Book Review: Leadership By Design – Rise of the DEO

Book Review: Leadership By Design – Rise of the DEO

In the 20th century, in casting the ideal CEO, we took our cues from MBAs and the military. But many of the most recent superstars, such as Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, and Larry Page don’t seem to fit that model. So is it the most effective model for the 21st century?

Leaders who understand the transformative power of design and embrace its traits and tenets can command in times of change. We call these leaders DEOs—Design Executive Officers—and they are our new heroes.

In an article by Joe Sherwood it’s stated ‘Maria Giudice is Facebook’s Director of Product Design. Christopher Ireland is Co-founder at the startup incubator Mix & Stir. Their new book is Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design, about a new model for leaders to excel in unpredictable, fast-moving and value-charged conditions. It explores the intersection of creativity and business acumen, explaining how and why this unlikely coupling produces leaders most capable of solving our increasingly complex business problems. Christopher, Maria, and Jesse discuss how to unlock creativity in a traditional executive and teach a creative professional how to become an effective business leader. Together, they examine how DEOs run their companies and why this approach makes sense in today’s business world.’

The majority of companies, their employees and their leaders navigate a space where competitors appear overnight, customers demand innovations monthly, business plans rarely last a full year and career ladders have been replaced by trampolines. This environment of constant change will only accelerate in the future and traditional business leaders are ill equipped to deal with it. Just as we took our cues from MBAs and the military in casting the ideal CEO of the 20th century, we can look to design – in its broadest form – to model our future leader, the DEO. These leaders possess characteristics, behaviors and mindsets that allow them to excel in unpredictable, fast-moving and value-charged conditions. They are catalysts for transformation and agents of change. A hybrid of strategic business executive and creative problem-solver, the DEO is willing to take on anything as an object of design and looks at ALL problems as design challenges. Readers will learn not only why this form of leadership is essential to the success of modern organizations, but also what characteristics are best suited to this role. Through intimate conversations with leading DEOs, we explore the mindsets, communities, processes and practices common to creative business leaders. The book lays out–graphically and through example–how DEOs run their companies and why this approach makes sense now. We help readers identify these skills in themselves and their colleagues, and we guide them in using these skills to build, revive or reinvent the next generation of great companies and organisation.

Readers will learn not only why creative leadership is essential to the success of modern organizations, but also what characteristics are best suited to this role. Through intimate conversations with leading DEOs, we explore the mindsets, communities, processes and practices common to creative business leaders. We help readers identify these skills in themselves and their colleagues, and we guide them in using these skills to build, revive or reinvent the next generation of great companies and organisations.

This book is a result of years of research initially captured in talks Maria Giudice gave at TEDx and the AIGA Pivot Conference in 2011. Maria’s TEDx Talk was featured on TED.com as the “pick of the week” from thousands of selections.

One of the 6 characteristics of leadership outlined by the book is for leaders to be ‘socially intelligent’ this includes connecting with others, spending time with employees amongst other traits that are noted as engaging. The first chaper of the book is available to download here for free.

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