15: Mailbag—Funding models; from output to impact; personal safety and security

In which Jesse and Peter answer questions on funding models, shifting from output to impact, demonstrating value, and the challenges of being a design leader right now.

Questions addressed:

(01:00) “How does a good business fund design activity?”

(09:28) “How can one handle being a good lead designer, when in the company where you work, the majority of product owners don’t understand their role.”

(12:43) “[How can] design influence their orgs to move from an artifact/output-based model of design to a practice/impact one?”

(16:40) “How [can] a design team better frame their unique value inside an organization that is crowded out by engineering voices and investment. How can I articulate the value that the design team creates as being as critical as sound software engineering?”

(26:34) “How can I help my team feel secure and supported when my own world is adrift on stormy seas,” and “How to help my designers feel safe and secure in rocky times.”


Peter: Welcome to Finding Our Way, the podcast where Peter and Jesse invite you on their journey as they navigate the challenges and opportunities of design and design leadership. I’m Peter Merholz. And, as always, with me is Jesse James Garrett. 

Jesse: Hello Peter.

Peter: Hi, Jesse. So today as we enter a kind of summer hiatus, we thought we would take questions from listeners. We polled listeners across Twitter and LinkedIn and got a number of questions. 

To start, thanks to everybody who offered a question, we read them all.

We won’t be able to get to them all. 

There were a set of questions that came in that were essentially around the idea of how to value design

Lar Veale on Twitter asks us: “How does a good business fund design activity?”

Jesse: Where does the money come from?

Peter: This is one of those topics that when I think about understanding what’s really going on behind the scenes, one of those moments for design leaders, at least for some design leaders, is when they realize that 👏finance 👏runs 👏everything.  

Those design leaders have never been equipped to handle that conversation, but the budgets that they get, the headcount that they get, the resources that they get, all of that gets reduced to money. And that money is controlled by those folks over there in finance and in order for design to succeed, the design leader now needs to figure out how to bridge with finance.

Jesse: Right. A whole new audience, a whole new language, a whole different set of things than the leader has ever had to engage with as a designer, most likely.

Peter: When I read this question, I actually thought about a company that we are both familiar with. The funding model was an interesting one. They have a massive centralized product design team.

And the funding for those designers comes from the different lines of business. And so even though the team is managed centrally, the money is contributed, essentially, in a decentralized fashion. And it led to what I considered to be the existential crisis of the design organization, which is a lack of control over how many people they hired and what they had those people work on, because a design leader needs to be able to make a decision around what are people working on, based on the priorities of the business as they understand it.

But if your funding presupposes your headcount, you have now had a key lever of your decision making taken away from you. And then that further puts you in a subservient relationship to that line of business, because you’re basically their work for hire.

Jesse: That’s an interesting take, because it suggests that if you can’t get close to the sources of funding, if you can’t get in a position of power around your funding, you’re never going to have the strategic influence as a design organization that you want to have, is that true?

Peter: I think that’s true. But my ideal world is… Let’s say taking that example where you have different lines of business who all recognize that they need design. Instead of enabling this kind of transactional relationship between that line of business and design, now all those lines of business, somewhat blindly, maybe based on a percentage of their revenue, or percentage of their effort, or some algorithm separate from all of this, that line of business basically pays a tax to the centralized design function. And that goes into a big pool of money that is managed by this design function.

The design team, then looking across the entire business, identifies what matters, what’s important, what are we going to act against, and figures out how to shape its teams and resources to deliver on what the whole business has deemed important.

One of the things that you get with this, that is hard to do when you’re working in this transactional relationship, to answer your other point around being able to make a strategic impact, is that ability to work across the lines of business.

Jesse: You know, I do think that there is a concrete value for businesses in having those purse strings controlled by product owners rather than by design organizations, because those are the people who are currently engaged at that peer level with each other to do that strategic coordination across your product lines.

Unless you’re going to invest design with that responsibility, which really means in some ways elevating design above product management, you’re not going to get there. And so I’m curious about how you do get there. 

So the question is, How does a good business fund design activity? What’s the best funding model for design that you’ve seen in your experience?

