Transcript from the "Consistency of Behavior" Lesson
>> The last stage, I mean, in the maturity is Stage 4, Evolving a Healthy Program. And the shift from stage 3 to stage 4 is also a mindset shift. We talked a little bit about that as we went from 2 to 3. That was the mindset shift of the design system team, right?
[00:00:16] We're no longer only focused on adoption. Now, we're thinking about all these other challenges we have. Well, Stage 4 is when the organization as a whole has that mindset shift. You've moved from being just another product or just another tool to becoming an influential leader inside that organization.
[00:00:35] And really, what's cool is that all the stuff that you've been doing in Stage 3, Stage 2 and Stage 1 is the exact same stuff you have to do. To earn that spot in Stage 4, and it's really about consistency of that behavior. When you find yourself in the meeting where the talk, where there's talk about finding a common tech stack across all the products, right?
[00:01:00] That's probably in Stage 4 because you've demonstrated it's possible for us to actually do this in a really a healthy way. We could build a system that could support that single tech stack across all our organization across all our products. Or when you're consulted by the brand team instead of informed by the brand team, right?
[00:01:17] When they come to you and say hey you, you know what, we're thinking about making some changes to the brand. How would that impact all of these digital touch points that we have out there? That's a conversation instead of them just saying to you this is changing, make it happen.
[00:01:31] Right, so that's a different that's a different perspective the organization is taking toward the system. Or when the way that people inside your organization talk about the system, as if it's elevated to that place of respect. You've probably that's another scenario where you just have reached that Stage 4, and that consistent behavior means the system is trustworthy and predictable.
[00:01:56] And there is not a single organization on this planet that doesn't want operational predictability, right? If you can show that the system creates predictability in the operations, that means there's almost no risk for them to invest in you, right? That's a huge deal. That means the design system, in fact, is more than just a tool.
[00:02:19] It is now the key to the organization operating more efficiently, operating better. I remember really vividly a conversation that I had with a subscriber inside an organization with a Stage 4 system and here's a quote from that interview. He said, I have no hesitation in saying the people working on the design system and he listed a few names.
[00:02:41] Are the smartest people in our company. They mentor the other teams, they're available to help us tackle really hard stuff. They are just helpful, respectful, and really capable people. And I love that. That kind of illustrates what you're looking for, not just those people, but the system team as a whole, right?
[00:03:00] And when I try to kind of identify what is it? What's the characteristic from the outside looking in at a team that really indicates that they're Stage 4. It's this kind of proactivity that I see them with, right? And I think it's because others are starting to look to them as leaders, they start to take that on themselves.
[00:03:22] And that means they're coming at the problems ahead of them instead of responding instead of reacting to problems. So early on in your system, you're engaging with people and you're a lot of times, you're just shaping the system to meet the needs of folks. But that's a very reactive stance, right?
[00:03:39] Instead, Stage 4 systems are proactive. They are constantly out there understanding what's happening in the industry, as things shift they're aware of that. A Stage 4 design system team sees that change coming, and maybe they spike out whether or not we can support that new version of you or whatever it is, right?
[00:03:58] And they are demonstrating how the system can support those shifts that are coming by the industry, and how the system isn't able for that kind of growth. They also help their subscribers stay on top of what's coming. They're sometimes aware of what's going on throughout the organization, because they interact with so many different groups.
[00:04:19] They're way beyond. They have this organizational intelligence that other product teams don't have, because oftentimes the product teams are siloed. They don't talk to each other as much as they should. The system team becomes that place of unity for the conversations. So in this proactive system team, they're actually facilitating the maturity of the organization as a whole.
[00:04:41] I mentioned this briefly earlier, but there's this idea, I'm not quite sure how to talk about this yet, but the idea of like codifying that maturity. Cuz I think I have seen a few scenarios where maybe two or three interviews I've done with different design systems that I thought were in Stage 4, like solidly in Stage 4.
[00:05:00] And what happened is they lost a couple folks from their design system team and very quickly fell back almost into Stage 2. And it's because those individuals were the ones making the system sort of really solid. There was too much dependence on individuals in those scenarios, and it was working, right?
[00:05:19] So, they didn't see a need to make a change, but all along what we have to do is try to like embed this goodness in the system itself. So, if somebody has a set of processes they use independently that are not part of the system, they may do great work and you might see really rapid maturity.
[00:05:35] But until those things are codified and included in the system and become the way that we work, those things go away when that person does. So that's the big risk I see for Stage 4 teams, is when they're too dependent on a personality or a superstar or an individual.
[00:05:49] So the way that you codify this stuff, the way that you actually make an impact in your organization, is through stability and culture.