Have you heard of the term “Frog in Boiling Water”? Frogs are quick, clever, and notoriously difficult to catch so if you drop one directly into a pot of boiling water, it’s a guarantee that the frog will leap out and escape its doom.
I recently received an email from a gentleman telling me about his current job situation. He said, “I knew 3 months in that this job was wrong for me – and now it’s 5 years later. I’m still trying...
With all the incredible people we've met in the design world, especially in our own community in New York City, there were very few that matched the intellect, drive, and downright pleasantness of Bill Moggridge. We were lucky enough to have him in the fold at many design events in New York, not to mention our great chats with him at so many symposiums and IDSA conferences, where we were so impressed by a man who added so much to the design world and really had an impact on human culture that far too many do not know. He is perhaps best known as the father of the laptop computer, the key mind in creating its design and ergonomic standards, and the man who created the basis for a tool that millions cannot live without today. He was a pioneer of what would become interaction design, and was a key architect in the forming and naming of the discipline. He went on to form one of if not the most influential design firms ever created, IDEO, which has continued to create new and incredible products and experiences. He left us while heading the Cooper-Hewitt, busy putting the final touches on a great fundraising campaign that will grow the design museum by 60%, and create a new National Design Library in New York. But the thing we'll miss most is our wonderful discussions with the man, so intelligent and down-to-earth, who lived and breathed design. You will be missed.
Recently, Facebook has been in the news for its highly anticipated, if poorly executed IPO, and to a lesser extent, the stealth marriage of its young CEO Mark Zuckerberg to his college sweetheart. Flying under the radar is COO Sheryl Sandberg’s commencement speech to Harvard Business School’s class of 2012.I finally took some time out today to listen to Sheryl Sandberg's address and I was so impressed that she gave such a great speech illustrating the science of Career Strategies in this new world economy.
Among other topics, she ruminated on the breakdown of traditional methods in career pursuit, insightful views on being a truly successfully leader/manager, and the continuing gender inequality in the workplace.
On Career Strategies Sheryl gave some great advice on how to how careers work in today's society. Much of this is what I lecture about in my Careers Strategies Course and Workshops.
- “Careers are not a ladder they are a jungle gym.”
“Look for opportunities, for growth, for impact and for mission.”
“Move sideways, move down, move on, move off.”
“Build your skills not your resume.”
“Evaluate what you can do not the title they're going to give you.”
“Do real work. Take a sales quota, a line role, an ops job.”
“Don't plan too much and don't expect a direct climb.”
- As traditional structures are breaking down, leadership has to evolve as well. From hierarchy to shared responsibility. From command and control to listening and guiding.
Your strength will not come from some place on some org chart, Your strength will come from building trust and earning respect. You're going to need talent and skill and imagination and vision. More than anything else you're going to need to communicate more authentically, to speak so you inspire people around you, and to listen so you continue to learn each and everyday on the job.
Hierarchical, rigid business structures are making way to flatter and more collaborative models, with clear, authentic communication and an open mind as must-have tools to succeed. We look for these attributes in all of the candidates we work with at all levels. Our more progressive clients know this as well and seek these attributes for their businesses. On Speaking Honestly
- The work place is an especially difficult place for anyone to tell the truth. Because no matter how flat we want our organizations to be, all organizations have some form of hierarchy. And what that means is that one person's performance is assessed by someone else's perception. This is not a set up for honesty. Think about how people speak in a typical workforce.
Truth is better used by using simple language... People rarely speak this clearly in the workforce or in life and as you get more senior, not only will people speak less clearly to you but they will overreact to the small things you say. Next time you hear something that’s really stupid, don’t adhere to it, fight it or ignore it, even if it’s coming from me or Mark [Mark Zuckerberg that is].
Individuals and businesses need to understand the structural barriers that inhibit proper communication, realize how it affects their interactions and adjust accordingly. When they realize this and put it into practice, not only do they garner respect, but they also lay the foundation for a successful future. On Being A Good Leader
- A good leader recognizes that most people won’t feel comfortable challenging authority, so it falls upon authority to encourage them to question. It’s easy to say that you’re going to encourage feedback but it’s hard to do, because unfortunately it doesn’t always come in a format we want to hear.