Peter: The best model is essentially tied to general company growth. When I was at Groupon, we didn’t have lines of business that funded me or whatever. We had an understanding of how we wanted to grow as an organization, and there was an appreciation of what was needed from a product development standpoint, not just design, but product managers, engineering, data analysis, dev ops, all that kind of stuff.

And design just kind of gets carried along with that growth. Now that ends up leading to ratios often, which is a heuristic for design funding. So if we’re going to hire eight engineers, we’re going to hire one designer. That kind of thing. And those ratios, I’m not against, but I’m not a huge fan of. I find that they are a proxy for understanding growth.

What I’ve tried to do is, when you’re engaged in these headcount planning points in the second half of the year, you’re doing the planning for the next year and you understand what the strategic direction is, and thus what all the programs are. I then plan my designers against those programs, regardless of what other decisions are being made. If we’re going to engage in these five programs of work, well, I’m going to need 10 designers, roughly two per program. And that’s what I asked for. 

What I’ve also learned is you always have to ask for twice as many resources as you actually think you need. 

Jesse: The secret ratio.

Peter: Yeah, well, you know, it’s negotiation. 

When you start operating in these funding models, typical for any large enterprise, you’ve probably already lost the plot, because those funding models end up becoming very transactional and it doesn’t only affect design. 

So you were talking about product management and others. What you’re starting to see is… lines of business. You have your line of business over there. And they’re responsible for P and L of a different business. And then separate from those lines of businesses are technology services. And so these UX designers say are part of a technology service that includes development, engineering, product owners, QA, and dev ops and all that kind of stuff.

Jesse: So everything about product is construed as basically a service organization to the business.

Peter: Exactly. These product development organizations, say they embrace agile at scale, maybe Scaled Agile. 

The problem is baked into agile, baked into scrum. It assumes that that team has autonomy. But if that team is really in service to the line of business, they don’t have autonomy. They’re getting their requirements from outside of their bubble, from people who don’t actually understand what’s happening, but just have these expectations and that really puts the product owner in a difficult position. 

This is one of those challenges, I think, product owners or product managers face that designers often don’t respect or understand—is how much of the decision making has been done before the product owner even starts their work. And they’re just expected to execute on a set of requirements that have been handed to them. One of my clients has been operating in this way and they’re starting to take people from the line of business and make them the product owners.

You know, that’s one of those key distinctions between quote unquote tech, companies, your FAANG companies, and your legacy firms. In tech, those product owners, those product managers are the business there. It’s not a distinction between a line of business and a product.  

In these legacy enterprises, you have lines of business and tech as these distinct entities within the business. And once you have that, you’ve basically already lost it. You’re done. You might as well go back to waterfall. 

Jesse: Wow. that’s I think a bold statement. It’s interesting that you mentioned this just because we actually have an email here that is related to this, coincidentally.

Marina writes in via email, “How can one handle being a good lead designer, when in the company where you work, the majority of product owners don’t understand their role? They are merely order takers for a higher level of the company.” 

And that’s exactly what you’re talking about. She’s sharing the frustration of being in the lead designer role and having to be the person who is chasing down the true meaning behind the requirements that they’re being handed, where the product owners can’t articulate it for them, because it’s not a conversation that they’ve even had with the people in the business that they’re engaging with.

And so then it ends up falling, not on the lead designer, as much as it does on the design leader to reach out into those other parts of the business and start that engagement, but that’s challenging when, to your point about funding models, the funding model that you’ve been set up with creates a prejudice in people’s minds about the nature of the value that you deliver.

There are all kinds of assumptions about your value that are built into how you are funded. And so when you’re engaging with these new parts, these organizations, when you’re diving deeper into the business to have these conversations about the true meaning of these requirements, it’s really hard to engage them in these strategic conversations, when their perception of you is colored by this funding model that puts you in a purely tactical service-oriented role.

Peter: All of that is exactly right. To address Marina’s question, you know, these product owners, they may understand their role, they might be delivering their role. Their role is to execute on what the higher levels of the company have told them. So order-taking might be their role. 

Now, that’s not what we believe is what product owners should be doing, in an ideal context. But that might be what they are expected to be doing in that specific context. And so this is no longer a design and delivery problem.

