Doctor’s Note – Issue 19 - The Shape of You

In this issue: New home for Power of Ten / Finding the shape of you / Boiling the Ocean redux / How to Future discount / Book Corner / The Linkhole

Welcome to Issue 19 of Doctor’s Note. If you were forwarded this by a friend, you can sign up here. It’s still free, but if you love it, you can buy me a coffee and I’ll love you back even more.

My Power of Ten podcast has a new feed

As you may have seen if you follow me on LinkedIn or Twitter I have moved my Power of Ten podcast off of the This is HCD network and to a different podcast host. It was a knock-on consequence of deciding not to be part of This is Doing.

If you haven’t heard my podcast, give it a try! If you were previously a subscriber, the old feed won’t be updated anymore so you might want to unsubscribe there and re-subscribe to the one with the blue artwork above. All the podcast service/app links are on Power of Ten’s Audioboom page. I really appreciate any ratings or reviews on Apple or Google Podcasts, too. They nudge the algorithms that helps others find it and know that I’m not just speaking into space.

The current episode is with Alexandra Jamieson and Bob Gower talking about their book, Radical Alignment in which they explain their excellent approach to having difficult conversations.

Coming up in the next epsiode is my ex-colleague, Tanarra Schneider, now Head of Design - Midwest for Accenture Interactive talking about leadership at scale, social justice and more. Stay tuned for that one and many more excellent guests.

You can find the old episodes in my archive.


Finding the shape of you

Needless to say, asking everyone to re-subscribe to a different feed for my podcast rather than seamlessly moving subscribers and past episodes to a new podcast host wasn’t my choice, nor the human-centred one. I won’t go into the details of why I left This is Doing and This is HCD, but let’s just say that conscious uncoupling isn’t possible if the other party is hell bent on a bitter divorce.

There are, however, some useful lessons to be learned, especially for those of you who are taking your own journeys into Design Leadership or independence. Plus it gives me a second chance to quote Ed Sheeran.

The first three lessons are short:

  1. Own the platform you publish any of your creative output on.

  2. People who tell you “this is all about trust, we don’t need anything in writing” are the very people you want to get something in writing from.

  3. Do your inner work, otherwise you inflict your complexes and traumas on those you live and work with.

The fourth lesson is about being clear about the shape of you.

I’ll never say never to a permanent gig again, but I left a full-time job at Fjord, because I wanted to be my own person and master of my own destiny again. Josh Seiden summed it up best in a note to me recently (quoted with his permission):

I tell people that there have been four phases to my career:

  1. Fit myself (I think I’m a square peg) into a a round hole.

  2. Look for a square hole. Try to make myself squarer.

  3. Realize that I’m a josh-shaped peg. Look for josh-shaped holes.

  4. Make my own damn hole.

Moving into a leadership position, whether inside an organisation or starting your own venture, has an awful lot in common with moving into the second half of life, something that Jungian psychoanalyst, James Hollis has written extensively about.

A lot of my coachees are moving through that stage of life, but it’s not entirely age-related when it comes to your career pathway. Some come to that professional transition point earlier than others. Either way, it’s really about striving less to become something else and more about becoming comfortable and confident in who you already are and in the experience you now have.

This is Doing was pulling me in a direction I wasn’t happy about and I realised I had made a mistake. So I left sooner rather than drag it out, which would have been worse for all involved. Although it was painful, I feel absolutely comfortable with my decision and the integrity of it. There is no way to be happy if you are trying to re-shape yourself to fit a hole that isn’t you-shaped.

The whole effort of, well, life really, and certainly the work I do in coaching is to discover what that shape is, nurture it, and to develop a sensibility to when that shape is being distorted. Most of my mistakes—including this one—have been because I didn’t trust my intuition earlier.

To paraphrase another good friend, Nik Roope, from an interview I did with him years ago, we spend a lot of time adding icing to our cake and, before you know it, it’s all icing and no cake.

Letting go of things in life is so much harder than adding more things to it.


Sometimes you have to boil the ocean redux

I mentioned in the previous issue that I was going to give a talk for Dan Levy’s Future of Now series. It’s called Boiling the Ocean: Complexity, Service Design, & Systems Thinking and takes a look at the why and how of tackling complex problems, and which often earns designers the reprimand “let’s not try to boil the ocean.”

The talk was recorded and is now on the Future of Now site for your viewing pleasure.

How to Future discount

Speaking of the future, my Power of Ten episode with futurist Scott Smith remains the most popular one I’ve ever done. In it, Scott talked about the book he was writing with Madeline Ashby about the craft of being a futurist called How to Future.

After a short Covid-induced production pause, it’s due out in about six weeks. If you’d like a 20% discount, order it directly from the publisher and use the code KOGANPAGE20 right at the end of the checkout process. Thanks Scott!

Book corner

That brings us neatly to the book corner. Here’s what I’ve been enjoying recently:

The Linkhole

That’s it for this issue. If you liked it, please consider forwarding it to a friend or colleague to sign-up. I really do appreciate all the shares and feedback. If you have a reading tip, reply to this and let me know or tweet me.

Take care,