Executive Leadership Coach

Four-time Author, Design Leader and Leadership Coach, Maria Giudice, joins the podcast to talk about her new book, Changemakers: How Leaders Can Design Change in an Insanely Complex World.

Maria is a powerful and influential voice in the space of design and believes that design has the power to transform.

Unafraid of change and ultimately, transformation, Maria Giudice shares with us the ways in which leaders can use design to produce meaningful change in a chaotic world.  Maria is no stranger to change, herself.  Having grown her own design agency, Hot Studio, and working in design leadership in Meta (formerly Facebook), Autodesk, and with other transformational leaders in the design space, Maria boldly champions the power you have in your leadership when you design as a core tool.

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Maria is a powerful and influential voice in the space of design and believes that design has the power to transform.

Unafraid of change and ultimately, transformation, Maria Giudice shares with us the ways in which leaders can use design to produce meaningful change in a chaotic world.  Maria is no stranger to change, herself.  Having grown her own design agency, Hot Studio, and working in design leadership in Meta (formerly Facebook), Autodesk, and with other transformational leaders in the design space, Maria boldly champions the power you have in your leadership when you design as a core tool.

Learn more about Maria.

Get the book at a discount here or buy from Amazon here.

Check out all things Dia Bondi.

Dia Bondi  00:19

Hi everyone, this is Dia Bondi and this is Lead With Who You Are and on this show, we explore and discover what it truly means to lead with who you are. And we're doing it with people who embody just that and can show us how to do it too. In this episode, we're talking with Maria Giudice, four time author and design leader about change making, and oh, this one is good. Maria and I talk about how leaders can design for change, and really importantly, how they can communicate through it in a way that enrolls supporters to help amplify and accelerate that change. Maria lists the top mistakes leaders make when navigating change, and how we can keep hope alive when change is hard. Listen. Hey, just a quick reminder, you can subscribe to this show on your podcast platform of choice. We're live nearly everywhere. And you can always listen to the show at diabondi.com. If there's a leader or innovator in your life, who is it their shiniest when they lead with who they truly are. Please share the show with them. And rate subscribe and leave us a review makes a huge difference in the reach that the show has when you let everyone else know what you love about the show. Thanks so much. For three decades, creative teams and business leaders have sought the provocative vision and mentorship of Maria Giudice after founding, the pioneering experienced design firm, Hot Studio, and leading global teams at Facebook and Autodesk. Maria's mission today is to build the next generation of creative leaders. Through one-on-one coaching, group coaching and team building workshops, Maria unlocks the potential hidden in every executive and the people they lead, a popular speaker at design and business conferences. Maria is also the author of four design books, including Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design and most recently Changemakers: How Leaders Can Design Change in an Insanely Complex World. Hello, Maria. Maria, I'm so Oh, I'm so glad to hear you and to see you.


Maria Giudice  02:35

Hello, I'm happy to see you, too. I'm sending a lot of love your way.


Dia Bondi  02:39

Thank you so much. So I'm having you what we already recorded and grabbed your introduction. So I just will start by saying we're having you on the show today, because you're super punk rock, number one. And number two, because you're you are a design force with such a strong perspective on the power of design. And really specifically, how leaders can use it to create the change. They want to lead themselves. So you even wrote a book about it. And I'll say the title again, which is Changemakers: How Leaders Can Design Change in an Insanely Complex World. And to be clear, it is available now. Am I right?


Maria Giudice  03:15

It will be available in early January, right.


Dia Bondi  03:19

Great! So it'll be available. It should be available now by the time we release this. So ...


Maria Giudice  03:23

Probably, yes.


Dia Bondi  03:25

So we already introduced you formally, like I mentioned, but I want to ask you, I'm going to start with a question which is today, how might you answer the question? Who are you?


Maria Giudice  03:36

Oh, that is a really good coaching question. Who am I? Right now? Hmm. I always like to say I'm a work in progress. I really am. Like, when I think about my life, and I think about you know, I had you know, I had a dream, I had a pretty clear path when I was younger, thankfully, that's such a gift to have that. But at what excites me is I, I just am driven by curiosity, and I'm driven by passion. And I just feel like I'm on a sort of a gradation and, and I really do think of myself as a work in progress. And I can always improve and I can always learn, and if I lean into my curiosity, it'll take me to places that I'm not really aware of now, but I have to trust the universe, that it's going to be the right place.


