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Language for a Shared Vision: leading conversations about design

“They’re asking me to make something ugly… how can I make them see my solution as best?”

“They’re too narrow-minded! Why won’t they take a creative risk?”

“No matter how much I explain exactly what I want, he’s giving me the same illustration over and over! And it’s not what I want at all!”

“I’m ready to give all their money back just so I never have to speak to them again.”

When was the last time you had to have a difficult conversation about design?

As professional designers, we cannot do great work without professionally using language to communicate our visual ideas. We must listen like experts, we must talk like experts, and we must resolve conflicts like experts. Above all, we must be advocates of design—our job is only as valuable as our ability to convince others of its value.

So, how do we do that? How do we learn to use language to navigate our jobs? This month at Design Alexandria, we are very excited to have leadership coach Bill Hummel with us to talk about handling conflict, creating a shared mission with our clients, and becoming better leaders through how we communicate. In this interactive session, Bill will lead us through thinking about common problems in conversations about design in a new way.

Please note, there’s homework! Before attending, please read the article “Leadership Conversations” by Chalmers Brothers and Vinay Kumar. You will find a PDF containing this article in the “Files” section of the Design Alexandria meetup page. Our discussion will reference this article specifically, so it is very important that everyone is familiar with the concepts and terms presented there. As you read, jot down your reactions to the article to share with the group—what did you learn? What seems most important? What kinds of conversations do you wish you were having with clients or colleagues?

See you there!

Bill Hummel’s Bio:

Bill has served as a senior leader for both public and private corporations.  He is a leadership coach with expert knowledge and experience in creating sustainable change. This experience has been garnered as a seasoned entrepreneur and senior leader with practical problem solving experience in many facets of organizational development and change.  His leadership experience has taught him the power of how a cohesive executive leadership team, fueled by a shared mission, can produce tremendous results. 

Bill is the Vice President for Corporate Development with Enterprise Resource Performance, Inc. (ERPi), an employee owned, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). In this role, he is responsible for developing the company’s strategic plan and execution strategy. Bill also developed and runs ERPi’s leadership coaching practice, which focuses on supporting federal executives in program management and other leadership roles. Current ERPi customers include the Navy, Army, National Institutes of Health and Department of Veterans Affairs.

Bill’s clients include the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the U.S. Army, Veteran Affairs, and Farrish Automotive.

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  • Calvin B.

    I enjoyed my initial meeting and gained quite a bit from the speaker and other designers.

    June 17, 2014

  • Daniel F.

    Thanks for a great meetup all!

    June 12, 2014

  • Daniel F.

    I am running late, will be there at 7:30 or sooner! sorry

    June 12, 2014

  • mentu

    I'm sorry I can't make it tonight and for missing this great conversation. I was look forward to it. I'm caught up with rush jobs. :)

    June 12, 2014

  • Athenna H.

    So it looks like I can't make tonight. Something came up for work, but hopefully I'll be there for the next meetup :-)

    June 12, 2014

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