Growing Our UX Maturity Pushes Beyond What’s Comfortable
December 19, 2019
by Jared M. Spool
In our Creating a UX Strategy Playbook workshops, it’s not unusual for the discussion to start to feel a little bit like therapy. This is a good thing. We’re talking about change and change is hard.
It’s not that the design leaders in the room have to change something about themselves. It’s that they need to push their organization to change. Important changes that will make the organization’s UX design efforts more mature.
The design leaders believe these changes are necessary. They won’t come easy.
This realization is when the design leaders start to feel like they’re in a therapy session. All their fears and issues around confidence start to surface.
It’s good, cathartic discussion. Fortunately, we’ve made the workshop a safe place.
Everyone there is among new friends who are in the same situation. They also have to push their own organizations to change, so they feel the same way.
Imposter Syndrome is a sign we’re doing something right
Design Leaders naturally have imposter syndrome. (Frankly, I believe there are two types of design leaders in the world: Those with imposter syndrome and those that should have more imposter syndrome.) That’s because design leaders are in a situation where they are pushing beyond what’s comfortable.
In our work, there’s a natural force to make what is uncomfortable become comfortable. After doing something that’s uncomfortable multiple times, we start to feel good about it. It becomes comfortable.
We create comfort zones. These are places where we feel confident and empowered about all doing our work.
Yet, when we’re pushing our organization to change, we have to push beyond our comfort zone. We’re pushing into new frontiers that are unknown.
We still have to show our confidence, because, as a design leader, we need everyone around us to think we know what we’re doing, while, deep inside, we believe we don’t. That’s where the imposter syndrome comes from. And it’s a sign we’re doing something right.
Picking UX strategies outside our comfort zone
In the workshop, each design leader chooses a small handful of UX strategies—approaches to growing the maturity of their organization’s UX capabilities. They need to find the right strategies. Ones that will be outside what they are now comfortable with, but not so far outside that they’ll be paralyzed from the discomfort.
To start with, we’ve done the hard work for the design leaders. We’ve identified and collected 130 different UX strategies. Each one has been successful for some design leader somewhere, so we know they work. Having the collection of proven strategies takes a lot of the pressure off.
The design leaders (and the peers they’ve brought along) take those strategies and sort them into three piles: Already done (or doing), Unlikely, and Could do.
The Already done (or doing) pile are changes they’ve already made in their organization. These things are already inside their comfort zone.
The Unlikely pile are the strategies that are too far outside of their comfort zone. The design leader doesn’t have enough confidence to even believe they are possible inside their organization.
That leaves the Could do pile. These are strategies that are possible to accomplish, but definitely outside the comfort zone.
To know which strategies to start with, we ask each design leader to score them on two scales: impact and feasibility. The strategies that will leave the biggest positive dent in their organization’s main initiatives and will be the easiest to implement get scored the highest.
Exploring the UX opportunities just beyond comfort
We encourage the UX design leaders to tackle the highest-scoring UX strategies from our Could do pile first. And because each strategy they’ve chosen in the Could do pile is highly feasible, the design leader feels confident and empowered to push outside what feels comfortable.
Important change can only happen if we leave our comfort zone. Important change is the only way we can push our organization to deliver better-designed products and services.
Strategies for growing our organization’s UX design efforts
At our 2-day Creating a UX Strategy Playbook workshop, we look at every aspect of a solid UX strategy, including how you’ll grow the maturity of design inside your organization. We’ll look at activities that help you find champions, drive human-centered UX outcomes, and increase the design skills of the teams you work with. You’ll choose the strategies that are most feasible, ready to put them into action the day you return to work.
You’ll leave with an action plan that will drive your organization to deliver better-designed products and services immediately. Register today.