This is a change management issue. You need to start working with your product peers and engineering peers and, developing arguments for why you should be working differently with those higher orders of the company. You need to help those higher orders of the company understand how they are constraining opportunity from square one with how they are behaving, and that if they want to realize greater potential, need to change how you all work together. 

So, it’s not a straightforward design problem. It is this organization, process-oriented change management problem, that’s going to be really hard, it’s not going to be straightforward. It’s a quick thing to say, and it will take years, it will take literally years to deliver.

Jesse: Yeah. Well, when framed that way, what I hear is a lot of politics and politics is a slow and messy business and anything that requires a lot of politics to bring about is not something that’s going to happen on a six-month timeline. It’s going to be 18 months to two years to lay the groundwork for that kind of change at that scale that you’re talking about.

Music break

Peter: I think we can connect this thread to another question, from Pavel Samsonov, who asks, “It’d be great to hear your thoughts on how designers can influence their orgs to move from an artifact/output-based model of design to a practice/impact-based one.”

When I was working with Capital One, many years ago, I ended up talking a little bit with Aradhana Goel, who developed an approach to trying to address this funding model, to make it less directly transactional—“I give you money. You give me heads.” And instead, because her background was consulting, she was able to draw on that consulting practice and say, “You’re not giving me money for heads. You’re giving me money for results. And here’s my commitment to you. I will deliver this kind of impact through this work. So let’s have that agreement in terms of figuring out what are essentially metrics of our success that I am committing to in exchange for this money. And so you will give me that money. I will spend it as I see fit to deliver that impact. And that’s my commitment to you. And if I don’t deliver on that, you can hold me accountable.” 

And so you change the conversation away from money for heads to money for results. And that’s, I think, essentially what Pavel was asking about. How do you frame it, not so that it’s about artifacts and outputs, but practice and impact.

And the mechanism I’ve seen that works best, it still takes quite a fair bit of management in order to realize its success, but is, OKRs, objectives and key results.

I had a boss, Jocelyn Mangan, she hired me at Snagajob, and she was a firm believer in OKRs. And OKRs done right focus an organization, not on output, but on impact. Key results should be about, How are we making an impact? Key results aren’t, “I shipped something, check.” Key results are “20% of people are engaged in a new activity” or, ”Revenues have gone up 35%,” or whatever, and you focus on those results and whatever it takes to get to those results, that’s up to the team to figure out.

That might be a mechanism that you can introduce to shift that orientation away from output and towards outcomes. And if you’re looking for resources on that front, Radical Focus by Christina Wodtke is probably the best handbook for OKRs that I am familiar with.

Jesse: It’s a good one. You highlight an interesting challenge in this, which is that in a lot of organizations, the way that design work is framed is not actually that much in the control of the design leader. That the way that the value is framed by the executive leadership of the organization is often filtered through the perception of design by your peers, particularly your peers in technology as, as you were talking about, design often ends up lashed to technology, as an enterprise level service in these organizations, then the models by which development and engineering are managed, then become the models that design inherits, because that’s what the executive leadership is used to consuming from their technology organization.

It then entails a reframing of what a performance metric even is in some of these organizations, to bring about the kind of conversation that you’re talking about to shift that perception. 

Peter: I like your use of the verb lashed, like somehow we’re kind of manacled or otherwise like literally bound to these technologies. So what you just said, I think connects, to Chris Jones, who sent us an email:

“I’m curious how you would consult a design team to better frame their unique value inside an organization that is crowded out by engineering voices and investment. How can I articulate the value the design team creates as being as critical as sound software engineering?” 

This is part of why, a number of episodes ago, we talked as much as we did about charter-building and team definition. Design teams don’t do enough to define themselves, which means in the absence of that, they are defined by the others around them and those that preceded them.

Unless a designer is a founder who is establishing a design practice, when the design practice is established, it’s established by a non-designer who has a set of expectations that are likely not as robust or sophisticated as we would hope. And so as design blooms within an organization, it needs to take that time to define itself in a fashion that’s distinct from the other parts of the organization. 

