Design moves, inspires, challenges, and connects. It delights, falls flat, or disgusts. It embodies an idea and encapsulates an aspiration. It communicates quality and care. It can cheer your mood. It can touch your senses. It provides function and comfort. It interacts, charms, shelters, energizes and calms. Design is “of our own making.” It connects with us through sheer beauty or innovation. It can soften or make harder your load. Great design resonates, connects, and encourages introspective thought and meaningful action. The best design is rarely accidental in form or function

.Design is where the magic begins – inside and outside the organization. It humanizes the organization and connects the soul of the company with the heart of the employee and customer.

It takes into consideration every sense, every touchpoint, and every possible experience. Design forces thought on not simply what is, rather what can be for a company and the people it touches. It encourages imagination. But, it demands discipline.

Every aspect of design should be purposeful.

The most impactful design is often realized when leaders understand the parameters in which they are operating, but never lose sight of the goals they are chasing.

Leaders should understand that the design is what allows connection and meaning and is what ultimately creates alignment with the clear purpose of the organization. This is the beginning of creating genuine passion by the people who drive performance on the front lines – the employees. That is why it is so important to not simply share, but engage and educate every person in the company on the company’s vision so that it can be effectively and consistently seen, felt, and experienced.

Design brings people, concepts, and thoughts together in a way that inspires and moves.

As a social species, we are strategically designed and inclined to create a collective impact—as diverse perspectives fuel a measure of both agreement and disagreement, which universally leads to unique, highly creative solutions and innovative concepts.

Design sets the tone for attunement. We rethink and design experiences that enable people to share in a culture where they aren’t merely at work, rather where they can become engaged in the experience of work. Beyond stimulating workplace culture, that engagement extends to customers and clients. It is a match that goes way beyond branding and communication to something larger: connection.

Clarity in design creates the environment for connection.

When a company has clarity, it makes alignment not only possible but probable. It connects what is with what can be for every team member involved.

Performance is driven by the whole—often an inspired, aligned whole. To reach and engage an audience, the design process is central. Thus, we have always espoused the belief that design is and must be intentional. Every aspect of it.

In the design of my company’s work at Deutser, there is nothing accidental— from thinking, strategy, construct, structure, content, linguistics, color, layout, and experience—to the way we want the user to consume it, interact with it, and feel about it.

Design is not one dimensional, regardless of the medium, and it is never absorbed flat. There is a dimensionality in every design and the dynamics behind how it is embraced. In the engagement of our work or the experience we create, we believe that nothing should be left to chance: all knowable factors and inputs are considered, even in a world of chaos and ambiguity.

Design as a business strategy.

The 2014 Forbes piece “Why Design Thinking Should Be at the Core of Your Business Strategy Development” captured how design thinking creates a culture of continual improvement which can be applied to anything that needs to be improved, whether it be products, services, or processes.

This intensive and intentional approach to solving problems fosters creative solutions which transcend those that are possible with more conventional modes of thinking.

“This design thinking approach sets the precedent for both the consumer experience and the interactions within a company’s performance.”

There is a reason, rationale, and definition for each element guided by the understanding that design is not about reaching some inanimate object or technology. Rather, it is about the very human relationship it establishes and the interactive space it creates.

Performance by design.

Performance by design is about connecting where you are now with where you want and need to be. There’s already a space where you can be better than your currently known best, and the true secret is you already know it.

Modesty, greed, and ego-serving need gets in the way of you knowing you can exceed your current best. But in clarity, there is a deep comprehension of what needs to come together and connect in order to draw forth the necessary energy, ideas, and resources. Performance by design isn’t something forced or hustled. It is where every intentional piece of something is designed to fit the whole. That design can be created, curated, or obtained.

Performance by design is what elevates your workflow by engaging higher thought and deserving assurance. It brings value and worth.

Design is your very personal conduit to a future state. A state in which all that you imagine and plan for, train for, and educate for, is already happening. You’re just not there yet. But in clarity, you already know it exists—in possibility, capability, opportunity, promise, and vision. It just needs to be actualized. In clarity, we begin to understand everything that is needed that will serve you in that future state. Design serves as your bridge from where you are to where you want to be and gives you a touch and glimpse of the potential to get you there.

Excerpted from Leading Clarity: The Breakthrough Strategy to Unleash PEOPLE, PROFIT, and PERFORMANCE (Wiley, April 3, 2018).