Jeff Gothelf on How to be Forever Employable

Jeff Gothelf on How to be Forever Employable

My guest this week was Jeff Gothelf. Jeff helps organizations build better products. He’s the author of the award-winning book, Lean UX, and the co-creator of the methodology for Lean UX, which has gone on to inform the way thousands of companies approach software and product design.

He started off his career as a software designer and now works as a coach, consultant, and keynote speaker. He helps companies bridge the gap between business agility, digital transformation, product management, and human-centered design. He’s written numerous books since Lean UX, selling upwards of a million copies across his collection of publications.

In this conversation, we focus on his most recent book, Forever Employable. The book chronicles Jeff’s transition from employee to agency owner to independent operator. It teaches you how to stop looking for work, and how to let your next job find you. In this conversation, you’ll learn:

  • How to find the right place to plant your flag as a thought leader.
  • How to master storytelling from the position of your newly planted flag.
  • How to create opportunities by creating content.
  • What the two biggest challenges are facing anybody on this path and how to overcome them.

Jeff has a refreshingly simple way of thinking about what many of us want to be able to do: secure our own financial freedom by becoming a thought leader or respected expert on the thing that we’re good at.

Please sit back and enjoy my conversation with Jeff Gothelf.

Full Episode

Guest Links

Show Notes

  • Every tweet is a test. Jeff walks us through the story of how a conversation, that became a tweet, ended up as a book that has helped reshape how to approach design thinking. (00:03:23-00:06:40)
  • Introducing depth. Jeff discusses the importance of direct, incremental feedback as you work through iterations of your product or idea. (00:06:45-00:08:12)
  • Filtering feedback. We talk about the idea of “interaction as signal”, how to discern what is valuable from any meaningful exchange. (00:08:14-00:11:45)
  • Finding direction from positive feedback. (00:11:58-00:13:27)
  • The Lean User Experience. Jeff shares the story of how he conceived and built Lean UX. (00:13:45-00:18:20)
  • Being different. Jeff talks about the mindset shift of framing your work under the assumption of doubt while pursuing outcomes that generate positive behaviors, as keys to the success of Lean UX. (00:18:24-00:21:23)
  • The permission to fail. We discuss failure as an essential step in the learning process; and how designing environments that allow people to be wrong, generates accelerated growth and space for organic innovation. (00:21:30-00:23:25)
  • We explore how to introduce experimentation in a way that brings value without undue disruption or distraction. (00:23:33-00:25:05)
  • Taking the leap. Jeff shares the journey of how he decided to leave the safety of a traditional job and build his own business, based on his passionate belief in these new ideas. (00:25:08-00:32:40)
  • How to stop looking for work, and let jobs find you. We unpack Jeff’s latest book “Forever employable”, which offers practical insight and guidance on how to make yourself indispensable to the market. (00:32:52-00:40:31)
  • Tell your story. Jeff talks about why becoming a compelling storyteller is essential when delivering your own product. This can feel intimidating, but receiving regular meaningful feedback, in a safe encouraging environment, becomes a shortcut to accelerating your storytelling ability. (00:40:56-00:44:45)
  • Finding your audience. The unexpected power of simply talking to people. (00:44:45-00:48:16)
  • We discuss how to navigate distraction as your business grows and overcoming the desire to stay in your comfort zone once you start to find consistent success. (00:48:41-00:52:01)
  • It’s in the execution. Some might fear idea theft, especially when most of what you have to offer is traded as intellectual property, but for Jeff, this is a small concern; especially when you firmly establish yourself as the undisputed source of these ideas. (00:52:32-00:54:48)
  • The new normal. Jeff shares how he’s adapted to the pandemic, and how the initial lockdown became an opportunity to refine his existing work and embrace an increasingly remote, digitized workflow. (00:54:58-00:59:30)
  • Where to find Jeff to access his short courses or learnings. (01:00:11-01:00:35)

Selected Links from the Episode

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