BL&T No. 053: Measuring Success

Personal Growth

This post originally appeared in my newsletter, Borrowed, Learned, & Thought. BL&T is sent weekly on Mondays. In every edition, I share lessons learned in agency leadership, life, and e-commerce. This post does not include all the details shared in the newsletter sent via email. Subscribe here.


"[In] our own professional or private lives we can make course corrections by coming back to our core purpose. Having a clear overarching intent enables us to check ourselves—to regularly compare our activities or behaviors to our real intent. If they are incorrect, we can edit them."

From "Essentialism" by Greg McKeown [Book]


One of our clients recently launched work that didn't look one-to-one with our final designs. The team has built a great rapport with the client team and was excited to share what they created together. However, after seeing the launched work, they questioned whether it was worth sharing at all. During a chat with the design lead on the account, I sensed the sudden doubt about whether their efforts were as successful as they thought.

In our discussion, the design lead and I dug into what they thought the client hired us to do from the start. They went on to talk about how we've been able to support the client by helping them build a creative strategy and provide a unique direction forward.

When I repeated what I heard back to the design lead, it clicked. Our collaboration was less about the final designs and more about the thinking behind them. In essence, the client was looking to us as a creative advisor more than as a designer.

Before we wrapped up, we concluded that, with the client's permission, it was more than okay to share what we did, despite the client's design updates. I encouraged the design lead to share the sentiment with the rest of the team to keep the momentum going.

Further confirmation came before the day's end. The design lead messaged me, excited to share a quote from the client during their meeting: "Barrel is the incubator for [client name's] ideas."

Lesson? Before judging the success of collaboration or endeavor, make sure you're clear on what you set out to accomplish and why. If you're just getting started, take the time to align on the outcome and purpose, so later, you know where you stand.

Thought Starter

Think of this week's highest priority and ask: Why are my efforts valuable? What do I hope to achieve?

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