When you’re the leader, it is really hard to get good and honest feedback, no many how many times you ask for it. One trick I’ve discovered is that I try to speak really openly about the things I’m bad at, because that gives people permission to agree with me, which is a lot easier than pointing it out in the first place. To take one of many possible examples, when things are unresolved I can get a tad anxious... Ask yourself, how will you lead? Will you use simple and clear language? Will you seek out honesty? When you get honesty back, will you react with anger or with gratitude? As we strive to be more authentic in our communication, we should also strive to be more authentic in a broader sense. I talk a lot about bringing your whole self to work— something I believe in deeply.
Creating a clear map of how you want to lead and what you want from those you lead helps set a standard by which you can be held. Moreover, learning how to foster and accept constructive criticism will make you a better leader (and person :) ). It's not often an easy thing to uphold but it's incredibly rewarding when you accomplish this. I practice this as well with my team running my business. On Company Culture
- Motivation comes from working on things we care about but it also comes from working with people we care about, and in order to care about someone, you have to know them. You have to know what they love and hate, what they feel, not just what they think. If you want to win hearts and minds, you have to lead with your heart as well as your mind. I don’t believe we have a professional self from Mondays through Fridays and a real self for the rest of the time. That kind of division probably never worked, but in today’s world, with a real voice, an authentic voice, it makes even less sense.
I talk about my hopes and fears and ask people about theirs. I try to be myself. Honest about my strengths and weaknesses and I encourage others to do the same. It is all professional and it is all personal, all at the very same time.
One major distinguishing characteristic of successful modern business from those in the past is the bridging of professional and personal lives. Learn what fundamentally drives the people your company and speak to those motivations then the company will drive itself. On Women In The Workforce
- We need to start talking about how women underestimate their abilities compared to men. Success and likeability are negatively correlated. That means that as a woman is more successful in your workplaces, she will be less liked. This means that women need a different form of management and mentorship, a different form of sponsorship and encouragement, and some protection, in some ways more than men.
When they hear a woman is really great at her job but not liked, take a deep breath and ask why. We need to start talking openly about the flexibility all of us need to have both a job and a life.
I’ve spent 20 years in the creative industry and observed that women in the field are not immune from the challenges their peers face in other industries. Keeping a level head in the face of adversity and openness in addressing the issue are small, but necessary steps in the direction.
The professional world is in the midst of a revolution. The most successful job seekers adapt to the new environment. They focus primarily on skills and value they can add rather than superficial titles. They take risks joining companies that are challenging norms, pushing innovation and are less concerned with location and prestige. We all need to continue this revolution.
On February 9th 2012, Yeh IDeology continues our strategic relationship with IDSANYC, presenting our second annual Design Summit at the Knoll showroom. This event will present a panel of top designers and business leaders who will be discussing the elements and issues impacting the current state of design and sharing their unique insight on how to approach 2012. Check out the specifics and learn about our panelists below:
You can RSVP here, but move quickly, space is limited!
After the panel discussion, we invite everyone to participate in a Community Connectivity Workshop, it's a great way to come and meet people throughout the design landscape and network, not to mention pick up some cool prizes from Quirky and TerraCycle.
The Panel Discussion will begin promptly at 6:30pm and the event will go on to 9:00pm EST. Come out and enjoy!
At Yeh IDeology our day-to-day consists of matching design talent with companies that need that designers. However, that’s a fairly narrow way to think about design recruitment, and we like to keep the broader picture in mind. Every corporation that hires a new designer grows it’s design department. Each department that grows will reach more individuals with its thinking. And as more people appreciate and value quality design, it gains traction as a positive force not only improving the day-to-day, but also addressing social challenges. Humanitarian aid, much like design thinking, has undergone a substantial shift in recent years. Summed up by Project H’s creed “Design WITH, not FOR” there is now a heavy focus on collaborative long-term solutions. By integrating a system into an existing community, the effort becomes self-sustained and assists individuals not only in the immediate, but also in the long term to gain a greater autonomy and sense of control, addressing (at least in part) the harsh psychological effects of poverty.
One of the exciting organizations that’s expanding the reach of design is Design Impact Founded by Ramsey Ford and Kate Hanisian, Design Impact is a sort of Peace Corps for strategic thinkers with design chops. As their website states:
“We not only scale individual social design solutions, we scale a social design process, sustainably replicating our model. This means more design services offered in the social sector, more people collaborating on pressing issues, and more design solutions fostered simultaneously.”
