Connect
To Top

My design and leadership beliefs

I’ve found that one of the most important things a leader needs to do is clearly articulate the standards of work and leadership they will hold everyone to. I’ve also found that this is something VERY few leaders, teams and companies do which is why there is a huge vacuum of real creative leadership today.

I tried to solve this problem by creating a list of beliefs which define key areas for me and my work. Over the years as I have gained more experience, led bigger teams and taken on bigger challenges and as a result I’ve continued to rewrite and evolve this list. It is grouped it into five themes – Learn, Collaborate, Ideate, Craft and Lead. I feel those cover the main areas that I and most creative need to focus on to be successful. These things are purposely meant to be simple statements and none of them are rocket science but setting them as the expectations seems to be something that is rocket science. I have found that they give you and your teams something that will bond and strengthen them through a common purpose and identity.

LEARN

A Teacher and A Student.
I constantly seek out and share innovative ideas, viewpoints, processes and technologies so that I never stop learning.

Never Stop Asking ‘Why?’.
I constantly ask ‘why’ to understand the purpose, cause and belief behind every decision.

Be the Customer.
I immerse myself in my customer’s world so I can create thoughtful, human and elegant experiences that affect everyone.

COLLABORATE

Design Is A Team Sport.
My team works collaboratively with no rockstars and no departments. Everyone is responsible to work together to create the best idea.

Everyone is Creative.
Creativity is a quality everyone posses. It’s not something that is found only in a title or team so I help bring it out of everyone.

Take Care of the Team.
Interpersonal skills matter so I create a culture where everyone helps others to succeed and protect the health of the team.

IDEATE

Iterate. Then Iterate Again.
Teams don’t have innovative ideas by knowing where they are going so I have them think, design and iterate quickly to fail early and succeed sooner.

Ideas Not Executions.
I create work that moves consumers through authentic, meaningful and strategic ideas – not trendy technology executions.

No Cover Bands.
A cover band never changed the world so I build cultures that empower teams to create original ideas – not copy what others have done.

CRAFT

Creativity is a Blue-Collar Profession.
Great ideas are a lot of hard work and everyone creates those ideas differently. I build cultures that understand, value and grow everyone’s unique ways of solving problems.

Sweat the Details.
I sweat every single detail and I’M accountable for MY decisions and responsibilities to bring great ideas to life.

Everything is Your Job.
On my teams It’s all your job no matter what. Nothing is beneath anyone. We are all here to work together to create the future.

LEAD

Walk Your Talk.
On my team what we say and how we bring those words to life matters. To gain the trust of our clients and team members, our actions always match your words.

Everyone Creates The Culture.
I create teams that nurture individual creativity but everyone is also accountable for creating, growing and owning the group’s culture.

Respectful and Confident, Not Delicate.
Breakthroughs happen when the team takes risks, trusts their instincts and speaks their mind – not when they tiptoe around each other.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

More in Creative direction

Creative Director, Designer, Brand Builder, Speaker, Podcaster, Crazy One. As a designer, I have 20+ years experience creating the strategy, concepts, and designs for award-winning integrated global advertising campaigns, building multiple global Fortune 500 brands and creating innovative digital experiences. As a leader, I have 15+ years transforming agency and client-side teams using a mix of creativity, business strategy, process and political skill to create innovative, world-class work and cultures that change industries and companies. My clients have included American Airlines, W Hotels, Disney, Citi, ExxonMobil, Acura, Old Navy, Nationwide Insurance, Verizon, Subaru and many others. My work has received over 150 international awards, my app designs have been named as one of the World’s 100 Greatest Apps, Apple has featured my work in 9 keynotes, 4 TV commercials and more.

Follow Me On Instagram

 Extremely honored to have been chosen by @ghoshal and @erondu to join 25 design leaders from AirBnB, Uber, Facebook, Slack, Google Ventures, IDEO and more for High Resolution, a 25 episode video series on design. Look for my episode focusing on creativity and leadership coming soon. @highrespodcast #creativity #leadership #design #podcast  Spent the morning with @the_chris_buck new book Uneasy which is a fantastic look at the work of one of the most creative people I know. Get your copy at chrisbuckuneasy.com #chrisbuck #photography #photographer #portraitphotography #portrait #portraits  Some days I feel like I should wear this @huckgee armor to work. #huckgee #urbanvinyl #mech #armor #toy #kidrobot #dunny  If you listen to The #CrazyOne podcast you have @lukewessman to thank for it. He gave me the push to finally launch it and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. He is a constant inspiration, someone who makes me want to be a better man and I always feel lucky to count him as one of my friends. Thanks for the support brother. #crazyones #lukewessman #tattooartist #lag #crazyone  @nychos under scaffolding in Haight Ashbury #streetart #streetartist #nychos #streetartofficial #streetartsf
 A pile of pugs and a @steelers blanket - what else do you need on a day off? #pug #pugs #pugsofinstagram #steelers #yinz #burghproud #herewegosteelers  FYI - it's pronounced 'art' not 'toy'. These @huckgee pieces are hand made and can take up to a year to produce. #huckgee #robotech #mech #robot #urbanvinyl  Happy Valentines Day to @thechiclibrary - love of my life fierce and true. #chic #nyfw #fashion #love  Because of Snowmaggeddon in NYC I'm having to do my meetings from home today and apparently everyone thinks they are a Creative Director in this house. #pug #pugsofinstagram #design #creativedirector #puglife #designer #dogismycopilot  @huckgee amazing work in progress #urbanvinyl #huckgeeskullhead #huckgee
 @visionaireworld X @louisvuitton from back in the day when Kidrobot actually made art toys #louisvuitton #lv #kidrobot #visionaire #visionaireworld #monogram #louisvuittonmonogram #murakami #takashimurakami  Got a vintage @huckgee Skullleader as a new addition to the collection #urbanvinyl #huckgee #mech #robotech #robot  @thechiclibrary in full effect at New York Fashion week for the photographers tonight in @ika_editions @blackscale and @tomford #nyfw #newyorkfashionweek  Forgot to mention I got to see @huckgee new Skullhead mech work in progress which I think is one of the best pieces he has ever done. I already put in dibs on at least one. #huckgee #huckgeeskullhead #urbanvinyl  All work and no play make Steve a dull boy so loved the chance to grab some time to catching up with @huckgee at his studio today #huckgee #huckgeeskullhead #urbanvinyl

Copyright © 2015 Stephen Gates