My personal philosophy on life and business is that if you treat all the people around you as people with hopes and dreams of their own just as valid and important as yours (instead of as objects that stand in the way of your success) and genuinely look for ways to help them achieve the results they are seeking, you will also achieve the results you are seeking in the process.
The same concept applies in leadership. I have found that it is through transparency, accountability, teamwork, and ownership that winning teams are created and maintained. I hire top talent, give them the tools, guidance, & training they need to succeed, and then stay out of their way. I also only hire people that have a Founder’s Mentality so that they are motivated to make decisions and achieve results through their own ingenuity. All I have to do then is point them in the right direction, clearly defining the objective and key results I want to see then allow them the flexibility to achieve that objective/results however they see fit. I set clear expectations and hold the team (and myself) to them. I expect everyone to play at the top of their game, but do not tolerate 'superstars, gurus, or rockstars'.
This is the only true way to create a culture of innovation that is scalable.
In order to facilitate transparency and set clear expectations, I have created 18 Design & Leadership Principles that I hold myself and my teams to. It is through these principles that the standard is set by which we measure our progress. I have found in my career that when these 18 things are being done, consistent innovation and engaging culture follow.
Great solutions have a shelf life. I always ask ‘why’ and challenge myself to constantly learn & take my game to the next level.
I never assume that I am the user. I test and validate assumptions with actual users. They are the ‘experts’.
There is always more to learn. I will never stop seeking knowledge and developing new skills.
My team works collaboratively and doesn’t tolerate superstars. Everyone has a voice and is accountable for the results.
I build experiments and ‘get out of the building’ with them. I value validating multiple ideas over debating assumptions.
I measure progress in outcomes rather than output, and deliver problems to be solved to my team rather than solutions to be implemented.
No one ever gets design right the first time. I explore multiple ideas before choosing a direction. I also understand that 'not now' doesn't mean 'not ever'.
I push & empower teams and myself to create solutions that match our users, our business, and our brand promise rather than copying others’ work.
I push teams to release small-batch-size solutions often, rather than working for months on the ‘perfect’ solution before delivering value to customers.
No one is above anything. We all do whatever is necessary to ship products that improve our users’ lives.
I am invested in helping the company succeed just as much as if I were it’s founder. I focus, understand the business and solve problems without being asked.
Creative problem-solving is not for the faint of heart. I put in the work necessary to get the job done and take accountability for my results. No two designers approach the same problem the same way, and I respect that. What is important is the result, not the journey.
I hire those I trust, and trust those I hire. I create a culture of empowerment and accountability. I coach, but don’t mandate or micro-manage.
I treat team members as if they already posses the attributes I want them to develop. This allows everyone to grow and realize their true potential.
Breakthroughs happen when the team takes risks, trusts their instincts and speaks their mind – not when they tiptoe around each other.
A sharp saw gets dull over time. Creatives are no different. I create a culture where taking time off to recharge is expected not just tolerated.
I expect my teams to seek out and experience great design so we all understand where the bar is that we need to surpass to create the future.
True success is working smarter, not longer. I value prioritization, focus, and time management.
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