I just did this with a product design team. And there were two aspects that I think are interesting in this regard. One is, and I’m biased towards this term, as you’ll see in a moment, one is we define the design team as essentially bearing the torch for humanism within product development. That recognition that there are people at the other end, those people lead messy lives, and it is the design team’s responsibility to make sure that what we build connects with the humanity that we are serving, because frankly, no one else in product development is in this organization.

The product managers are primarily held responsible to revenue goals, and engineering is held responsible to software delivery. And so no one actually has that empathetic view of the customer. There’s an extractive view of the customer as a source, as a source of revenue, but not an empathetic view of the customer. And so let’s make explicit design exists to serve the customer in that way, because nobody else in this context is.  

And then the other thing you can do is, be very clear in your measures of success, the value that you see yourself bringing. I think there’s some concern that designers, you know, don’t want to be held accountable. It’s like, no, here’s a set of metrics. Hold us accountable. Please hold us accountable. But hold us accountable to stuff that we think that matters, that we can now get others to agree matters. We’re happy to sign up for them. Yeah. So you have to make the time and effort to be explicit about defining design within your context yourselves, and not let others define it for you, or allow it to have happened through neglect or ignorance.

Jesse: Yeah, you can’t just leave it out there and hope that it’s going to be all right. You have to take active control of the message about design and its value within the organization. And I think this comes back around to something that we’ve talked about in the past, which is honestly the need for a design leader, especially early on, to be something of a salesperson for design as a practice, more broadly, and not simply for the value that their team delivers, but the value of design itself.

Peter: Yeah. Looking at Chris’s question again, I think it ties into Pavel’s. “How can I articulate the value the design team creates as being as critical as sound software engineering?” And I think the way you do that is try to understand what does the company value. So in this instance that I was talking about before, the company valued revenue obviously, but, okay.

So if that’s the highest order bit that the company is oriented on, well, then connect what you’re doing to revenue. Show how the efforts of your team will generate more revenue. Maybe reduce the bottom line. It shouldn’t be that hard to connect the efforts of design to those levers that the business is most interested in, you just have to do the work.

When we did that ROI of design report a thousand years ago at Adaptive Path, we had this thing called the linking elephants. Where you connected a business problem with a desired behavior, you measure that behavior, you connect a value metric to that behavior, and then you identify a financial metric.

And so you can say, if, you know, we did this for a financial services client, if we can get 20% of our existing customers to open one additional account, so you have a checking account, we want you to open a savings account, or we want you to have a credit card with us. So the desired behavior opening an account. And then there’s modeling there that should allow you to spreadsheet that out.

But, it requires designers and design leaders to be willing to put on their business hat and work with spreadsheets, which is not something many are comfortable with. But if you want to make the kind of change that people are asking for in these questions, you now need to be part of that conversation.

Jesse: I think that’s true. I will say also though, that models like the linking elephants model presumed that there is a trail to follow there. That it presumes that there is something concrete that you can nail down and name at every stage of that investigation into the underlying value of the work.

But the truth is that that’s not always there. And sometimes the value that’s delivered really is not identifiable in as concrete away. And I think in cases like this, it becomes a question of culture, because the truth is that as much as we think of design as being unique in these organizations, in the sort of weirdness of design as a function, the truth is that most organizations have some functions for which the value and the impact are not tangible in this way. In these organizations, there will be a culture of decision making around how they measure the unmeasurable, how they qualify the unquantifiable, how they come to decisions about areas where there is value that they can perceive, but that value is intangible.

And if you can figure out where the other intangible sources of value are in the organization, learn about the culture of how the organization makes decisions around those things, you can then start to leverage those patterns in how you make the case for the intangible value of design.

Peter: My sense, based on the questions, is that these folks are in an environment where before they get to be culturally intangibly valuable, they need to be explicit and demonstrate some hard value first. I don’t think it’s an either/or, I think it’s a yes-and.

Jesse: I think these questions do come into play to different degrees based on the maturity of the design organization within the larger organization that they’re a part of because yes, in the early days, there is going to be a lot of proving tactical value. Getting those delivery wins in order to start to gain more attention. But then having to push it toward that broader strategic holistic intangible impact conversation because you can’t rely on your executives to do it for you.

