Masterclasses

Join us for a series of 90 minute Masterclasses featuring some of the most influential design leaders in our field. These practical, hands on sessions will help you grow your leadership toolkit, and be the best leader you can possibly be.

You can select from all the Masterclasses when you purchase The Full Package Pass, alternatively individual Masterclasses are now available. Please note Masterclasses run concurrently so you can only book one Masterclass per day.

Masterclasses will run on Zoom Tuesday 9, 16, 23 and 30 March from 4.30pm to 6pm GMT/BST.
That's 9.30am - 11am PDT and 12.30pm - 2pm EDT with 1 hour adjustments when the clocks change.
The schedule will be show in your location time and we will send out diary invites to ensure the timings for all classes are clear!

We'll be adding more Masterclasses in the coming weeks so be sure to check back or sign up to our mailing list to hear about them first.

Any specific questions on the content of the Masterclasses please drop us a line on events@clearleft.com

Masterclass Day 1

Aaron Irizarry

Gauge And Improve Your Emotional Intelligence As A Leader

Aaron Irizarry - Head of Credit Solutions Design, Capital One

Data indicates that psychological safety, more than anything else is critical to making a team work. When emotionally intelligent leaders create psychological safe spaces their teams do their best work.

In this 90min Masterclass attendees will learn about the importance of being an emotionally intelligent leader. We will dig deeper into the impacts emotionally intelligent leadership has on a team's ability to collaborate and deliver as well as what happens when emotional intelligent leadership isn't present.

We will do a collaborative activity that will help attendees...

  • Increase our awareness of our own, and others’ preferences and working styles.

  • Use emotional intelligence as a foundation for team and partner empathy.

  • Walk away with a better understanding of how our working styles have their strengths and their limitations.

  • Understand the ways a diversity of working styles makes for better teamwork and results.

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Julia Whitney

From Combat to Collaboration: Deepen your Conflict Competence

Julia Whitney - Executive Coach, Whitney and Associates

Is your team's performance sabotaged by in-fighting and personal attacks? Or are you all too polite, only saying what you really think once you've left the meeting? These are just a couple of examples of what being bad at conflict looks like. And being bad at conflict is a major obstacle to high team performance.

In this Masterclass we’ll explore how to cultivate conflict competence to fuel high performance, instead of derail it. We’ll look at the four most common types of workplace conflict, and discuss how to address each when they come up. And we’ll talk about different styles of dealing with conflict, and how to work constructively with each style when you encounter it.

Julia will begin the Masterclass by giving a short presentation to introduce the concepts we’ll be working with. She’ll then facilitate small and large group discussions, designed to help you think through the kinds of conflict you’re experiencing at work, and learn from the experience of your peers. By the end you’ll be better at mining conflict for it’s gems, and diffusing it’s destructive potential.

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Peter Merholz

Design Leadership Fundamentals Part 1: Leadership is about Relationships

Peter Merholz - Consultant and Author

When designers become design leaders, they often don't realise that the skills that got them there aren't the skills that will carry them forward. To be a great designer is to be a remarkable craftsperson and problem-solver. To be a great design leader is to excel at relationships.

In this, the first of a two part series on Design Leadership Fundamentals, we'll focus on two crucial sets of relationships: with the team you lead, and your cross functional peers. We'll discuss strategies and tactics for best engaging others, and provide an assessment tool to grade yourself (and your team, afterward).

This Masterclass is structured not as a workshop with activities, but a facilitated conversation among peers. Peter will provide brief presentations to set the table, and then lead a discussion to find out your challenges, your successes, and take advantage of collective intelligence to better enlighten us all.

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Chris Avore

Designing Design Teams (Part 1): Crafting the Pipeline

Chris Avore - Design manager, Speaker, and Author

Building high performing teams is one of the most important responsibilities for design leaders. But the task of finding the best candidates to join your team may leave you feeling overwhelmed and underprepared.

This masterclass examines how to strategically design almost every facet of the recruiting process leading up to the interview. Even if you work for a large organization with a fully staffed recruiting team or go it alone in a startup or agency, we’ll uncover how the most effective design managers influence and support recruiting practices to be fast and successful.

We’ll discuss tips, approaches and techniques to create an environment that reduces bias, creates efficient, fair screening, and reflects a healthy, psychologically safe environment that the best candidates will want to join as they begin the hiring process. We’ll review effective job descriptions and what sets them apart, and how to engage designers who may not be looking until they hear from you. We’ll also be sure to include ample time for discussion so all participants have ample opportunity to learn from and share with each other.

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Lauren Currie

Democratising Leadership Development

Lauren Currie - CEO, Stride

Most of you won’t have any formal leadership development training until you’re 42. Yes, you guessed right my friend. This means that most of you will, or have been, leading people and teams for over a decade with no leadership training. That’s the main reason we’re building Stride; a next-generation leadership development platform for early-stage leaders and their teams.

