Alignement with the business
I ensure that my team remains connected to the business strategy, aligned with the organisation mission, and vision. I also make sure the current capabilities of my team deliver a competitive advantage. To ensure alignement with the business, I use different tools:
- When negotiating decisions, show different trade-offs to reduce decision fatigue
- Report on the health of different workstreams
- Connect design and research work to the business metrics
- Set priorities in quarterly planning, and develop roadmaps in partnership with other disciplines
- Report, manage budgets and headcount.
Managing the design team day to day
I make sure I understand the different strategies in the organisation, for example; marketing, sales, engineering and product. This understanding helps me lead the design team towards the organisation vision.
For my team, I make sure I have those rituals in place:
- Daily standups to identify any blockers and have a status update.
- Fortnightly design critique a safe space for the team to discuss the work.
- Monthly retrospective a forum to keep the pulse on the team, and improve the ways of working.
- Goal check in, to make sure we remain align with the busines strategy.
- Training sessions, I either facilitate or invite an expert.
- Team offsites to align the team, for example, by workshopping the team values.
Running a training session for the team.
Developing the team’s values
An important aspect of my leadership playbook is to help individuals live the organisation's values and mission.
I often start by defining the team's aspirations, and the type of team they want to be. To help the team lives the organisation's values, for each value the team unpack behaviours that they want to see more or less of. I use the values to establish a base for conversations that happen during the hiring process, 1:1s, team retrospectives, and reward system.
Part of a workshop I designed and led to unpack the team values.
Workshop I designed and led with a team.
1:1s, mentoring and coaching plans
I organise fortnightly 1:1s, they are an addition to a continuous support when doing the work. The 1:1s helps me define and keep track of the designer’s career goals. I love using Fellow as a companion app for my 1:1s!
To support the 1:1s, I keep track of the designer's career goals by creating mentoring or coaching plans, this helps make sure that me, and the organisation, are invested in the designer's growth.
Helping a designer acquiring a new skill.
Design critique, Lunch & Learn, and fun!
To help the team discover new perspectives on design, I organise design critique sessions where everyone can improve their design skills in a safe space. I also organise activities such as the whiteboard design challenge, design card games, lunch and learn with special guests, or invite the team to attend a conference.
A whiteboard design challenge.
For 12 months I worked on my leadership skills with a professional leadership coach, Amy Gray. Throughout the coaching program for emerging leaders, she helped me; define the leader I want to be, use organisational values effectively, develop hiring techniques, use tools to align myself and a team with the business.
I also attended a 6 weeks course "Strategic Business Thinking for Designers" to improve my ability to frame and sell strategic recommendations, connect design metrics to the business health, map ecosystems and stakeholders, and better negotiate trade-off.
I also read, attend conferences, and listen to podcasts. Some of my influencers are Christina Woodtke, David Marquet, Marty Cagan, Jeff Patton, Laura Klein.
Meeting other leaders.