Anna Wintour Teaches Creativity and Leadership

Recently I watched the MasterClass of Anna Wintour who has been editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine since 1988 and artistic director for Condé Nast, Vogue’s publisher, since 2013.

In her class, Wintour teaches creativity and leadership. While she works in the fashion industry I found her tips to be very relevant and applicable in tech or any other field.

This post is a short summary that contains the main points of the class that I wanted to document to come back to as a reference on leadership.


Getting the Work Done: Anna’s Management Tips

  • Hire and build a great team
  • Build a system for keeping track of your work
  • Give feedback quickly and be direct
  • Don’t micromanage
  • Be thoughtful about how you run meetings and why

Starting Out: Finding Your Voice and Succeeding

  • Learn. Watch. Work hard.
  • Get off your phone and be inspired by the world
  • Be daring and take risks
  • Be thoughtful when you ask for help

Inside Vogue: Leading With a Vision

  • Own and be clear about your vision
  • Lead your team with a strong point of view
  • Study the world and absorb what is happening culturally
  • Be open to hearing others’ perspectives
  • Give your team members projects they are passionate about

Editorial Decision-Making

  • Always try to create something original that has meaning
  • Provoke a conversation
  • Make mistakes (they’re inevitable) and then learn from them
  • Let data inform you, not lead you

Executing a Vision: Transforming the Met Gala

  • Build a vision others can believe in
  • Nothing extraordinary happens overnight. Great things take time.
  • Attention to detail is critical
  • Build excitement and think about how you can engage the widest possible audience

The power of an Image: Photographers and Models

  • Gather references to communicate your vision
  • Take your audience on a journey
  • Don’t be afraid to rise to a challenge
  • Choose models who have personality and presence
  • Be thoughtful about what your choices say about the message you want to communicate
  • Don’t be cookie-cutter

Evolving a Brand: A Look Back at Iconic Vogue Covers

  • Make your mark, especially when starting a new role
  • Always keep your antennae attuned to cultural shifts
  • Trust your team and be open to surprises
  • Channel the cultural conversation around your work
  • Believe in your instincts and execute on them
  • People expect change

Designers: What It Takes to Succeed

  • Have a strong point of view
  • Think outside the box
  • Have a consistent message
  • Find the right partner

Spotting Designer Talent: CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund

  • When things feel dark, don’t retreat. Engage and lead with a purpose.
  • Investing in your industry pays dividends
  • Nurture young talent, but don’t be afraid to be honest with your advice

Case Studies: Lessons From Creative Leaders

  • Have a broad range of experience
  • Know and love your audience
  • Stay engaged with the wider world beyond your own industry
  • Times will be tough. Stay true to your vision.

Author: Julia Amosova

Software Quality Engineer on the WooCommerce Core team.

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