In this Masterclass we’ll be using one of our most popular lessons on the Stride platform to help you;

  • Bust leadership myths that are holding you and your team back
  • Dig into why we need to re-design leadership development
  • Reflect and draw conclusions on how you think about leadership and your role as a leader

Can’t wait to meet you for a virtual hi-five.

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Masterclass Day 2

Alastair Simpson

Empathetic Leadership

Alastair Simpson - VP Design, Dropbox

Design leadership is a tough job. You juggle hitting business goals, addressing customer needs, setting vision and strategy, along with a myriad of human needs that come with the job. How do you know what to prioritize and invest your energy into when all factors are arguably important? I’m a firm believer in the designing your people and practices first so the rest can follow. But how do you do that in one of the world's fastest moving industries? Let’s talk about how to develop your ability to be an empathetic people-centered leader.

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Peter Merholz

Design Leadership Fundamentals Part 2: Leadership is about Leverage

Peter Merholz - Consultant and Author

When designers become design leaders, among the difficulties they face is letting go of doing the work, and shifting their focus to creating environments that enable others to do great work. It's not about how good of a designer the design leader is; it's about their ability to make their team more effective and impactful.

In this, the second of a two part series on Design Leadership Fundamentals, we'll tackle three key areas for creating leverage. The first is how you manage up, working with executives and other stakeholders, to ensure your team has the space it needs to do great work. Then we'll discuss the challenges of supporting design teams as they scale, and the need for systems and structures that maintain effectiveness and high quality and not drown in communication overhead. Lastly, we'll look inward, on how the design leader is managing their most precious asset: their time.

This Masterclass is structured not as a workshop with activities, but a facilitated conversation among peers. Peter will provide brief presentations to set the table, and then lead a discussion to find out your challenges, your successes, and take advantage of collective intelligence to better enlighten us all.

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Donna Lichaw

Maximize Your Impact With Story Driven Leadership

Donna Lichaw - Leadership and Executive Coach, Speaker, Author

What do great leaders have in common with superheroes from fictional comic books and movies? They have a clear idea of the impact they want to make on the world and the courage, curiosity, superpowers, and Kryptonite (this is a key ingredient, I promise) needed to make it all happen. All of that is a story—your story, your journey. It’s one that you tell and, more importantly, one that you can design with deliberate care and intent. The better the story, the better the results for you, your team, and your organization.

In this hands-on, interactive masterclass you’ll learn how to map your journey as a leader so that you can make the impact that you want to make—using design thinking, lean, and agile skills that you already have. You’ll leave with a vision of where you, your team, and your organization are going as well a plan of action that you can implement right away—in a style that feels powerful and authentic to you. And that’s a good story.

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Tutti Taygerly

How To Work with Difficult People

Tutti Taygerly - Leadership / Executive Coach

We all know difficult people. It might be that cross-functional peer, that boss you never fully aligned with, or the under-performer on your team who sucked up way too much of your energy. And occasionally we might find ourselves to be the difficult person. As designers and researchers, we know the value of listening to our users and empathizing with their needs. As creators, we know the value of curiosity. As communicators, we know the value of relationships.

In this masterclass, we will learn and apply 5 leadership principles on all the difficult people you might encounter. Through interactive exercises, attendees will practice these principles. Individuals will have the opportunity to share their own stories to receive feedback and coaching.

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Chris Avore

Designing Design Teams (Part 2): The Intentional Interview & Offer Playbook

Chris Avore - Design manager, Speaker, and Author

Crafting a diverse talent pool of warm and cool candidates with varying skills and backgrounds does not mean the design manager’s mission to grow the team is close to complete. This masterclass examines the work that begins after you start booking interviews.

We’ll discuss what questions should be in your interview script and how to objectively score responses, being careful to check both bias and slick talk. We’ll also investigate reviewing portfolios and spend time discussing design exercises, why they’re problematic, and what to do if your organization insists on assigning activities before a decision. We’ll also uncover what signals to look for to give you high conviction when interviewing team members ranging from independent contributors to managers. We’ll also complete the funnel by discussing how to make fair, competitive and equitable offers when you’ve made your decision.

Participants will have numerous opportunities to share what has worked well and what to avoid from their own experiences in our 90 minutes together.

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Masterclass Day 3

Aaron Irizarry

Creating A Vision That Sets Your Team Up For Success

Aaron Irizarry - Head of Credit Solutions Design, Capital One

When teams have a shared vision it becomes much easier to increase team communication and collaboration. Not only are teams aligned but when a team vision is shared and understood by partners it improves partners relationships and collaboration.

In this 90 min Masterclass attendees will learn the value of having a shared team vision, how it can help the team work autonomously, and how it can strengthen partner relationships. Attendees will learn what goes into creating successful vision.

We will do an activity that will help attendees...

  • Understand the key components of a team vision

  • Create a draft of a shared vision (mock or real)

  • Get feedback from one another and refine their vision

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Kristin Skinner

Designing Your Design Organization

Kristin Skinner - Co-author, Org Design for Design Orgs, Founder &GSD

Companies that excel at design grow revenues and shareholder returns at nearly twice the rate of their industry peers. So why aren’t more companies joining their ranks? We recognize that it’s not just the product of design or strategy, but the unseen stuff “behind the scenes” that ultimately affects quality. We need to intentionally design (and redesign and redesign) our organizations.