Dia Bondi  04:29

I mean, I asked you the question about, you know, how would you answer that today, you know, recognizing that how we, you know, we aren't one who forever you know, things change and you know, the Not that we chameleon, but there's things that evolve and what matters to us then doesn't matter to us now. But, you know, as you look at the trajectory of your career and life and impact, would you say that you've always had that perspective or recognition in your work in progress, or did you have a more fixed sense of yourself?


Maria Giudice  05:00

At one point, I totally had a fixed sense of myself. I mean, I, I think, you know, ever since I could remember I was a hyper achiever, okay, we can kind of decode that, right? But I always felt like I had a game plan. And I cared very much about, I wouldn't say career ladders, but a ladder, like I'm here in my life. And then, you know, if I work really hard, I'm gonna get to here in my life. And so I had that trajectory for a very long time, and also not really appreciating my success either. So I would be very successful. I would enjoy it for like a nanosecond, and then I would be very unhappy, because I need to achieve the next round. So much of my life was like that, until I went through my midlife crisis in my 50s, when I asked myself the question, Who am I?


Dia Bondi  05:54

And so now that your things are maybe less fixed, and more fluid, you have a stronger sense of self or a more diluted sense of self?


Maria Giudice  06:02

Oh, I have done so much work on myself, since I had that moment in my 50s. Like, who am I? What, you know, what's important to me? You know, who am I with all the package fear that comes with that, you're 55 years old, you're nobody's gonna care about you, your career is over. You're, you know, all of those negative voices. And then I went through this, you know, real, I would say grief and reflection, to kind of get reborn by Oh, here, here's who I am now. And that really was due to a lot of self reflection, and rethinking what growth and happiness is, and not necessarily being tied to achievement.


Dia Bondi  06:53

How does that connect to the work that you poured into change makers, your most recent of four books that you've written, recognizing that when you when you sent the note out, you know that the headline, I think, in the note was the book we've always wanted to write?


Maria Giudice  07:09

Yes, absolutely. Well, first of all, I just want to acknowledge my Co-Author, Christopher Ireland, and collaborator. Christopher, I just want to talk a little bit about Christopher. She is somebody who I have deeply admired throughout my professional career. So I, in a past life, I owned a large design studio called Hot Studio. I was the CEO and Founder of that company, and Christopher has about 10 years older than me was the CEO of a large design research firm, called Cheskin. And so I have, I have been like, following her career, like I look at what she's doing. And it's like, oh, I want to do that in 10 years. And for the last, over 10 years, we have been collaborating on projects. So my last book, Rise of the Deo, we Co-Authored that as well. And so this new book, Changemakers, you know, brought the band back together. And we, we created that book, too. So we both wanted to write this book. But it was really rooted in that moment that I was telling you, like, when I turned 55, I had been forced out of my job at Autodesk. And, you know, you can say, you know, whatever you want, but when you're forced out of a job, you're basically fired, right? And for a hyper achiever, highly successful person, that is, how could that be? How could somebody like me be pushed out? Right? I had that like, moment.


Dia Bondi  08:45

I met you right after that. I was in the audience at invisible talks. And it was literally like, weeks after that happened. That was the first time I encountered your particular brand of badass-ary.


Maria Giudice  08:57

That's exactly right! That's exactly right. So I was, I was given the keynote slot for Invisible Talks, which where I was going to talk about all the great achievements I had, I had done at Autodesk as a VP of Design. And that was going to be my keynote talk. But about a month before, two months before I was forced out of my job. And I considered that moment, a coming out party. That was the magic moment, which was you know what? A lot of people admire me. A lot of people look at me as like, they could look at my career on paper and say, Oh, my God, this woman is so successful. But here I am. Somebody who has worked her whole career as a designer suddenly out of a job at 55 years old. Rather than withering away, I'm going to step into the light and share my experience. I'm going to share my vulnerability about how I'm feeling I'm going to shared the fact that I have no idea where this is going to leave me. So this was like a magic moment that you were part of which must mean the universe put us together for a reason.


