Making Design a force for your business
In the life of any business, there are decisive moments — opportunities, simple or complex, that can spur great transformations. That is, if you’re ready for them. And, what makes some ready, and others not?
Three words: strong design leadership.
To some, this may seem obvious. Companies that value design regularly outperform those that don’t. Better design means a better outcome — for everyone. Yet, design runs much deeper than an end result. As a leading search firm in design since 1995, it has been Wert&Co.’s work to understand just how deep — to help businesses best understand and leverage design and design leadership; and, to ensure those leaders have impact.
Our success isn’t measured in superficial terms: the number of candidates we place or the list of companies we partner with. Our success is measured by the success of those we work with: professional relationships that elevate both sides and endure.
What the ‘ubiquity’ of Design means for recruiting
When we began Wert&Co., design needed a champion. Co-Founded by Judy Wert, a trained designer, we believed in its power intrinsically. And, alongside the creative talent we worked with, we fought to have design recognized as more than simply a tool to serve other business functions.
Over the years design has made great strides — as a capability, a process, or an awareness — and is a near-ubiquitous component of an ideal leader, across disciplines.
The broadening of the category has created nuances beneath the surface that are still far from understood. Having been around for, and a part of, this decades-long evolution of design gives us a clearer insight into where it might be headed. Its complexities are a part of our experience, its dynamism is woven together with our own.
We see the continued (and welcomed) diffusion of design across new disciplines not as a reason to breathe a sigh of relief and move on but to recommit as design specialists and to help people understand the beautiful complexity therewithin.
Search is about discovery — in more ways than you’d think
Careers are no longer drawn in straight lines, and cross-pollination is a modus operandi of the next-generation workforce and the companies they’re starting. “Move fast and break things” has been replaced with collaboration and care; and, preference isn’t given to candidates who “fit the team,” but to those who challenge it.
In the face of change, there is no standing still.
Because of this, we are expanding our scope to reflect new realities about what design and creative leadership mean. Here’s how:
Investing in design transforms businesses at any stage, but the sooner it’s made, the greater the impact. When early-stage startups infuse design into their core DNA, they are inevitably rewarded both tangibly and intangibly. Because we believe so deeply in this, Wert&Co. is adding a new capability, team building for early-stage startups, and a new focus, helping design leaders discover and navigate opportunities at the 0–1 stage.
Exactly one year ago, we welcomed Daniel Wert to our team. Daniel has proven experience helping both creative and technical entrepreneurs establish a strong foundation of first employees and hands-on executives, coaching diverse leaders through varied stages of scale and life. He helped Docker grow from an open-source project to a brand name; and, as the first employee at Anchorage, created a thoughtful culture of recruiting from the start, managing their growth from 0–1, through Series-C, and to over 150 people around the world.
Search by itself is insufficient. Great leaders aren’t always “discovered,” in fact, more often than not they are nurtured.
We have always extended our expertise and network to future leaders. And, as we move forward, we’ll expand our role as career coaches, empowering the leaders of tomorrow by helping them write their own stories of success — one that doesn’t necessarily mean ladders to climb, empires to build, teams to manage, or wealth, but rather agency, influence, and joy.
We are, undoubtedly, in the midst of one of the greatest reshuffles in “work” that modern society has ever seen. And, contrary to popular belief, it has little to do with remote or decentralized workplaces. Instead, it has everything to do with a new consciousness about what work really means — or really could mean.
At Wert&Co., we not only feel incredibly honored to be at the fulcrum of this change but also a responsibility to rise to the occasion.
Our own transformation continues, and so much more change in our own organization is yet to come.
(We’ll circle back soon ;)