In this masterclass, we'll examine the 12 qualities of effective design organizations. We'll leverage industry examples for assessing a design organization, score our organization against each quality, and use the results to identify areas that need work. And we'll focus on the inflection points your teams may encounter, recognizing when your team is backsliding, and actively assess and take action.

Key takeaways:

  • The top 3 most common issues design teams face

  • Identifying what change looks like for your team

  • Measuring success

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Julia Whitney

A Coaching Approach to Design Leadership 1: Coaching Skills to get the best out of your team, your peers, and even your boss

Julia Whitney - Executive Coach, Whitney and Associates

Day in and day out, Design Leaders need to manage up, down and sideways. You need to influence your boss, your peers and your team, and work collaboratively with them to help solve shared problems, big and small. Bringing coaching skills into your interactions at work can give you a big leg up, and can help you build trust and understanding along the way.

In this Masterclass, the first of a two part series on a Coaching Approach to Design Leadership, we’ll focus on deepening the skills that are the foundation of the art of coaching: powerful questioning, “level 5” listening and reflecting back with proficiency. Each of these skills is useful in and of itself, but in combination they’re even more powerful. And when you use Coaching Skills along with the G.R.O.W. model - the topic of the second Masterclass in this two part series - you’ll be amazed at the impact you can have.

In this Masterclass, Julia will give a short presentation to set the scene, then lead you in several small and large group exercises to practice this deeper level of skill. In the process, you’ll coach and be coached by other design leaders, while getting real-time, actionable feedback to develop your coaching abilities.

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Tutti Taygerly

How to Work with Difficult People… When You’re the Difficult Person

Tutti Taygerly - Leadership / Executive Coach

Are you passionate, strongly opinionated, and competitive? Do you have high expectations of yourself and others? Have you received feedback about your delivery and communication style? If you’ve answered yes to any of these, you may self-identify as a difficult person.

In this masterclass, we will work on three concepts to better understand and celebrate your leadership as a difficult person. We will celebrate the strengths that are at the core of your leadership and how to find your people to amplify these strengths. We will focus on the relationships around you. And finally, we will play with expanding your range to work well with people who consider you difficult.

Our time is structured as a deep dive into concepts, opportunity for personal introspection, and a facilitated conversation between difficult leaders.

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Masterclass Day 4

Aaron Irizarry

Creating A Partnership Canvas With Cross-Functional Teams

Aaron Irizarry - Head of Credit Solutions Design, Capital One

Cross functional partner relationships can present a number of challenges if teams aren’t aligned on how they are going to work together. A partner charter can help teams stay aligned on their shared goals and how they plan to support one another.

In this 90 minute masterclass attendees will learn about partner charters and how they help cross functional teams stay aligned and accountable to one another. We will look at real world examples of partnership charters and how they addressed challenges teams were facing.

We will do an activity that will help attendees...

  • Understand the key components of a partner charter

  • Create a rough draft of a charter

  • Get feedback from one another to refine their charter

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Alla Weinberg

Build Trusting Teams

Alla Weinberg - CEO, Workplace Relationship Expert, Spoke and Wheel

According to Simon Sinek, “A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other.” As design leaders, we know that trust is vital to team success and resilience, especially in current chaotic times.

But how do we actually build trusting teams when you can’t make people trust each other? While leaders can’t force trust within a team, they can build an environment where trust can flourish.

In this very interactive Masterclass, leaders will:

  • learn the anatomy of trust;

  • explore trust with self, with one other, and with the team;

  • practice having conversations about distrust

Leaders taking this Masterclass will leave with practical and actionable steps to begin building trusting teams.

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Julia Whitney

A Coaching Approach to Design Leadership 2: Helping your people GROW: use a simple coaching model to supercharge their development

Julia Whitney - Executive Coach, Whitney and Associates

There’s nothing more rewarding than helping your people reach more and more of their full potential. But too often we leaders fail to carve out the time and headspace for high quality development conversations. Or we default to imposing our own views, advice and direction: when actually, helping our people find their own answers would be much more effective, and empowering.

In this Masterclass, the second of a two part series on A Coaching Approach to Design Leadership, we’ll focus on a simple but powerful framework for development conversations with your reports: the G.R.O.W. model. It’s equally useful in an hour-long development conversation, or a quick 15 minute one. When you combine the G.R.O.W model with the coaching skills you learned in the first Masterclass of this two-parter, you’ll have an even greater impact. Your people will feel empowered and grateful.

At the start of this Masterclass, Julia will give a short presentation to set the context, and introduce each element in the model. She’ll then lead you in several small group exercises to practice putting this framework to use. In the process, you’ll coach and be coached by other design leaders, while getting real-time, actionable feedback to develop your skill in applying the model.

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