Dear all,


It’s About Design

Our first focus this year is on how to better design the flow of your individual and team’s work. You all know, better than most, the power of good design. Lots of things go wrong when design is an afterthought or not at the center of a project – regardless of the project.

What’s interesting is that, when it comes to the construction of our workday, we are tempted to forgo good design. When we don’t design our days well, we can fall prey to a number of poor design traps. A few that come to mind: 

The copy and paste trap – we simply repeat work and meetings week after week without enough strategic reflection on their value and/or effectiveness

The firefighter trap – We move from crisis to crisis without much intentional shaping of our days – blown about by the noisiest voices and demands

The one step forward and two backward trap – We try to implement good design and planning but can’t keep a consistency that would deliver better results

The spinning plate trap: We focus a significant amount of our energy on bouncing from one responsibility to the next in order to (hopefully) keep everything from “crashing.”

Exploring Good Design

Good design of our individual and team’s work is about more than time management. It’s also about a regular time we make for strategic reflection. This strategic reflection helps us eliminate a mindless approach to our work and to the way we design our days – from task lists, to calendars, to how we use our energy in the most creative and productive ways.

We’ve developed a methodology at The Ingenuity Lab called Home Base. In the week’s ahead we’ll explore this method and apply it in order to help each of you better lead yourself and your teams. This week we’ll focus on learning from each other and readying ourselves for the exploration of better design.

For this week, let’s have a conversation about the following questions:

  • Can you relate to one (or more) of the four traps? If so which one? Or do see another trap that comes from poor design of our days?
  • Do you spend regular time in strategic reflection on your work? If so, what do you do? If not, what do you think keeps you from it?
  • What do think of the obstacles to a better design and execution of your work as a leader? Be specific.
  • Is your team strategic in the design of its work? If so, what help you achieve this? If not, what obstacles get in the way? (Or both)
  • What is one change you would like to make to be more effective and designing and executing your daily work?

Here’s to better design of our days.