They do this by bolstering entrepreneurial ventures:
As well as considering health and the environment while working on development:
Design Impact is looking for a new set of fellows to carry on with the great work they have already accomplished. On January 1st they opened their call for the 2012 set of fellows, passionate, talented designers who want to work in the field and do hands-on work in India. Check out their website to see if you'd like to apply!
This is a great organization we are thrilled to support, because after all, Design Impact really seems to get step #5
Our second day at Designboost was comprised of lectures by leaders pushing the boundaries of the design world. Of all of the lectures I was able to attend, I enjoyed the playful energy Philip Tiongson’s company Potion has been bringing to the interaction design & technology space.
My absolute favorite was Aaron Dignan’s lecture entitled “The Future of Work is Play.” He talks about the formula for creativity and play and how business has to understand the fine line and balance between boredom to creativity to anxiety. It’s exciting to hear because this is one of the main aspects that Yeh IDeology analyses when we match talent with our client’s opportunities. We look for that fine balance of variety and challenge so that the right candidate will be as ideally enthralled by the opportunity and the company energized by a committed new member with initiatives that are aligned to their creative team’s mission.
See Aaron's lecture below:
See part one of our coverage of the Designboost event here!
On the first day, I participated in a discussion where the first statement was: “When design has turned global, production is still local.” We debated about the different aspects and ramifications of design and globalization. How do you balance the standardization that comes with globalization and how do you bring local globally? Together with Avani Agarwal, Fredrik Andersson, Carla Diana, Davin Stowell, Barry Richards, Chris Streng, and Karen John in my group we shared our own varying experiences with globalization of design. We came out with so many varying concepts that were diverse in their objectives and solutions.
I hypothesized if you devised a design service template that could overlay any industry culture then the local cultural resources whether it be people, ideas or materials could grow and fill in that lattice. Then structurally each design service template would resemble the others and yet each locale’s end result would be unique from the local origins of it’s ingredients. Somewhat like how Mc Donald’s sells pasta in Italy and sushi in Japan each caters to it’s own local preferences and yet there’s continuity to the brand.
The second event I attended was entitled “Where does politics end and design begin?” In this seminar, together with Ivar Draganja, Avani Agarwal, Carla Diana, Andrea Ruggiero, Julie Taraska, and Brad Dixon, we discussed the various ways in which design and politics impact each other, and if they even should work together. “Can the two form a strong unit, and make a real difference and should they?
I ultimately believe that design could really help our government, especially now when we are seeking to reevaluate the ways in which our government work. Design in the form of design research, design strategy, and service design could play a huge part in helping to explore where to go from here. Think of the research that could be done on the healthcare and education system. This one was a fascinating topic and I was chosen to be video taped for this one. Stay tuned for the clip once it’s posted. I hope I sound articulate.
For each seminar, Designboost chose one representative to speak about the topic at hand. I was lucky enough to be chosen for one of them, and the video should make it onto the Internet sometime soon—I will share it with you then.
That night we all had fun at a speed networking event. Exhausting yet fun and fueled with wine & Swedish whiskey I met so many people passionate with their own unique design initiatives. There was so much networking going on you could barely hear yourself over the cacophony and energy of sharing initiatives & support.
See part two of our coverage of the Designboost event here!
My good friend Meredith Goodwin Bajaj, a Design Manager at Nulux, sent me a quote by today's featured person on Google, Martha Graham, an inspirational dancer and choreographer whose influence on dance as an art form has been compared to the work of Picasso in the world of painting.
In an anecdote from Agnes de Mille about a conversation she had with Graham:
"The greatest thing she ever said to me was in 1943 after the opening of Oklahoma!, when I suddenly had unexpected, flamboyant success for a work I thought was only fairly good, after years of neglect for work I thought was fine. I was bewildered and worried that my entire scale of values was untrustworthy. I talked to Martha. I remember the conversation well. It was in a Schrafft's restaurant over a soda. I confessed that I had a burning desire to be excellent, but no faith that I could be. Martha said to me, very quietly:
'There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ... No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.'"
