Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the Leading Design Festival. A virtual, 3-day conference hosted by Clearleft. Thank you Axon.
What is it?
For people leading design teams, overseeing design direction, or instilling a culture of design within their organization. All the essentials of what makes a great leader.
I mostly learn by doing but at least once a year I dedicate time to truly stop, and learn.
Slow down to go fast.
Here are a few brief notes and hightlights.
Former VP of Design @ Facebook, and Author of The Making of a Manager
What she thought would make her a great leader was just being a great designer. If you don’t know what good design looks like, how can you know who to hire? It’s the difference between being a creator and an editor.
Diagnose with data. Treat with design. If I showed you data that said 20% growth year over year, is it a great product? Great is subjective. Great compared to what? To last year? To our competitors?
Head of Design @ Capital One
Get out of the fucking way. How to balance facilitating without slowing things down. Take up less space. Amplify others.
VP of Design @ IBM
When the team sees you investing in yourself, they feel like they should be investing in themselves.
Chief Design Officer @ Flo Health
Congratulations. You got promoted – now prepare to suck at a completely different job.
Being kind is not the same as being soft.
To be respected is to be fair but not necessarily to be liked.
Biggest mistake as a director was underestimating her power. She didn’t realize that with the seat at the table she could disagree and change the conversation. If you make your case well you can shift important things that define the culture, something no one else in your organization can do.
Your number one job is to run a team in which people are emotionally fulfilled and inspired. This isn’t free lunch, or nice coffee. This is about doing great work and seeing individual and team contributions making a difference.
Design Director @ Figma
Hiring great people is the most impactful thing you can do at a company.