by Uday Gajendar at UX Australia 2013.
This talk offers insights from real experiences working with top-level execs (including the CEO) on major UX projects to achieve tangible results. As UX designers we constantly clamor for a seat at ‘the table’, but what happens when you actually get there? How do you react and assert yourself as an authority of design that is perceived, respected, and valued as such, not just someone who ‘makes pretty pictures’ or ‘plays with stickies’? My goal in this talk is to set up design leaders for success by raising their ‘executive IQ’.
Why executives obsess over
Insights from working “at the table” & how to
Uday Gajendar, Principal Designer / Citrix
@udanium : twitter
“Maybe I’m not as comfortable being powerless as you are.”
– Don Draper, Season 1 Mad Men
A variety of contexts & situations!
In which you’re working with executives
Quarterly Business Review
Global Customer Event
But who is this “executive”?
Must have empathy to understand
How can you set them up for success & achieve your goals too?
Learn their criteria for
annual reviews and
figure out how to
An “executive persona” of sorts.
A baseline of characteristics
Many are not natural collaborators
Serious ﬁduciary duties / proﬁt-loss accountability
Left-brained analytic thinkers, demanding “proof”
Don’t know everything, but know more than you
Unknowns create anxiety; data creates assurance
Constant context switching is a given
Michael Scott, ﬁctitious exec
Understand the org
structure of the
executive’s peers &
Some critical lessons learned.
Experience is a valuable teacher ;-)
Assert your point of view and never apologize.
Simplify and explain the concept like to a child.
It's ok to disagree, with concise credible rationale.
Don't attempt to wear hats you're not qualiﬁed to wear.
Many execs love to sketch and visualize their ideas!
Always remember –
Executives are just people, too.
They want to succeed. Support
them, and get the most from
Get to know their
so if you need a
quick 5 minute chat,
you’ll likely get it.
Finally...What about those icons?
Conﬁdence & assurance via pretty things.!
Shift it to business & design strategy.!
That’s why they hired you. Remind them!!
“If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”
– Don Draper, Mad Men Season Two
Your Mileage "
(and good luck!)
@udanium on twitter