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The Accidental Design Leader

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The Accidental Design Leader

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Andy first came to prominence in our industry as a designer and web standards enthusiast. He was driven by a desire to improve and professionalise the industry, which is how he came to start the UKs first user experience consultancy, Clearleft. He never set out to be a design leader, but now find himself leading a team of thirty people, almost by accident.

In a quest to understand what makes a great leader, and help his friends in newly minted leadership positions, Andy started the Leading Design conference and Slack community last year. Over the past 18 months, Andy has interviewed dozens of prominent leaders and listened in on hundreds of Slack conversations about the art and craft of leadership.

In this session, Andy recounts his journey into leadership, shares his successes and failures, and the important lessons he’s learned on the way. The result is a talk packed full of design leadership heuristics suitable for leaders of all shapes, sizes, levels and seniorities.

Andy first came to prominence in our industry as a designer and web standards enthusiast. He was driven by a desire to improve and professionalise the industry, which is how he came to start the UKs first user experience consultancy, Clearleft. He never set out to be a design leader, but now find himself leading a team of thirty people, almost by accident.

In a quest to understand what makes a great leader, and help his friends in newly minted leadership positions, Andy started the Leading Design conference and Slack community last year. Over the past 18 months, Andy has interviewed dozens of prominent leaders and listened in on hundreds of Slack conversations about the art and craft of leadership.

In this session, Andy recounts his journey into leadership, shares his successes and failures, and the important lessons he’s learned on the way. The result is a talk packed full of design leadership heuristics suitable for leaders of all shapes, sizes, levels and seniorities.

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The Accidental Design Leader