Thanks to Meredith and Martha Graham for inspiring me today!! :)
I just came across Dr. Woody's blog giving some great advice on "New Year, New Attitude: 10 Career Resolutions YOU Need to Make in 2011". He offers us some excellent suggestions on new proactive ways to look at your future. I actually do practice many of these points in my life in some manner but I love how he's put these points together in a pithy and organized manner and there are new ones I've not considered before. Tips I do 1: Look in the Mirror- I always reflect on what I bring to the world and how to keep improving, 3: Face Three Negatives- I always try to reflect on my mistakes to try to understand my habits better and hope to never repeat them, 4: ah the books and there are so many great books out there. One fun book I'm reading is "Maotai, Mooncakes and Monks" about an expat American in China. 5: Join One Group- Just joined Service Design Network for the first time last year and I'm going to be attending IxDA's conference in Boulder CO this Feb. The most passionate and self driven individuals in any industry often are found at industry groups. 7: Make 12 New Friends- I love finding like minded people who are just as passionate about life and learning. The best friendships are the ones where you teach each other. 8: Take One Risk- last year was a doozy with lots of risk taking, but it was all good for growth and progression of YehID and myself. Change is good. 9: 9: Set Lofty Goals- We’re doing what we can to field all of the needs of our clients but we could be even better at it and one day we’ll find a way to be able to help match more talent to culture 10 times more nimbly while never losing the attention to detail and the quality of our services & matches. 10: Make a YOU Plan: Got it. And reading this blog I'll now revise and enhance mine.
New Tips I'm Going to Try 2: Reminisce on Five Positives. I love this one and I've never tried this. To up my game I'll reflect on the things I've achieved and think about how much they mean to me and how I might even better my approach next time.
6: There are so many things to keep track of. Will definitely look at all of mine and YehID's social profiles and see if anything needs to be revised to reflect me and YehID in 2011.
Dr Woody's blog really does such a great job of defining the topic of Career Resolution that I just ordered his book "The YOU Plan: A 5-Step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy" and will recommend it for my students I'll be teaching in Careers Strategy next semester at Parsons New School.
If you catch this in time Dr. Woody's going to appear on LIVE! w/ Regis & Kelly tomorrow morning to talk about Career Do's and Don't's for 2011!!! Check local listing.
Like Dr. Woody says "Career success starts with YOU! Take charge! Get out of the hot seat! Make it happen!"
Tell us your thoughts on Dr. Woody's 10 Tips, and take a look at our previous blog entry on 2011 New Year's Career Resolutions while you're at it!
How many times have you found that if you have one thing to do one day, you get nothing much done, but if you have 10 things to do in a day, you get half and maybe most of the tasks done? Goal setting is an essential part of progress, being productive, and successful. It helps keep us from milling about aimlessly and helps us direct our energy towards a singular goal. So why don’t most of us do this for our careers as well? Maybe because the timeline feels so long until that next career move or career evolution. Oftentimes once someone is in a job, they focus their energies towards doing their job and hopefully doing it well.
But you can’t forget the bigger picture, which is your career. People come to us at all stages in their careers. Some are young graduates ready to strike out in an industry for the first time, some are mid- to senior-level talent at a mid-point in their career path, transitioning to their next job, and some are very seasoned professionals at the pinnacle of their career path who wonder about their next career step.
No matter when we meet people in their career, we often meet them at a juncture where they don’t know what career direction they should be going in next. Most don’t have a clue and haven’t thought about it. Some individuals who come to us though, have been planning out their future and keeping an eye on the horizon, knowing what they want to reach for next. Those who do are often the individuals who reach their goals and evolve their careers at a much faster pace. Chances are they are enjoying their jobs more and consider their careers to be fun.
You can let fate take you where it will, but you may not like where you end up. Or you can choose a direction to follow. I find it’s much more exciting to choose a direction and follow your passion. Life is so much more fun when you gain some sort of intrinsic gratification from your work, because then the work isn’t work. It’s something you love to do, and chances are that you’re being creative about it.
So wherever you are in your career path and life, remember to stop and look at the bigger picture. Set a calendar reminder from once to four times a year or even more, where you look at the horizon and think about where you want to be in 5 years, 10 years and 20 years. What skills or knowledge do you think you’ll need to get there? What would you like to start working on next? No matter how big or small the goals are, writing down your goals helps you plot out your dream career future.
We would love to hear from you about what your career resolution might be. Let’s start that dialogue and hear your thoughts about your career path.
What is your career Resolution for 2011?
"Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally." - David Frost
“You should set goals beyond your reach so you always have something to live for.” - Ted Turner
I love collecting quotes. They are eloquent, pithy and if it's by someone I admire, it's as if that person was speaking to me. I post them on my corkboard, put them into my calendar and set reminders for the quotes to inspire me to strive for something. "A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder." - Thomas Carlyle