Peter: That’s right. That is exactly right. My point was only that you can’t only pursue the cultural intangible.

Jesse: Oh yeah. Yeah. Just, sometimes there is no trail of evidence to follow.

Peter: Right. Yeah. If I think of engineering as really about building, maybe the challenge here is that there’s a building aspect of design, but then there’s the generative and creative aspects of design. 

I think the challenge that we see within the world of quote design unquote, is that there are two components of it that are kind of represented by both sides of the double diamond. There’s design work that can be used in a strategic fashion that identifies opportunities, that’s generative and creative and harder to measure. That’s where you’re going to be more in the intangible. And then there’s the design work in the second diamond. And that’s much more about delivery, much more about production, much more about tweaking to realize incremental gains.

Both are valuable, both are called design, but they’re really different parts of the value chain. They don’t think that that function that helps with delivery, you can take those same practices and generate that strategic understanding.

In either way, design gets dismissed. Design, if seen as a delivery function, design is not brought in to help with the strategic kinds of questions. But if it’s seen as primarily strategic, then design is sometimes just seen as a bunch of hand-wavy management consultants who don’t really know what it takes deliver value in the very end. And it’s just like, we can’t win either way.

Jesse: Right, yeah. I think that’s true. And I think that this leads to some of the confusion in the marketplace about what a UX role even entails. So we have these young people coming out of these UX programs and boot camps and so forth who think that they’re going to get to do soup to nuts UX out there in the world. And the roles that are available, you’re going to be kind of shunted to one side or another.

Music break  

Peter: So two questions that came in, both on Twitter, both addressed the challenges of being a design leader right now. Austin Govella asked about, “helping my team feel secure and supported when my own world is a drift on stormy seas,” and Joie Chung asked, “The main thing top of mind these days is maybe getting advice on how to help my designers feel safe and secure in rocky times, and especially keeping the morale up after dealing with layoffs of other teams and reorgs because of those layoffs. The key thing is there’s a lot of change and I can’t promise them there won’t be more.”

Jesse: Hmm. Stormy seas.

Peter: So we’ve got stormy seas, rocky times, its a lot of weather, and, nautical references.

Jesse: Well, there’s a lot of weather for sure.

Helping people hang in through layoffs and reorgs is tough. I think it puts everybody into a questioning mindset, and they start questioning things that are not actually up for grabs, but it can feel that way. It can feel like everything about a company is suddenly questionable when the leadership starts making these unexpected and rather dramatic moves. You know, this is where I come back to the stuff that I’ve been talking about all season, which is building emotionally resilient teams. And that has mostly to do with the people that you interact with every day and whether you feel like they are on your side and whether you feel like you are on theirs.

And if you were feeling strong alignment with the people around you, and if you feel like you can show up honestly and vulnerably with what’s challenging you, and can feel supported by the people around you, that goes a long way, because you can’t actually promise as a design leader that there won’t be more change. You can’t promise that that change won’t be really very difficult for people. You can’t insulate them. You can’t keep them safe.

Peter: You can’t promise that you’ll be there.

A glib answer to this that I still think has some merit is, it is up to the leader, even in difficult times, rocky and stormy times, to maintain positivity. If we extend the nautical metaphor, to point the way forward towards calmer seas, to orient people on not getting stuck in this muck, but problem solving around how are we going to get to a more desirable outcome and how do we focus our energies now. Not on worrying about what’s happening around us, that we don’t have control over,  but on doing what we can on the things that we do have control over, to make progress and to chart that progress and to recognize the steps that you’re taking to move things forward, and even if it’s very near term or very seemingly minor, getting folks focused on those steps towards something better.

Jesse: Yeah, I think that what you’re speaking to is a kind of a leveling up that the leader can do. To step back away from the immediate tactical churn of the moment and remind the team, if you’ve done charter work, as we’ve talked about on this show, then you have something to fall back on to talk about shared purpose. And if that charter seems to be in doubt in the current environment, then you have your own sense of purpose to fall back on. And this is something that I think is really critical for maintaining that positivity that you’re talking about, which I agree is absolutely essential, which is that you, as the leader, have to take care of yourself, you have to maintain your own resilience.