Dia Bondi  10:10

I connected to your story and your energy and what you I didn't have a history of you in this achievement role. I had to like the moment I met you, it was already something that had been completed, and I was picking up from there. And so my experience of you actually, in preparing for this podcast, I went and just watch the introduction to that, to that talk. And I remember you, I mean, I didn't get to watch all of it today. But I remember in the room, you just being really like, you never know what's going to happen people.


Maria Giudice  10:44

Well, I also really wanted to normalize this, you know, I remember asking the question, how many people have left a job when it wasn't their choice. And almost everybody raised their hand, right? And really has that experience. And how everybody feels when that happens is similar, like, you know, all the negative, I'm a loser, I'm, you know, all those negative emotions were coming in. So I really wanted to just put it out there and say, Hey, I'm feeling that too. And I have no idea where this is going to take me. And that started, that was the day one of the journey. Now you asked me about how did it lead to change makers after the processing of grief. Because I was in grief. At that point, I really was talking about my range of emotions, which happens at the end of every ending, right? You a transition begins with an ending. And it starts with grief, you grieve the ending, whether it's a good ending, or a bad ending, you're grieving a certain point in time. And you're stepping into the future in unknown territory often, and that triggers a whole bunch of emotion. So I was going through that grief process. As soon as I was able to process the grief process and get to acceptance. It's a point of time where you call it's a real point of reflection, we can all get to an acceptance mode. And some point of reflection, I like to define it as your body is in a coffin above ground waiting to be for your soul to arise, but you have no idea when you're going to get the call. So you just have to sit there in your coffin, until you get that insight where your soul rises again. And actually, there's a there is a term for this called Post Traumatic Growth, where when you go through transition, and you hit that level of reflection, that is where the creativity can get fired. That's where the Oh, the Curiosity can get fired. That is the beginning of new possibilities.


Dia Bondi  12:51

It's crazy that you say that, because for me, I, you know, I've been out on my own, developing my leadership communications practice for years and years and years, I went in house for a couple of years with a couple, two different tech companies. And when I realized this was a dead end for me, and stepped out, I felt like I stepped out of that context directly into my coffin. And I laid there for a really long time, because I didn't know what was next. But I knew what was was over. And it was a really difficult time, especially for somebody. I mean, I share this sort of achiever disposition with you to just intentionally I remember this time of going, dia, don't do anything. Don't try to do anything. Just look around, you know, and 18 months later, the thing that popped back up was a deep and shifted recommitment to the work that I am doing now, which I've always done but left for a while and came back to but with sort of a renewed sense of commitment. And and this crazy hobby I did for fun called auctioneering, which now I'm writing a book about so there is something really wonder I think that that moment of like recognizing that there's this stillness, and waiting to be called forth by the next thing and having an almost be natural. I don't know.


Maria Giudice  14:19

Yeah, no, absolutely. And you actually need that time. It's almost like the universe. I always say this, you know, if there are no mistakes, right, this is losing my job was part of the universe's plan, right. And then you wind up in this position of reflection. And like you said it it could take it took me a year I was in that coffin for about a year. So and it can kill you if you're like us who like to do do do, because you had to be be be. Instead of doing you had to be you had to rethink.


Dia Bondi  14:57

Totally! Literally my meditation for Do that year and year and six months or whatever it was, was like, don't do anything Dia. Every morning I wake up, don't do anything. I mean, I, I'd go into the garage and do pull ups, I go run a couple miles, I pack lunches for my kids. I do. I did the artists way, you know, end to end. But I really like literally be, don't do don't do anything, Dia. Stop, don't do anything.


