Feb 2021—I joined Finder. One of my first 90 days goals/key performance indicators (KPIs) was to create an engagement feature for the Finder app.

On day 90, we didn’t ship the new feature, and my CEO (Fred Schebesta) called me for a  one-on-one meeting, which he named performance review.

Fred created a spreadsheet and asked me to score myself from 1 to 10 on each KPI, so does he. 

While I gave myself 10/10, Fred gave me 3/10, and one of the poorest performances was the “Go-Live.”

For your context, I’m the Principal Product Designer and responsible for strategy and design executions.

I thought I was doing great. I managed to deliver the designs ahead of time and constantly pushed the design boundary.

Everyone says the new design will uplift the overall app experiences and generate more engagement. 

Only one problem—the engineer didn’t build the design on time. To be specific, I delivered the design early, but we didn’t ship the product as we planned.

I thought I did my part and didn’t understand why the engineer performance became my performance indicator—so I asked Fred.

Fred calmly replied, “Stop being just a designer—be the entrepreneur.” 

That was a slap on my face, and it’s unlocked me from a fixed mindset.

There are no such things as “I did my part” in an innovation project/team. 

“Stop being just a designer—be the entrepreneur.”—Fred Schebesta

I can’t just keep designing without constantly communicating and understanding other people constraints.

We’re all doing what it takes to make things happen. Everyone has a clear role but blurs boundaries.

As a designer, my job is not only to create an imaginative design but deliver the product to our customers—the so-called “Go-live.”

Now I’ve focused more broadly on the whole team and our business, not just design. But it doesn’t mean I stop mastering my craft.

If there were an engineering obstacle, I’d try my best to understand the problem as an Engineer, not a designer and then adjust my design accordingly. 

You can’t lead change all by yourself, even with authority. My designs are not lead the product; they serve the product and its peers.

The result? I was astonished at how much I could learn from everyone in the flow of work.

Jun 2021—We deliver feature after feature and keep the momentum—I got a first-hand experience of performing while transforming with the team.

Nov 2021—We ship the new features called “Finder Earn”, and Fred slacks to everyone, “It’s one of the greatest moments at Finder—This is a remarkable product that a remarkable team put together.”

I’m still on his team, so I assume he included me : )

Next time, if someone scores me 3/10, I will be excited about what I’m about to learn and unlock myself even more.

Performing while transforming.