AdobeMax – The Crazy Ones

Malia Campbell - October 17, 2014

Last week I had an incredible opportunity to attend AdobeMax in Los Angeles. My schedule included a mix of educational classes, inspiring seminars, keynote events, software sneak peeks, parties, concerts, and more. Every single event I attended blew me away, so one blog post will not suffice. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some of my most memorable and inspiring moments.

To start, here are some of my main takeaways from, “The Crazy Ones: How to Be a Leader who Inspires Creativity and Innovation.”

This talk was led by Stephen Gates (Vice President and Senior Creative Director) and Trina Cintron (Creative Director) for the Global Brand Design team for Starwood Hotels & Resorts. The presentation focused on the attributes that distinguish a leader from a manager. I can’t include everything, but here were some of my favorite sections:

Being good at execution doesn’t mean you are a good leader. It means you are good at getting things done. Great executors might crumble in leadership roles. To get a glimpse of someone’s leadership capabilities, see how they react when something in their project goes wrong. A good leader will address the problem, come up with a plan and delegate appropriate tasks to their team members. Leaders know the strengths of their teammates and trust them to handle their assigned responsibilities. Managers will often try to fix everything themselves.

Managers believe in the status quo and doing things the way they have always been done because those things have worked. Leaders want to do things differently. Leaders give their teams something to believe in. They are constantly asking “why” and coming up with new ideas.

Leaders realize that good work is the single greatest threat to great work. Good work is merely a compromise. It’s settling. Great work is born out of passion, investment, and attention to detail. Great work creates a culture of dedication.

Leaders understand that their team members all work differently. Forcing people to work one single way will never lead to success. They understand that everyone has their own process. They realize that everyone needs to feel inspired, invested, and protected to do their best work, and they create an environment to nurture that.

Leaders understand that deadline driven groups are a commodity. Idea driven groups are an asset. Leaders find ways to continuously inspire their teams.

In order to be a leader, you need to be a crazy one. “People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” Be confident, take risks, and trust your instincts.

You can read a similar article that goes into more detail here.

Thank you, Stephen and Trina. It was a pleasure.