Maria Giudice  15:18

Yeah. And, and that's where you get that spark of creativity. Like, you know, I, the other day, I took a bath. And I couldn't believe how much creativity was coming out of me and I, I almost wanted to jump out of the bath to get a book to write everything down by likely that's defeating the purpose. But the amount of creativity that comes out of you when you can kind of get to a place of rest. And being an almost nothingness will spark that new idea. So I wanted to kind of just answer the question around what the change maker book. So it was from that point of reflection, where I started thinking about, I know I did, I know, I made an impact at Autodesk. I know I changed people's lives. I was really, I loved that I loved my mission there, which was to what I believed anyway, in my story, my job was to help move that company to become much more human centered in their thinking and in their product design. And I know I really, I was killing it, like I have, you know, I have the receipts to you know, as proof I did it right. But what did I do wrong? And, and this role, like I was trained as a designer, I got out of art school, and I became a graphic designer. But suddenly, through my career ladder, I'm now in this position, I was now at this position of this large corporation where I wasn't really responsible for shipping products, I was responsible for cultural change. And that playbook is very different than the playbook that I was trained on not only as a designer, but as a CEO, like the tool set is different when you're navigating change at any scale. And I basically felt my way through the job. And I was wondering, okay, designers for years, starting with Rise of the Deo, which the book really was sort of a call to action that future. CEOs need to embrace design as a platform to lead companies that was sort of the idea of rising the Dao. And now design leaders and other people who are different than business leaders, and engineering leaders find themselves at these positions of power. How did they learn what to do? You know, what are the what are the challenges that they're facing? How are they? How are they impacting change at scale? So I got curious, and I got creative. And I said, this is a book that needs to be written. And I went and I spent the last three plus years with Christopher interviewing 4050 People in multiple industries, to really get an honest assessment of their life experiences as Changemakers. And this book is a combination of that.


Dia Bondi  18:33

When you say range, you're not kidding, because in the book, I spent some time reading it this last week in the book, you're taking small stories from folks who are, you know, leading Esalen Institute, and folks who are, you know, in product at Chase Bank? I mean, it's like, it's that wide of a range of contexts in which these leaders are, you know, implementing stewarding, leading change.


Maria Giudice  19:00

Yes, and social justice. You know, one of the, there's a woman in the book that I interviewed named Angela Lange, she is the Executive Director of BLOC: Black Leaders Organizing for Communities in Wisconsin. So her job is to activate the African American community to get them out to the polls to vote. Right. And I mean, talk about a change maker. But talk about the challenge, right? I mean, every two years is an election cycle. And there are clear winners and losers. And sometimes you're on the winning side. And sometimes you're on the losing side. And when you develop your heart and you throw your heart into a campaign, and somehow come up short, how do you recover from that?


Dia Bondi  19:46

Yeah, and say, no, no, no, in two years from now or in a year from now to start mobilizing community again, even after difficulty like that. So I love that and speaking of practical sort of scenarios, your book is Full of, you know, it's not just sort of high level platform stuff, you give some really pragmatic to do's in there that are that aren't fill in the blanks, but they are approaches to, to, you know, designing change. And one of the frameworks that you offer in there is called the double diamond. Can you talk about what the double diamond is? And how leaders might use it when they're either designing change or moving through it?


Maria Giudice  20:30

Yeah, well, first of all, designers love their design models. Everybody loves a good process model. So you asking me about the double diamond is actually a very controversial question. Because you're gonna get, you're gonna get people who like, Oh, yes, I know, the double diamond, I understand that I followed it, and you're gonna get people like, that's an old outdated model. And you know, and it's not realistic anymore. The double diamond model. I can't remember what year it came out. But it is a it's a process. That was Oh, yeah. 22,005 came out by the British Design Council in 2005. So it was an attempt to describe a process around design. And so it looks like like you said, it looks like a double diamond. But really, it's about divergent convergent thinking. So when you're a designer,


Dia Bondi  21:32

so let me just jump in here and say for folks who are listening, when we say double diamond, they're not. They're like two diamonds laying on their side with the pointy ends of each one touching one another. Yeah. So you can imagine there's like a diamond to your left and a diamond to the right. And then the pointillist parts are touching each other. So it looks like almost just like the frames of glasses, but in a diamond shape, correct? Yeah. So you can imagine going if you go from left to right, you can imagine it starts at two points that are converging and then gets wide to the widest part of the diamond and then converges again, and then attaches to the next diamond, where it widens, and then convergence again at the end. So just just for people to have a mental model of the of what it looks like.


Maria Giudice  22:12

Very nice. Yeah. And basically, it really is, on one point, the end, it talks about identifying a problem. And then going divergent in your thinking rather than problem solution. What are all the possibilities based on that problem that needs to be explored? Right?


Dia Bondi  22:31

And that's the widest part of that first diamond. Right? That's why opens up Mm hmm.


