It makes sense that we would see more effective outcomes and greater satisfaction from the same amount of effort by doing more of what we're good at, rather than always trying to shore up areas where we are weak. Sure we all have areas we can and should improve, but if we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths, we may end up with a job, or a life, in which our natural talents go untapped. Do you get the opportunity to do what you do best every day? If not, the book Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath (Gallup), intends to help you change that, first by getting crystal clear on what your own strengths are, and then developing your goals around what you do best.
How clear are you on what your own strengths are? If you're anything like I was, you may feel like you generally could list off a few, but may wonder if you under- or over-estimate some of your own strengths, and feedback from other people doesn't always include a complete picture of you. That's why I keep recommending this resource to anyone who wants to design and develop their future based on what they do best.
The Strengths Finder 2.0 book - both the kindle version and the physical book - come with a code to take the Strengths Finder test (which is $25 by itself to take on their website, so the book is a good deal). The test is similar to the Meyers-Briggs personality test, but rather than focusing on personality traits it helps people uncover their talents, which is highly actionable for developing life-changing goals. I'm often skeptical of these tests (would I answer this question differently on a different day?) but I felt that my results were spot-on, and I found the advice in the book to be really insightful and more tailored to my experience than most books.
This is a great time of year to reflect on what we've accomplished and think about our goals, as we approach a new year. If you've ever wanted to get more clarity on your own strengths, I recommend this book as a first step to living a life designed around what you do best.
People who have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general.
It can be SO hard to communicate your reaction to something visual using words. Whether it's negative, or positive, the words many of us come up with are often not very useful for creative direction. But it is possible, if you can remember just a few rules (8 of them, conveniently listed here), to get the very best outcome from the feedback you give the designers you work with. Very few people - including designers - give really good design feedback. Good feedback should be actionable, but not prescriptive. Good feedback will help the entire team participate in the design of a product, and share the responsibility of success, without creating ‘design by committee,’ which is a common way designs get derailed. Feedback that is given and received well should improve the customer experience, while allowing each person to add valuable insight. The 8 Rules for Better Design Feedback
So much of what moves us forward -- or holds us back -- in any job is about relationships. And core to building healthy relationships -- or repairing damage -- is about how we communicate. Inevitably in mentoring sessions, this book comes up as a suggestion for common problems that arise at work. Whether the issue at hand is with a managers or co-worker, a spouse or family member, the techniques in this book are relevant to every situation. I've had multiple people thank me for referring this book to them, and I am grateful to the wise person who referred it to me. This is one of those book I still return to, in fact I bought it in both kindle and paperback formats because I like to quickly thumb through paperback when I'm looking for something in particular, but I like having the convenience of Kindle with me everywhere.
Tim Brown was one of IDEO's founders as well as one of the founders of the acclaimed D-School at Stanford. Some say they 'invented' Design Thinking, others call it a branded version of what many call 'User-centered design.' Regardless, for anyone who wants to get inspired and learn more about how Design Thinking could help them transform their organization, this book is a must.
When Fast Company interviewed former apple designer Mark Kawano about his insights into why apple design is so great, the article went viral in the design community. His primary message was this — design can’t just belong to designers… for great product design, everyone throughout the product lifecycle has to want, understand, and contribute to great design. What Kawano was saying was so core to UX strategists and designers around the globe, why did it sound so novel, so different than the companies many designers work at, or products we produce? My experience is that it’s fairly uncommon to find UX really integrated with business and dev, especially at larger companies. If you have it, that’s something special (and I would love to meet you!).
‘us’ vs. ‘them’ mentality Designers like working in design teams, and developers like working in dev teams. PMs work in business teams, and marketers have their teams too. Having centralized functional teams can make for better morale, increased talent acquisition and retention, and can also help distribute specialization across workstreams...