March 30, 2016
by Tammy Sachs, CEO
Those lucky enough to attend the interactive panel on embracing the power of UX/CX leaders held by IxDA on March 17th at MasterCard’s amazing innovation center got an inside glimpse into where our industry is headed. The concept? Bring together UX leaders in different environments (startup, agency, enterprise, consulting) and enjoy an intimate dialogue with the audience about how to select, grow, and be a leader in each.
A number of themes emerged during the conference and there were some crucial sound bytes that I feel capture the essence of what we are trying to accomplish. Here are some thought provoking points the panel made:
1. Throw people in the deep end so they are immersed in what leaders do. Take them to important meetings to shadow so that they can see where career growth will take them as well as see how lead
2. Be bold
— don’t wait to get asked to the dance, invite yourself. Assume you are wanted at the table and make your contribution known. Develop a tough skin.
3. Play to people’s strengths & passions — be aware of what those around you are good at and/or interested in. For example, some are naturally fascinated with service design and shaping experiences that intersect between the physical and digital. Encourage and grow those passions internally wherever possible.
4. Different skills are needed in different environments
and play to different perso
nalities. Inside leaders are masterful at managing up and tend to enjoy being engaged in the entire product development process. Consultants and agency folks are more likely to enjoy coming in and out of an engagement and working in multiple domains. Also, outside leaders enjoy the challenge of learning different styles of communication with different clients and are highly adept at switching gears.
5. Know what leaders look for in hiring — passion, curiosity, empathy, the ability to listen (vs. hear) and learn and demonstration of what you’ll contribute from Day one.. Do your homework on the culture of the organization you’re interviewing with and the leadership style of the UX/CX lead. Good leaders will make very clear the kinds of soft and hard skills they seek.
6. Know the lingo — the importance of speaking the language of business and the brand cannot be understated. To succeed in UX/CX, you need to be conversant in the language of business and speak to how what you do drives business outcomes.
Overall, the lively dialogue that surrounded the conference addressed some of the challenges, pain points, and opportunities in our profession across environments. The opportunity to speak with and learn from each other is always a valuable and treasured experience — we can’t wait to be involved in another one.