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.

Inclusive Creativity

Creativity doesn’t come from having a job title or being part of a specific team. Everyone works with the team and our clients to create value through ideas

Progressive Optimism

I push myself and my teams to find new ideas and see possibilities where others only see problems

Humanity Matters

I create cultures where we value interpersonal skills, and everyone supports each other to help bring out the best in each other

Continual Resilience

Creativity is a messy process where things go wrong but we understand that failing never makes you a failure unless we don’t learn from it

A Student And A Teacher

I seek out new ideas, viewpoints, and more so I never stop learning and share what I’ve learned with my teams and through my podcast and speaking engagements

Never Stop Asking ‘Why?’

I 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 meaningful, human and elegant experiences that solve unmet needs and real problems

Ideas Over Executions

I create authentic, meaningful and strategic ideas that lead to innovation solutions – never the other way around

A Cover Band Never Changed The World

I build cultures that empower teams to create original ideas – not copy what others have done

Creativity Is A Blue-Collar Profession

Great ideas are a lot of hard work, and everyone creates those ideas differently. I build cultures that value and grow everyone’s unique creative process

Everything Is Our Job

On my team, it’s all your job and nothing is beneath anyone. We are all here to work together to create the future

Walk Your Talk

What we say and how we bring those words to life matters so our actions always need to match your words

Everyone Creates Our Culture

On my teams, everyone is also accountable for creating, growing and owning the team’s culture

Respectful and Confident But Not Delicate

Breakthroughs happen when the team takes risks, trusts their instincts and speaks their mind – not when they tiptoe around each other or our clients

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 Twitter

Copyright © 2015 Stephen Gates