You have to maintain your own ability to bounce back in the face of these things. And what that means is making sure that you are, even in the uncertainty, even in the doubt, even in the face of all of it, remembering for yourself, why you do what you do and giving yourself whatever space, whatever time, whatever ritual you need to maintain that connection for yourself so that you can show up for your team.

Peter: Yeah, I… one) try to get plenty of sleep. I find that that has more impact on my personal mood than literally any other thing in my life. As you were talking, it reminded me of a leadership coach that I worked with through this former boss of mine through Jocelyn, she had an executive coach that she brought to work with all of her directs, including me. And this woman had a model that maybe you’re familiar with. I don’t know where she got it from, but it was this idea of the line. And there’s below the line and above the line, and below the line is that initial, emotional, visceral reaction that often is frightened, negative, worried, and her point is to acknowledge that which happens below the line, but don’t let that drive your behavior. Like sit with it, recognize it, work through it. But if you behave based on your below-the-line feelings, you are going to lash out.

You are going to yell, you are going to engage in negative behaviors that bring others down. And so what you need to do is figure out, how do you get yourself above the line, into a more, progressive, positive, optimistic, forward-looking space, that’s still true to the concerns that you were feeling below the line, but now your response is more measured and is one of taking charge, of taking positive action, of problem solving, of, again, that kind of forward motion.

So it’s not a simple reaction. Sometimes, it’s the simplest thing of, like, what we say to a five-year-old before they react: count to 10, take belly breaths. 

Jesse: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. What you’re talking about is behaving intentionally and not reflexively. And those reflexes don’t always look like a big lashing out or yelling at your team or anything like that. Those reflexes can also look like procrastination. They can also look like suddenly becoming really, really vague in your communications or avoiding particular people or particular conversations.

There are lots of counterproductive reflexive habits that are driven by these emotional states that we find ourselves in, and yeah, there’s definitely a lot to leadership that involves simply being able to manage your own emotional states. And being able to process whatever comes up for you and to be able to hold yourself in non-judgment in the same ways that we’ve talked about holding others in non-judgment. In order to maintain, and this fear of trust and mutual support.

First, you’ve gotta be able to give that support to yourself.

Peter: Part of, I think, giving that support to yourself, whether it’s something you invest in directly, or your organization invests in for you, is recognition that you need your outlet, you can’t bottle this stuff up. You need a way to get this out. 

I mean, this was something that Maria touched on when we spoke with her, which is at some point you get to a point where simply talking to your manager isn’t enough. They’re not going to be the ones to help you. And maybe, depending on your relationship with your manager, maybe you can be frank about the challenges you’re facing. You can, you can expose a little bit of that negativity upwards, because you need their help. You need some guidance.  

Jesse: And a good leader should expect that, and be ready for it. 

Peter: Exactly, exactly. So that they can then help you work through that. Maybe even just talk it out. Sometimes it’s one of those things, it’s like therapy. Just getting it out of your head and into the world or sharing that challenge with someone else makes you realize like you’re not alone in it.

And that is enough to help you get from below the line to above the line. But then hopefully they have strategies for thinking about how to address whatever the specific situation is. If you don’t have that, that’s where you might need to find coaches, mentors, but it is incumbent upon you to identify people that you can turn to when things become difficult, or folks are just going to suffer with what you were just talking about, Jesse, in terms of kind of bringing it on themselves and kind of becomes this vicious cycle, even if it’s not aggressive, it might be, procrastinating or literally passive but it’s, it’s problematic. 

Jesse: Yes, there are a million paths to self sabotage.

Peter: How many have you taken?  

Jesse: I’m, I’m, I’m trying to catch them all just like Pokemon.

Uh, you and I, over the course of this first season of this show have often talked about the path of the leader as a fairly lonely one and a fairly isolating one and a fairly solitary one. And we often talk about what do you do when you’re the only one who can do the thing that needs to be done. And I think that what you point out is really essential for all leaders, which is not to stay alone. But to go find yourself a peer group and find some folks that you can turn to for support.  

