Feb 11, 2021
Evangelizing the human-centered practice
Influence the execs by evangelizing the business outcome.
Influencing people is a constant effort.
We discussed how your team should shift the conversation to the outcome and do your homework as a design manager to gain insights. If you notice, our goal is to influence people. To do so, you need to share the context. This is where evangelism comes into play.
Evangelism is all about selling the outcome. Remember, business people and execs care about the business outcome. One example of evangelism is when I send an email to the company-wide to show them the outcome of a certain team who adopted the human-centered practice.
It’s your job in the leadership role to “show” people across your organization why this practice can be beneficial for them. You can’t “tell” them and educate them. Your goal is to influence them with context. Here are a few actions you can consider:
- Share the users’ pain. It’s one of the best ways to inspire the team to focus on users when they see the users’ pain with your product. You can bring product, business, and engineers to the user interview. Alternatively, you can record the interview and share the tiny pieces with them.
- Share the learnings. What have you learned so far about the users and the problem space? Be generous at sharing that. By sharing that context to the execs from time to time, you’re planting seeds to have a more productive conversation in the future.
- Share the outcome. My favorite moment is when the team produces a good user outcome and the business outcome. I’ll definitely share it company-wide through any available channels. I normally put it in the narrative and tell people the story. My most memorable moment was when the product and engineering team reached out and wanted to learn how to participate in the human-centered practice.
- Understand the business context. Why the business team has a certain goal? Learn about that. There are some complication here because some leaders can’t prioritize and don’t have a strategic focus, but that’s for another time. You need to share this business context to your team, help connect the dots on why your team work on the project and how that fits in the bigger picture.
- Be an expert on your problem space. Do your homework, learn about the data, learn about your customers. You should be the most knowledgeable person in the room about the problem space you handle.
- Reflect on the failures. There are times your team might fail and be at a low point. I can’t stress this enough, reflect. Learn from it. We call it practice because your team literally needs to practice it. What can be better next time? Remember to not blame people. The intention of this reflection is to learn.
Share the user pain, learnings, and outcome to the key people in your organization. Don’t shy to share it through email for all other functions to have visibility and share what’s in your mind as a leader. When reflect, be genuinely excited about what your team learned.
Evangelizing users and your team’s outcome is a constant effort. Because whenever you stop, at that moment, something else will be on top of mind, whether it’s finances, business plan, or ideas execs have in mind.
I hope this series resonates and helps design leaders to transition from feature-centered to be more human-centered.