategy?

How does Mirror Mirror add tangible value?

That depends on whether you look at it from a risk or return perspective. From a risk
perspective – misalignment and the extent to which it threatens either progress toward
financial goals or things such as safety and execution against deadlines, can be clearly
addressed through the tool.

The relationship to return depends on the work and objectives the team and company have.
For example, if the outcome is reduced friction, then it becomes possible to look at how
reduced friction can increase returns.

How is the pricing determined?

Mirror Mirror has two pricing components:

1) Alignment reports and service – this is a fixed fee per team, per time depending on
product and team size, and includes

  • Question set configuration / language alterations
  • Codification of qualitative data
  • Production and delivery of reports at 3 points in time:
    I. Alignment Report
    II. Post-workshop Measurement Report
    III. 3 – 6 month evaluation report
  • Management of client data
  • Quality assurance monitoring and continuous improvement

2) Delivery of Mirror Mirror by trained facilitator(s). This varies in price according to the experience of the facilitator(s), the seniority of the team, geography etc., and

  • Initial meeting with team leader
  • Team communications and pre-briefing
  • Interviews per person (if using the Full Picture product)
  • Report interpretation and discussion with team leader
  • Workshop (incl. 2 hours prep)
  • Turnaround of measurement data / report
  • Debrief team leader post-workshop including prep
  • Follow up after 3 – 6 months

What is the follow up offering?

This depends on what comes out of the data and the workshop. Mirror Mirror is a discovery process, meaning that there are no prescribed or assumed courses of action that should be followed – the answers to what the team needs in order to become more effective emerges from the process. For example, next steps after a workshop could be about coaching, learning, behaviour, clarity, process streamlining, or strategic renewal. Or, teams can head back to work with their members having a clearer understanding of the issues that hold them back and the strengths that push them forward and build on that understanding immediately.

How does Mirror Mirror sit within a broader programme of change or learning?

Mirror Mirror complements any other change or learning agenda because it improves
alignment, a the fundamental dynamic that drives the advancement of change and learning.

What do I need to do to set up Mirror Mirror within my organization?

You can initiate Mirror Mirror via one of the trained facilitators in our network, or by getting in touch with us directly. We will start by asking for some basic information about your work situation, so the right question sets can be configured, and guide you from there.