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    • Your post got me thinking. A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post about the process I took to recruiting an agency to design a new website. As part of that I talked about the project management team and thinking about what role they played through the project. I think whether it’s a website project or a piece of design it’s important to have a solid a trustworthy team around you with varied skill sets.

      I’ll paste below what I wrote,


      Senior Leader -  It is good practice to have a senior manager or CEO (director) figure on board. Change has to filter down from the top and having key stakeholders driving that change will help all stakeholders to see the benefit of your project. It is  worth considering what skills and experiences a senior manager or CEO (director) might bring from previous jobs.

      The Wildcard - You might want to consider that ‘wildcard’ type figure who you would expect to ask those ‘off-the-wall’ questions, and disrupt thinking in a constructive way. Be careful though, pick someone who you know will be a good team player and who is 100% on board with the project.

      The Thinker - Never underestimate the power of a thinker in helping to guide a decision. Those, sometimes painfully slow and astonishing minutes, hours or days waiting for a decision are not intended to annoy, but allow time for decisions to sink in and settle.

      Millennial - Having someone in your team who is ‘on-trend’ will help to future proof your project, saving the embarrassment of launching a new logo or brand which although new, is already outdated.

    • Maybe the words “ancient literary” and “proverbs” primed my brain in that direction, but these two quotes jumped to mind:

      “When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can't tell good from evil.” - Marcus Aurelius

      “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” - Jesus Christ

      Creatives don’t have the market cornered on complaining, they’re just better at it.

      It took me years - more than I care to admit - to realize it was not only a waste of time to try to change a complainer, but also dangerous as it pulled me towards frustration and complaining myself.

      So what do you do? The right, loving thing. Creatives complaining is often just untethered opinion. They don’t like the color, form, font, copy, sound, smell, whatever. But are they speaking on behalf of their target market with clear personas in mind? Good design is more like advocacy than individual expression. Set that as the clear goal and framework before the critique, and keep gently correcting course as needed.

      People are slow to come around, but when they do... Wow. Seeing all that once negative energy turning positive is an awesome thing to share, and it too can spread like a (whatever the happy version of a virus is).

    • It took me years - more than I care to admit - to realize it was not only a waste of time to try to change a complainer, but also dangerous as it pulled me towards frustration and complaining myself.

      Gold star, my friend.

      Good design is more like advocacy than individual expression.

      I like this - mind if I borrow it?

      Thanks for weighing in! Very insightful.

    • Victoria bought me a copy of Dream Teams and I loved it. The central thing I took away is the best teams have what can look like conflict, people willing to challenge and debate and say they don't agree, but not in a toxic way. They are committed to everyone's success.

      One of the best analogies I've ever heard about this was described in a book by Atul Gawande. When surgical teams get a new joystick and video screen way of performing what they used to do by hand, which teams succeed the best? There is a factor of 10 difference in their success rates.

      The working hypothesis was younger surgeons used to playing video games would adapt best.

      But it turns out the big factor was the dynamics of the team. If the lead surgeon was commanding, authoritatively giving orders and controlling the room, he/she was judged to be the best leader — especially by patients. It was the confidence they exuded.

      But their surgical teams performed the worst. The ones who did best were the teams where the lead surgeon could say, "I think it's best to enter between these two ribs and..." Someone from the team could interrupt, any assistant, and say "but what if we entered this other way? The patient records show he broke those ribs recently..." And a debate could ensue.

      It may have made the surgical lead look and feel less omnipotent, but surgical errors went way down.

    • Gold star, my friend.

      Why, thank you. I can't wait to show my wife after school today. ;)

      I like this - mind if I borrow it?

      Have at it as much as you'd like. Hope it serves you well down the road in your next critque.