Peter Merholz

Peter Merholz has been active in digital design and product for 25 years, most notably in building premier user experience consultancy, Adaptive Path, and now advising teams on design organizations and leadership. He co-wrote Org Design for Design Orgs (O’Reilly), the first book focused on the organizational, managerial, and operational challenges of building in-house design teams.

Peter Merholz

About the talk

The Evolving Design Leader: embracing your new form as you advance in your career

- Florence Gould Hall

The Peter Principle (not named for me, but for organizational consultant Laurence J. Peter) states that because people are promoted based on prior success, they end up rising to a level of their incompetence, because the skills that got them there aren't those that will carry them forward. This is particularly true in the field of design, as it is only recently that we've seen true executive design roles, and we're all still figuring out how we can best contribute.

In this talk, Peter (Merholz) will prepare you for each stage in your leadership journey, from manager to director to VP and beyond. In which direction should you be oriented: managing down, across, or up-and-out? What activities are worth your time and effort (ensuring quality delivery; recruiting and hiring; strategy and vision)? The answers vary as you evolve in your career.

Q&A with Peter Merholz

- Florence Gould Hall

Q&A with Peter Merholz

The Evolving Design Leader: embracing your new form as you advance in your career

- Online

The Peter Principle (not named for me, but for organizational consultant Laurence J. Peter) states that because people are promoted based on prior success, they end up rising to a level of their incompetence, because the skills that got them there aren't those that will carry them forward. This is particularly true in the field of design, as it is only recently that we've seen true executive design roles, and we're all still figuring out how we can best contribute.

In this talk, Peter (Merholz) will prepare you for each stage in your leadership journey, from manager to director to VP and beyond. In which direction should you be oriented: managing down, across, or up-and-out? What activities are worth your time and effort (ensuring quality delivery; recruiting and hiring; strategy and vision)? The answers vary as you evolve in your career.

About the workshop

Design Leadership Fundamentals

- Convene 530 Fifth Avenue

When designers become design leaders, they often don't realize 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 these four Archetypes: Coach (managing down, getting most out of the team); Diplomat (managing across; ensuring design's voice in the process); Champion (managing up; handling executives and stakeholders); and Architect (managing the team as it scales).

In the workshop, we'll dig into each of these archetypes, discussing practices and mindsets that will help you succeed within each. This workshop is structured with activities, and will be 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. Each Archetype also comes with an assessment tool for grading yourself, and then your team, afterward.

Design Leadership Fundamentals

- Online

When designers become design leaders, they often don't realize 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 these four Archetypes: Coach (managing down, getting most out of the team); Diplomat (managing across; ensuring design's voice in the process); Champion (managing up; handling executives and stakeholders); and Architect (managing the team as it scales).

In the workshop, we'll dig into each of these archetypes, discussing practices and mindsets that will help you succeed within each. This workshop is 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.

Each Archetype also comes with an assessment tool for grading yourself, and then your team, afterward.

Key Takeaways:

  • How to shift your focus from the content of the work, to relationships with others, recognizing that stronger relationships leads to better output
  • How to motivate your team to deliver their best work
  • The importance, and fragility, of Trust
  • Why you need to overcome your reticence and become an active communicator
  • How to balance being a "team player" with making sure you get what you need to succeed
  • Connecting design to what the Business values
  • Systems and structures that enable scale
  • Why you can't be a good leader if you're not taking care of yourself

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