Maria Giudice  22:36

Yeah. So why does part and you know, often people call that the Discover phase, which is discovering and doing research about all the possibilities that are around this problem. And then you, you know, after you collect the research, you start looking for patterns, you start looking for things and grouping them into themes and patterns. And that's called the Define Phase, where you come up with a, you come up with a hypothesis or a vision, or, you know, something that needs to be proven out.


Dia Bondi  23:11

And this brings us to the middle part, right, where these two diamonds are touching each other. So we've, we've expanded, and now we've created focus around something correct. Okay.


Maria Giudice  23:20

Right. So you are focusing on a solution. And then you are going into the next diamond, where you're developing that solution out, you coming up with a hypothesis, and you're designing and developing the solution. So you're going divergent once again. And then you get to your you get to your designed solution, and then you deliver it which you produce it, which gets you to a convergence solution to the end of the diamond, which is the solution. So that has been a model that designers have used a lot. But that model has changed over time. There are, you know, there's agile models that are different. There's lean models that are different. And I like to modify that a little bit because there is no such thing as a solution, a problem and solution. Right? In today's world, our solutions are way too complicated. So instead of it being a double diamond, it's more like an infinity loop. You're constantly in a fluid system, where you're discovering and thinking of a solution and defining it and then developing it and learning and testing, and then delivering it and learning and testing and going right back to discovery. So it is more of an infinity loop. And that's really true for change because there is no ending for change. I say you can't, you know, one of the biggest mistakes is thinking, Oh, I'm going to change that and that there's an ending to change.


Dia Bondi  24:59

Ah so unsatisfying to not have. I mean, this is an incredibly brave thing for a leader to, you know, be on the scene so to speak, whether they're, you know, newly arrived, or someone who's been there to recognize that something is deserving of change, or that there is a change that is needed, recognizing that it is never done.


Maria Giudice  25:22

it is never done, and it's never linear. You don't go forward, you go back a lot. And sometimes you go into a tailspin. Right? So it's not, it's not like a finite model. And what I like to reframe, about change making is the measure of success is progress. Because typically change makers don't last in their jobs very long. You know, and it takes a certain amount of courage and Audacity to be a change maker, because there's so much failure involved in change making,


Dia Bondi  25:56

when did you know you are a change maker?


Maria Giudice  25:58

Yeah, well, I think that when I was in that coffin, and I was curious about reflecting on my life, and I and, and the things that the things that really get me up in the morning, even though I've accomplished a lot, and I've shipped a lot of products in my design life, you know, and I love a good, beautifully designed product, it wasn't the thing that really gets me up in the morning, the thing that gets me up in the morning is having impact on people's lives and changing their lives for the better. And I got incredible joy, as a leader of a design studio, with hiring people, and getting them to believe in a mission or a project or something, in collaboration to achieve something greater than they could ever imagine if they did it on their own. And it gives me incredible pleasure when I feel like I've had an impact on people's lives. And that's really what has sustained me. And by definition, that's being a change maker.


Dia Bondi  26:59

So i i Maybe that's an invitation for folks who are listening to consider the question for yourself, whether you're in a coffin or not, you know, do you self identify as a change maker? Is that a? Is that a matter if it's a mantle? Or is that a, you know, is that a cape you want to wear? It's a really provocative and wonderful question. Because there's something so powerful about around naming and claiming things. And in that vein, I want to, I want to talk about naming and claiming one of the things you talk about in the book, which I think is tied to what you talked about a moment ago, around the measure, in change can't be completion, it has to be progress, right? And ways in which we can eke toward progress. You talk a lot in the book about, you know, the power of naming, in communicating around the change that you're trying to cause to title your initiatives, something to give the project, you know, a name and an identity so that people can maybe attach or what can you talk a little bit about the power of naming and using language as you go out and champion the work of, of the change that's trying to occur?


Maria Giudice  28:15

Yeah, because the thing about change, especially because it's not necessarily, it may be tangible, you might be getting somebody to actually make something or deliver something that's really tangible. But the process of change is intangible, and it's abstract. So naming, it allows people to put some kind of mental model around the thing that you are trying to achieve. Because then you can talk about it in concrete terms. And you could define the progress that you're making along the way. So moving people along the process, and understanding, you know, here's what we're doing, here's why we're doing it, here's why it's important to people's lives. And here's what it's called, and here's what we learned, and so that people now can start, like using that meant building that mental model around naming an initiative. And, and understanding it in the context of where you are in the, in the process.


