Does your organization have its own lingo? I’m thinking of words or phrases that are almost immediately associated with a particular person, team, or practice. Having worked at TXI for 2+ years, I’ve been reflecting on how our organization speaks to and with each other and why those personalized sayings become the glue that keeps our organization strong.
I’ll Use Some Tokens for That
This one comes courtesy of Product Designer, Annie Swank. Understanding that time and effort are limited in supply, this is an implicit reminder to gut check whether tackling something is worth the investment of corresponding energy. Within a team, it also provides a framework for negotiating who may or may not have the bandwidth or passion to take something on. Another benefit of this mindset is that people don’t have to provide any justification. The “token” phrasing is a neutral understood unit of measure that signals no other discussion is needed outside of the initial comment.
What Problem Does This Solve?
This gem comes from Rex Chekal, Product Designer. When we put a bunch of insightful, empathetic people in a shared space (virtual or otherwise) to talk strategy, it’s easy for enthusiasm to transform into solutions. Reminders like this create a non-judgmental way to re-center people when we’ve inadvertently shifted from identifying pain points straight to decision making. User research, discovery, and problem definition is key to the way we collaborate with clients. We try to hold ourselves accountable to the same principles when we talk internally.
Two Things Can Be True at the Same Time
I often say this when I’m chatting with colleagues. So often there’s more than one “right” path. Things happen in concert or opposition all the time. Giving ourselves permission to understand how many different facets of a situation exist simultaneously frees us to lean into nuance and ambiguity. It’s also a great way to de-escalate conversations when people passionately disagree.
Widen the Aperture
Do you know our Head of Design, Antonio Garcia? If you’ve interacted with him, chances are you’ve heard him weave this into a conversation. It’s a great prompt to hold ourselves accountable for looking at the broader picture. As Antonio says, ideas often live just outside of the focus area and by widening the aperture, we’re able to sharpen what’s in everyone’s periphery and bring it into the frame for discussion/exploration/debate. When we focus on a single element of a problem or interaction, we risk sacrificing long-term outcomes for short-term solutions. Stepping back and understanding the entirety of the situation is the first step to true transformation.
Is This a Pain Pill or a Vitamin?
Client Principal and Digital Strategist, Courtney Shuster, frequently uses this metaphor during Product Innovation Discoveries. When defining a new product, it’s critical to identify the pain killer — what will create an immediate impact by addressing a visceral need. It’s essential to maximizing value and minimizing waste often due to over-engineering products from the start. When we focus on the pain killer first, it creates space for adding vitamins - the nice-to-haves - over time to expand the value and impact of the product aligned to user needs.
This one belongs to all of us at TXI. We strive to use gender-neutral greetings. It’s pretty common to hear anyone from our newest team member to our leadership team say hello using this phrase. Whether it’s Slack, Zoom, or email, this salutation floats through our conversations on a daily basis.