  1. 1. The Accidental Design Leader
  2. 2. A few years ago I spotted a trend
  3. 3. Designers now had a seat at the table
  4. 4. But…
  5. 5. Rather than being happy Many were stressed
  6. 6. New problems to deal with
  7. 7. They’d fallen for the myth of leadership
  8. 8. All you need is power to make change
  9. 9. All you need is power to make change
  10. 10. Power gives you more opportunity to influence
  11. 11. You need to develop a new set of skills
  12. 12. over tea and cake The pattern became clear
  13. 13. Finding talent #1
  14. 14. Retaining talent #2
  15. 15. Executing at pace #3
  16. 16. Managing up #4
  17. 17. Managing down #5
  18. 18. wasn't for them? Maybe design management
  19. 19. Mount Stupid Stuck in the Trough of disillusionment Plateaux of productivity Trough of disillusionment
  20. 20. Design Leadership is still relatively new
  21. 21. Accidental Leader for the past 12 years
  22. 22. I helped found a new design Leadership Community
  23. 23. leadingdesignconf.com leadingdesign.slack.com &
  24. 24. I never set out to lead design teams
  25. 25. The living embodiment of the Peter Principal
  26. 26. I hated ego-driven savant leadership
  27. 27. servant leadership I preferred ego-less
  28. 28. Hire people better than you and give them the space to excel
  29. 29. Good leaders try to make themselves redundant
  30. 30. Bad leaders dictate Good leaders delegate
  31. 31. Processes don’t make great products, people do
  32. 32. Hire people with a calling Not a great looking resume
  33. 33. Finding talent #1
  34. 34. people want to be on Build the team
  35. 35. first mover advantage Reputation, outreach and
  36. 36. The best designers want growth Money is just table stakes
  37. 37. Invests in people Signal that your company
  38. 38. to do great work Create the best environment
  39. 39. brilliant arseholes Hire slow, and avoid
  40. 40. than an arsehole It’s better to have a hole
  41. 41. Retaining talent #2
  42. 42. on your interview promises Make sure you follow through
  43. 43. keep people focussed Clear values and mission
  44. 44. they won't want to leave Foster a collaborative culture
  45. 45. people leave You are the main reason
  46. 46. or they’ll burn out Give the team space
  47. 47. experiment and innovate Schedule time to
  48. 48. Now Next Future 6wks 6mths 6yrs Design for now, next, & future
  49. 49. Great designers deliver Good designers design
  50. 50. Executing at pace #3
  51. 51. remove organisational barriers Great design leaders
  52. 52. so your team don't have to Pick up the trash
  53. 53. between design and development Break down the silos
  54. 54. are a huge productivity boon Design Systems
  55. 55. has a vital role to play Design Operations
  56. 56. on creating high performance teams Lessons from Aristotle
  57. 57. Impact
  58. 58. Meaning Impact
  59. 59. Structure & Clarity Meaning Impact
  60. 60. Dependability Structure & Clarity Meaning Impact
  61. 61. Psychological Safety Dependability Structure & Clarity Meaning Impact
  62. 62. Managing up #4
  63. 63. the value of design Your job is to promote
  64. 64. the language of business You need to speak
  65. 65. not battle lines Create partnerships
  66. 66. governance layer Weave design into the
  67. 67. not a shit funnel Be a shit umbrella
  68. 68. Get a leadership coach Leaders need support
  69. 69. Managing down #5
  70. 70. managing upwards Don’t spend all your time
  71. 71. look after their teams Great Design Leaders
  72. 72. regular one-on-ones Make sure you have
  73. 73. and connect to people Take time to walk the floor
  74. 74. feedback Provide actionable
  75. 75. Care personally Challenge Directly Ruinous
 Empathy Radical Candor Manipulative Insincerity Obnoxious Agression
  76. 76. Supporting Coaching DirectingDelegating INDIVIDUAL COMPETENCY DIRECTIVE BEHAVIOUR INDIVIDUALMOTIVATION SUPPORTIVEBEHAVIOUR
  77. 77. and critique privately Make sure you praise publicly
  78. 78. individual growth Support your teams
  79. 79. Lead Principal Director VP A leading performer who prefers to manage projects over managing people. Indispensable individual contributor. Dynamic leader, focused on strategic vision, growing talent and execution Articulate a compelling vision; help run the company Depth, expertise, innovation, persuasion, strategic, confidence; programs not projects Breadth, mentorship, evangelism, thought leadership, visionary, storytelling Mentorship, new value creation, organization-wide leadership, planning; operations Recruiting and hiring; establishing culture; accountability; vision, evangelism Leads the delivery of shipped products; Delivered successful work at the scope of ‘product areas’ Leads teams in framing and solving hard problems; has driven innovative efforts that uncovered new value with new kinds of experiences; presents company as an industry leader in design Significant management experience (teams up to 10 people); recruited and hired teams Successfully run design organizations (of around 10-15 or fewer); Demonstrated ability to engage executive leadership across the company
  80. 80. accountability Provide autonomy with
  81. 81. Unaware Blame others Excuses Wait and hope Acknowledge reality Own it Find solutions Get on with it Accountability
 Ladder
  82. 82. Tell me what to do I think I recommend I would like to I intent to I’ve done I’ve been doing Leadership
 Ladder
  83. 83. I see repeating themselves Those were the 5 key concerns
  84. 84. Finding talent#1 Retaining talent#2 Executing at pace#3 Managing up#4 Managing down#5
  85. 85. my personal experiences I’ve tried to share
  86. 86. approach to leadership There's no one-size-fits-all
  87. 87. common wisdom and tactics Instead it’s a mix of
  88. 88. but it’s still not being done A lot of this is obvious
  89. 89. but it’s still not being done A lot of this is obvious bleeding
  90. 90. Good Leaders Servetheirteams Hire people better than them selves Make themselves redundant Invest in their teams Create space to do great work Setcompelling visions Foster
 collaboration Create a thriving work culture Empower teams Remove barriers Provide air cover Operationalise design Em bed design in the governance layer Supportindividual growth Promotethe valueofdesign
  91. 91. Is EASY to understand Good design leadership
  92. 92. to execute well It’s bloody HARD
  93. 93. Thank You Follow me @andybudd

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