Dia Bondi  29:21

That is such a useful tool. I think, you know, I work with a lot of VC backed founders, you know, senior level leaders, and they are talking to me a lot about how to create change or how to, you know, move things down the, you know, down the block, right. And there are some things that they don't recognize as initiatives that actually can have a lot more energy around them. If they can answer the question. What do you call that? You know, and and, oftentimes, there's an opportunity to name something that helps bring it into an actual concrete thing as you said, this is a miss The opportunity very often in the world of change and leadership communication around what needs changing, you can name the heck out of things you can have, you can talk about five different topics in a very squishy, squishy way. But if the moment you name each of them, now, all of a sudden, they're pillars in an overall strategy, you know?


Maria Giudice  30:19

Absolutely. And, and actually, the story that you're referring to in the Changemaker book is by Phil Gilbert, who was a very senior leader at IBM, which is one of, I think, the largest company in the world. So by naming and initiatives that could be communicated across a company of a half a million people, and people understand when they hear the term Hallmark, they're gonna know what that program is, because it has an identity, and it has definition. And so it's super important to communicate, especially when you're at large numbers of scale, where people need to kind of drop into something.


Dia Bondi  31:01

Once it has a name, it has a definition, and you can start to think and in defining the thing, the thing that you've just named, I think you help create clarity for yourself as the leader and communicator, and even a set of even a set of sort of nomenclature that helps describe what is inside the initiative and what is outside of it, you start to put some boundary around it, that creates clarity for you as the one leading the initiative, and I think also for those that are trying to understand it. So they know what's in what's out. When you when you signal that word, like the term Hallmark example, in the book, we can all we know what it is, we know what it isn't?


Maria Giudice  31:42

Well, it also creates identity, you know, in some ways, not only for the initiative for for the people who are supporting it. So it's clarity, absolutely. But it's a great opportunity to, you know, it's like any mark making, alright, I'm stepping out on being my designer now. You know, it's like creating a brand identity, right? When you create a brand identity, you're doing the same thing, what are our values? What are our principles? What do we hope to achieve? How is this name associated to the values and and the things we're hoping to achieve? And how can people get behind it? It's this it's taking brand identity and applying it to a process instead of a product.


Dia Bondi  32:25

So a lot of leaders I work with no shade everyone but failed to sort of realize the power of a campaign around leading change. Can you talk about maybe you know, the work that you did at Autodesk, or other really critical change initiatives that you took on, and what kinds of campaign activities you participated in and led in order to instigate and accelerate the change you were looking to create?


Maria Giudice  32:56

I can't underscore how important communication is for any change initiatives, it will make or break any change initiatives, if you don't have a clear communication strategy, on how you're communicating the change. And again, it's, you know, what is it? Why is it important? Who's it benefiting? How are you delivering it? You know, what are the dates, all of that is part of a communication plan. That has to be wrapped up? So it's like, okay, so. So we have this change initiative, and how best to communicate this to the audiences that we want to reach. So who are the audiences? And then how do they need to be? How should that information be delivered? Right? Especially if you're dealing with cultural audiences, you know, some people communicate everything on Slack. That's, that can be the culture of the organization. Some people are like, traditional organizations are buried in email, right? Sometimes it's best to go somewhere and do a face to face roadshow and see people and look at them in their eyes, right? So you have to think about, okay, here's, here's how, here's the change initiative. And then how do we build support, because that's another big part of change making is the goal is to build support for what you're trying to accomplish. Because change is personal, it's emotional. There's a lot of fear in change. It creates a lot of uncertainty. Some people love change. It's like they jump in, you know, those people who are like, Oh, fire, I'm gonna jump right into the fire. And some people are like, No way, keep me away from that, as far as ways possible. I am, like going to stay firmly rooted where I am. And then you get these people in the middle, which I call bridge builders who are on the fence, they're neutral, and they just need more evidence before they can, you know, support. So while you're doing this change initiative, The goal is to build more supporters, right, minimize the detractors, and build supporters. So what do they need to know? In order to get behind what you're doing? And then how do you deliver it? How do you deliver it and to what frequency is needed? In order for that to be communicated?


