Know Your A-Team
I’ll speak of building an A Team in context of Design. Good design talent is scarce. The industry is bustling with up and coming talent that have all sorts of opinions and varied perception of what a career in design looks like.
But amidst all of the chaos that usually surrounds Design, there’s a class of people that are a breath of fresh air. People who are sincere in their approach towards design, who have an innate sense of pride in their work and a deeply rooted intent to genuinely get better at their craft. Every leader will tell you that they’d kill to find and recruit such people in their team. And yet, most aren’t able to.
When we built our Design team at Unacademy, we searched far and wide. For our Design Lead roles, we screened about 100 profiles and interviewed ~40 senior candidates. After months of hard work, huge strokes of luck & serendipity, we can say that today we have one of the most sincere, talented and hardworking team at the helm – the A Team.
What’s an A-team?
- They have an extremely high standard of work ethic. They consistently show up and deliver on the commitments to the best of their abilities. They don’t slack up or compromise on sincerity.
- They don’t settle for mediocrity. They hold the highest of standards for themselves. They create good examples for people around them to follow. They also know when they have not done a great job and they push themselves to better, without you needing to do so.
- They are motivated and have a high sense of ownership for their work. They don’t need you to give them a pep talk every morning or push them to give their best.
- They are always up for new opportunities. They’re hungry for picking on new ideas and initiatives. They actively seek out opportunities to participate and contribute, even in areas not directly related to what they’re working on.
- They give & take feedback candidly. They’re confident in their skills but humble in their approach with the intent to constantly improve their own and the team’s work.
- They consider identifying flaws in their own self, the team and the org a crucial part of growing and improving. They take proactive ownership in addressing the challenges and fixing the issues within the team and the org. While identifying challenges is useful, they’re positively on the side of finding solutions.
- They support each other, no matter the project or the situation. There’s a genuine camaraderie that binds the A team together. They have each others’ back.
- They bring their full selves to work. Their unique personalities shine and create a subculture that breeds uncompromising freedom of expression and openness. This refreshing mix rubs onto others and becomes addictive.
- They do serious work, but not seriously. They consider fun an important element in doing good work. They work sincerely and respectfully, but not at the expense of fun.
- They add intangible value to the culture. Through their personality, way of working and a unique sense of self, they contribute to the culture to the point where you cannot imagine work without them.
- They pay it forward. They recognise the environment (and any privilege) they benefited from and make sure they extend it to more folks in the team to elevate them.