Peter: Right. I want to, refocus on a word that both Joie and Austin had, which was the word “secure,” and Joie asks how to help designers feel safe/secure. Austin asks, “helping my team feel secure and supported.” And I think… I’m not certain… I’m thinking through this… I’m not certain that it is the design leader’s job to provide security, particularly in the face of this rockines, if that security feels like a false promise, right? 

You don’t want to mislead, and security might literally be misleading to your team.

Here, that security would be, “Everything is going to be fine. You’re not going anywhere. You’ve got a good job. Do work and it will all be okay.” That might not be true. And you might know that might not be true. And so don’t provide a false sense of security if that’s not going to help your team actually do what they need to, to address whatever the situation is. Austin used the word “supported.” That, you can do. That is within your control. You can support your team a hundred percent and you should do everything you can to support your team. Get them the resources they need. Give them the time that they need, give them guidance around how to move forward in the ways we were talking about. Maybe it’s baby steps on project work, and just focus on what we do control and try to ignore what we don’t control to make your way through, Right? 

So you can support them. But I don’t think you can help them feel secure. Their security is their responsibility. Through your supporting actions, through your nurturing actions, through your leadership and guidance, you are going to affect their security, but you cannot provide security. They are not your children. 

Jesse: You can definitely undermine a sense of security through your choices.

Peter: Well, right. And you will undermine that sense of security if you provide a false sense of security that then is not delivered on. As we discussed, then 

they’ll just lose trust, and then all bets are off. So, what I would say is focus less on security and focus more on trust. And engage in behaviors that encourage your team to trust you. ‘Cause that’s about all you’re going to have control over, and one another, because that’s all your going to have control over. 

Jesse: Yes.  Beautifully put. 

Peter: Does that distinction make sense to you? 

Jesse: Oh, yeah, that does make sense to me. Yeah, I actually don’t have anything to add to that. That was great. So with that, I think we ought to just say thank you to folks for sticking with us through these first 15 episodes.

Peter: Yeah, this is 15, huh?  Wow.

Before we go, I do want to shout out folks who sent us questions that we did not yet get to. This is going to be like Magic Mirror on Romper Room. I’m not going to give people’s full, I’m not going to give people’s full names. But Dan, Daniel, Shelby, Sharon: Jesse and I see you, we read you, we appreciate your questions. Some of those questions frankly are episodes in and of themselves. And we expect to get to them when we’re on the other side of this hiatus, we will not lose them, but we couldn’t get to it.

Jesse: All good questions, some of them we were so confident we would come back to, we wanted to give them enough space.

Peter: Exactly. Exactly.

So with that, we are wrapping up another episode of Finding Our Way, and wrapping up what Jesse and I have referred to as this first season, this 15 episode chunk. We are taking some time off for the summer. And so…

Jesse: Get out in the sunshine! 

Peter: That’s right. get some vitamin D, limit our exposure to COVID and episodes should be be coming out again, sometime, we think in the late-ish August timeframe. 

Jesse: Right around Labor Day, plus or minus. 

Peter: Yeah. And so until then, we thank you for joining us on our journey, as we have been figuring out how we find our way through some of these challenges of design and design leadership.

And just because we are not publishing doesn’t mean we’re not around, feel free to hit us up on Twitter. I’m @peterme, he’s @jjg.  You can find us through our website, https://findingourway.design/, where you can also find all of our episodes, transcripts of every episode, and then a contact form that we read.

That’s where some of the questions that we have received came through. And until then have a great summer, take care of yourselves. Take care of those around you. And we look forward to further discussions in the future. Thank you, Jesse.

Jesse: Finding our way. 

Hidden Track

Peter: [Singing] How many roads must a man walk down before he is a… 

Jesse: Is the, this is the musical episode, finding our way.

Peter: [Singing] A whole new world.

Jesse: Peter, what are you doing?

Peter: I’m singing. I had a, I had a double espresso, on top of my morning coffee, so I am good to go.

Jesse: Oh man. Well, I should have been more prepared, I guess…

Peter: You can…

Jesse: I thought we were going to sort of take it easy here for the last…

Peter: You can be yin to my yang.

Jesse: Isn’t this where we came in?

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