Dia Bondi  35:20

And to me, you know, it's really easy for communication, just think about I've deployed the information into the system. Yeah. And that's good. You know, that's enough, and nobody will read it totally. So this is why I use this word campaign, because it has, and I love that you're pointing to the commute, the purpose of the communication is a lot about generating support. And how you do that is to deploy the information generate understanding how people integrate it, like there's a lot of things you can do how you do that, and all those channels is another question. But to approach these more as a campaign, and less is just a transaction of information into the system.


Maria Giudice  35:58

Yes, it's, it's a classic mistake people make, right, because some people are really afraid to communicate, or it's not their strong, strong suit. And then I tell them, find somebody who's good at it, then partner, you're not going to be great at everything, a big part of change initiatives is building a team of collaborators who play to their own strengths, right. And so if you are one of those people who, you know, is strong in one area, maybe it's in building a prototype, or having a hypothesis, or, you know, coming up with a great idea, but you're maybe English is your second language, or you're you're introverted, or whatever it is, it's still important to be your authentic self. But that does not excuse the fact that communication has to happen. So figure out how to get it done with the people who can support you to make sure that the strategy is going to be executed. And it's a big classic mistake that people don't communicate progress. The other classic mistake is they don't, they don't share failure, you know, in a campaign, right, if you are doing a campaign, and all you're showing is good news, that might not build trust, because everybody knows that there's no such thing as good news online. Right. So the important thing about communication is really sharing your progress. And also, identifying the challenges that you're facing along the way. And perhaps, strategies to deal with the challenges you're facing, like, the invitation is to, is to be open and transparent.


Dia Bondi  37:46

There is something so powerful about that. And, you know, my indoctrination into the open source community, when I got to do a bunch of work with Mozilla was a wonderful opportunity. You know, I had grown up in communications around the sort of Tada moments, right. And it was actually very counterculture to bring to door to the table in an, you know, in an in a system that valued that operated in open source values, and it was just such a wonderful thing to, to be able to bring some ideas to the table to, you know, name your initiative to be able to see and share wins, but also build in the open in such a way that invites more people into help solve problems that you're willing to share about and and collaborate on, which in fact, did the exact thing, you know, you weren't naming a moment ago, which is around building support, enrolling people, because now they're participating, not just consuming.


Maria Giudice  38:44

Right. And, you know, and recognizing that change is really hard for people you like another classic mistake that people make, when they're changemakers, they get hired in an organization to do X, Y and Z. And they are super fired up and they go in, again, running into the burning building. And they don't realize they're stepping over bodies along the way. Right. And those bodies are still breathing. Right. And so, so recognizing that, that there were things that were done before you showed up, that need to be recognized, there were people who had tried and failed, that still might be in the company and organization that you need to tap into as a source of wisdom and knowledge, right? And you need to recognize how to bring people over the edge to go from fear to hope. And so it's super important to not only be empathetic but compassionate, that not everyone is going to share in your enthusiasm and to recognize that people are different and to have a little humility and understand that People are gonna need certain things in order for them to become supporters beautiful is not one size fits all.


Dia Bondi  40:07

That's really beautiful and a good reality check to think about sort of what you're actually dealing with, even though you might be very few future focused, and as you said, enthusiastic about the vision of what's possible to bring along and recognize the context that you're operating in, and that you're not the only one in the room. So along the along that sort of same theme of, you know, recognizing how difficult and bumpy and complex some of this change can be, you know, imagining that you've engaged, you've identified your problem, and you've engaged in the Double Diamond process, and you're now deploying a, you know, a solution, recognizing that, that, you know, that progress is sort of your measurement, but that you are, you are, you are knowing what you're moving toward, and that it's a really long haul. And for some of us, wink wink, who have a hard time with the super long haul, and even change makers who are saying yes, to Long Haul projects, you know, it is hard and can can feel like it's moving at a glacial pace, you know, with key moments here and there. But there's, there's an exercise of sort of delayed gratification here on the past to this kind of change or trying to create, how do we deal with that? And how do we hold on to hope in the face of that?


