Julia Whitney

Julia Whitney is a design leader turned executive coach. She works with leaders to help them make the most of what they’ve got. Her client list includes leaders and leadership teams from AWS, Autodesk, Bumble, Condé Nast, The Economist, IDEO and more.

Julia brings her own experience as a board level leader to her coaching practice: She led design teams for more than 20 years, in both the US and the UK, most recently as GM and Executive Creative Director for the BBC’s 150 person User Experience and Design department. She speaks at leadership conferences and is honoured to partner with Clearleft on their Leading Design Retreats and Group Coaching Programmes.

Julia’s passionate about tackling climate change and is on a mission to coach 1,000 climate leaders by 2035.

Julia Whitney

About the talk

Group Decision Making’s Dirty Little Secrets

How can we design leaders make great decisions? One good way is to draw on our richest resource: our team.

Our team’s members benefit from being included in the decision making process. They typically feel more motivated, engaged and empowered as a result. This can encourage them to stay with your team longer than they might otherwise. In the current hiring environment, this has to be a good thing!

Our decisions can benefit as well. Research shows that decisions made with a greater diversity of inputs are better. And when folks have contributed to a decision, they are more likely to act on it, and follow through.

So, all good, right? Well yes, theoretically. And even, sometimes, in practice. But probably not as often as we think, or as we would like. That’s because there’s a dark side too.

This talk is about the dirty little secrets of group decision making that risk getting in the way of all the positive potential. We’ll look at negative tendencies within group psychology and group dynamics. We’ll discuss the obstacles posed by cognitive biases. We’ll see how easy it is to succumb to groupthink. We’ll highlight how your sense of responsibility for a decision is compromised when it’s made in a group.

And then we’ll turn to the bright side. We’ll explore frameworks to help you become more conscious of your own group decision making processes. And we’ll look at how you can strengthen them, so they can work even better for you

About the workshop

Managing Difficult Stakeholders, for Design Leaders

Do you have stakeholders who are resistant to change? Or not bought into the importance of what you’re trying to do? Or perhaps your stakeholders are disengaged, and won’t give you their time? Or maybe they give you their time, but only to be openly and loudly critical or dismissive?

Stakeholder management is one the biggest factors in your success as a Design Leader. And one of the biggest challenges. This workshop is for those who've already been a Head of Design for a few years and those who are new to the job. You'll gain knowledge, skills, and practical tools to address these challenges and turn your relationships with stakeholders into productive and rewarding parts of your role.

You’ll bring your own stakeholder challenge into the workshop, and will leave with a plan that you can put into action as soon as you get back to the office. In the process you’ll learn lessons to bring to stakeholder challenges, whatever your future brings. Topics covered include: Stakeholder Analysis, Relationship Management, Influencing and Persuading. We ran this workshop at a previous Leading Design London conference, and here's what attendees had to say:

"I love the fact I can take away and apply tactics learned. Thank you


"LOVE the workbook" "Really helpful models and tricks" "Exercises were great" "Very informed and well thought through experience." "Great level of energy, good camaraderie."

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