Course Correction and Trusting Your Gut

In the last update about our journey to a new TEN7 website, I talked about trusting the process and being confident the ingredients we’re assembling will come together in the right way. Then, suddenly, I had a moment of doubt. Despite all the pre-work and check-ins along the way, something didn’t feel right when I started to see the designs taking life. That’s when I realized trusting the process doesn’t mean you’re just going with the flow. The process requires constant engagement to be sure we’re correcting course and staying true to the mission and values that remain our North Star.

We were just entering an exciting phase of web design, when the grayscale wireframes were starting to merge with the color palette and typography we selected. I was on a zoom call with our designers at Studio Malagón and they were presenting beautiful concepts. Then, after the meeting as I looked more closely, I felt my energy start to wane. Suddenly the colors we selected were starting to veer more cold, when the essence of our brand is open and warm. I had signed off on these colors but now the way they were being used just didn’t feel right. Was this cold feet or natural discomfort with change? Or was this a feeling I should listen to?

I decided the best course of action was to put these new questions before the team. After all, this group had earned my trust and had shown an understanding of what makes TEN7 unique. As soon as I raised my concerns, I knew it was the right thing to do.

They immediately understood where I was coming from. We didn’t go back to the drawing board altogether because the foundation of the work was solid. Instead, we had another working session, playing around with shades and how the different colors will play out with different elements of the pages. Suddenly the cold gave way to warmth. Some elements that seemed a little trendy and not true to TEN7 were removed. The more we experimented and shifted things around, the more I felt my energy returning. To revisit our analogy from last month, the recipe was still sound, we just needed to adjust some of the spices to fit our palette.

Seeing this process through the lens of the “client” reminded me of a few things.

  • Let the Brand Be Your Guide
    As we’ve moved through this process we’ve often talked about staying true to the TEN7 brand, which is why we did so much work at the beginning to refine our mission and values. What’s been interesting is to watch as the brand has started to take on its own personality. Certain elements that seemed spot on in the early stages suddenly felt a little off the mark as our understanding of the brand has matured. We need to keep our minds open to stay on target.
  • Re-Thinking Doesn’t Mean Re-Starting
    Part of my hesitancy to speak up about my concerns was that the team was producing great work, and I didn’t want to stop the momentum just because something didn’t “feel right.” What I realized, once I did speak up, was that my comments didn’t cause the team to miss a beat. If anything, the discussion about the color palette spurred even better work and got us all re-energized to push forward.
  • A Good Team Isn’t Afraid to Make Adjustments
    It’s a testament to the team we have working on the site that nobody got defensive when I raised these questions. The designs were beautiful, they just didn’t feel quite right. Nobody took it personally. Instead, we worked together to get it right. This is testament to living our value, “Be a Team,” where, by opting for openness first, we encourage collaboration in all things.

This is a magical time in the process as the pages start to take shape, so it’s easy to get carried away. You need to walk the line between course-correction, fine-tuning and nit-picking on the little things. (No, I don’t really need the tiny heart graphic to change colors as I scroll down the page). In the end, I had to trust my gut, and I was happy to have a team that was willing to listen and take things where they needed to go.