Maria Giudice  41:24

Yeah, well, I have, you know, have a lot of experience, you know, working in tech, and I know that people in tech are famously impatient. Right? So then they, they have this fear that if I don't ship this, it's not real. Right, or I have to ship I know, it's not great, might not solve all the things for these, I know, there's a lot of tech debt, maybe the product is really hard to use, but I'm gonna get it out there. And we're going to learn and we're going to iterate now, there's nothing wrong with putting something out there and learning and iterating. The, the problem is rushing things out that you really know that there's going to be more damage than good to ship something. So there's a story in this book around my boss at Autodesk. He was like the Chief Product Officer at Autodesk. He was my boss named Mr. Hans Paul, he talked about pushing out this product, he was so impatient, he's like, I gotta get this thing out. And he, and this is classic, leaders give you a ship date with no logic, right, they just pull a date out of the air, creating a forcing function for everybody to rally around the date, you know, Damn the torpedoes and get something out on that date. And the date is more important than the quality of the work, or the benefit to the customer. So people are really impatient, a lot of leaders, especially in tech, driving people to a date. And rather, rather than forcing people to a date, what I would say is, and this is more of an agile based logic is, you know, let's continue to build a prototype, let's, let's pull something out that's small, it's maybe we're not shipping it, maybe we're sharing it with a few people to learn and iterate. But put something out that you know, is more of a test balloon than it is the thing. So how do you build progress and put that anxiety or that impatience aside, and still feel good about where you are, but doing it in a more intentional manner.


Dia Bondi  43:50

So I hear there's like, you can kind of keep hope alive by finding small, less risky and meaningful steps along the way to the big shebang, this idea that you can harvest tiny chips, you know, shipping in between the big shipping so that we can satisfy that need to to see progress without actually thinking the ship.


Maria Giudice  44:19

You said it's so much better than me. Yes. You should write a book. Oh, that's right. You are writing a book. But that's exactly right. It's, like what is success and what's reasonable? And how do I demonstrate progress by smaller milestones, rather than the big milestone, thinking it's the end because like I said, there's no such thing as the end.


Dia Bondi  44:45

So here's our last question for the day, which is when I when I asked you in one or two sentences, how would you answer this for you? What does it mean to lead with who you are?


Maria Giudice  44:58

Oh, you You know, my whole life I have been my authentic self. So leading with who I am, is really about leaning into my authentic self and being confident with how I show up in the world with honesty, integrity and authenticity, and, and leaning into that, and stepping into it hard and, and knowing that when you lead from your authentic self, you are at the greatest the year, the year at the greatest point of greatness for you. And, you know, I grew up, I'm a girl who grew up in Staten Island, New York with that big hair, you know, the big hair from the 80s. And when I graduated, I did not look like a true typical designer of the day, which was more of a white male, who were black, and had no emotion. I had a loud voice, I cursed up a storm. I looked like Melanie Griffith from working girl. And rather than hiding behind that, I doubled down on it. And I doubled down on my persona my whole life, bucking the odds that I was not like a traditional designer, and I wound up coming out on top. And, and that is because I don't have anything to hide behind. Because I've always lead from a place of authenticity and integrity.


Dia Bondi  46:28

See what I said, everybody, punk rock. So if you have a chance to see Maria speak at an upcoming business or design conference, I will highly encourage you to do that. You can of course always find her on the interwebs where might they find you on the interwebs, Maria?


Maria Giudice  46:43

Well, if you're interested in our book, we have a website called changemakers by design.com. And if you are interested in coaching, you could reach out to me at hot studio.com


Dia Bondi  46:56

Loved having you Maria as usual and I'm always going to be seeing you around the bend.


Maria Giudice  47:01

I'm so happy that you've been part of this like new journey for me and you are a badass in your own right. And I just am all fired up and honored to be on your show.


Dia Bondi  47:13

Thanks so much. Lead With Who You Are is a production of Dia Bondi Communications scored, mixed and produced by Arthur Leon Adams, the third, an executive produced by Mandy Miranda, you can reach out to us at hello@diabondi.com or leave us a voicemail at 341-333-2997 you can like rate, share and subscribe at Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your favorite podcasts. Go to diabondi.com for shownotes and to learn about all it is that we do to help you speak powerfully and lead with who you are.

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