How to Lead Your Creative People – Why it is important and what to do about it


Being creative is sexy. Everyone is talking about it and everyone is doing it. Being creative is the new black.

And in business, being creative is even sexier. Why? Because being creative drives business. It adds real value to the company. Value to the nation, the value to its customers, and value to the bottom line.

Log in to the website of the company, such as Business Week or Harvard Business Review, a search for “creativity”, and you will find a plethora of articles. In his book flights Creative Class , [1] Richard Florida points out that in the US alone, workers in the creative industries make up 30% of the workforce and earn nearly 50% of the money. Being creative is not some whimsical, intangible thing – .. It is a major business tool

Intrinsically, we understand this

The Creativity Gap But there is a problem – because there is a gap. There is a gap between the value of the organization’s sites to be creative and the ability to tap into the creative resources to fully use the creative talent of its people.

How do we know this? Because we asked. Recently, we conducted a survey of both business leaders and creative people [2]. One of the questions we asked was, “In business, creativity should have commercial value?” Pretty obvious, as you would expect, most said yes – 90%, in fact. Not surprising, when you think about it. In the commercial world, creativity is just not useful unless it leads to positive business result

BUT … surprising was the result of another fairly simple question :. ‘Do you want to fully exploit the potential of creative your people? “Only 17% of people said yes!

I do not know about you, but it rings alarm bells for me.

one hand, the company understands emphatically the need for creativity to be valuable – yet 83% do not use your talents creative people their wisdom to achieve this. What is even more amazing is that they know they do not!

It’s like building a bridge across the canyon to get a heap of material to the other side, but only using 17% of the capacity of the bridge is. You want to limit how much you carry over or make multiple trips. Whether it is inefficient: you are not making full use of the very useful bridge. You would not only utilize 17% of the capacity of the bridge, so why only 17% of the productive capacity of your organization?

The Challenge

The answer lies in the challenge facing creative agencies. The challenge is not really find creative people and it does not teach your people how to be more creative. The real challenge facing creative agencies is to know how to lead creative your people – your new thinkers. It is to know how to tap into their talents, activate their genius and direct it towards a viable business outcomes.

Hollywood is a great example of this. Why? Because Hollywood is all about the business of creativity. It taps the potential very creative and very clever people, it lets them do their thing, but it controls and the debate begins the potential to become commercially successful. When we think of Hollywood, we often think of actors, directors, writers, set designers – all of which are extremely creative. But we also need to focus on the manufacturer. Their role is to bring together the creative talent, let them do what they do best, and then manage it and direct it so that would pay dividends.

Like it or not, Hollywood is about making money from creative people. And it’s not bad: it makes many talented people to do what they love to do. Sure, you can train up your actors, directors, and set designers (and you should), but the key to business results is to orchestrate their talents and genius. It is important to focus on building individual skills, but it is even more important to focus on building the right leadership, the right environment and the right methods that allow creative people to thrive – with all its creativity, thoughts and ideas. That’s where the future gold company resides.

Monkeys, Zoos and Ducks To do so, you need to consider three things.

1. Leadership

Leading creative people is a completely different game. It’s like a herd of monkeys.

2. A creative environment.

You need to build an environment that supports and stimulates creativity. You need to build a Creative Zoo.

3. The Right Creative Process

Herding Monkeys You need to have a process in place where coming up with ideas is like shooting ducks in a carnival – Leadership Leading creative people. is like a herd of monkeys. Creatives often appear to be all out in the world of their own, but they are also very social and enjoy hanging out with other creative people. They are brilliant at slinging device content; they are always throwing ideas, designs and ideas about. They are incredibly smart. And we need them.

They think, feel, and act very different, so that leads them requires a different set of leadership skills. We need to know and understand what frustrates them, what motivates them, and how to help them be their best.

So the old leadership style, where you rally the troops and expect them to follow you as you head off into the wilderness with a blunderbuss phone in one hand and a machete in the other, simply will not work with forms. You need to be a conductor -. Someone who knows how to orchestrate their talents and bring them together in a beautiful symphony

It takes understanding and it takes vision

you need to understand how creative. people work, what they need, and what barriers you have to break down. In many ways, the role of leaders is to support and guide, not interfere or restrain.

You also need to have and maintain vision, to ensure that their abilities focus your expectations and customer and objectives. They need to know what the task ahead is. Robert Davis Davis Advertising Inc, [3] to put it nicely when he said: “My job is to develop and communicate my vision. ‘

Creatives love to have a clear direction, knowing what the rules of the game are and what goals to play in. But they also need the freedom to figure out how to get it done. Part of the leader’s job is to be very clear in putting these guidelines and establish a vision. But the leader also has to be brave enough and smart enough to let the creative team do what they do best without getting in the way -. Just steer and guide them sometimes when they get off-track

It is like standing on a mountain and tell people that you need to get over the valley. Let them figure out how -. It is what they do best

to lead creative people you really have to be a nurturer and custodian skills. You need to be mentor and coach. You have to know how to empower them, follow them, earn their respect, and let them play. The last thing you want to be the boss.

Maybe we should change the word ” to ‘discipline’ or ‘Empower’ or ‘a protector “and maybe we should change the term” Creative Leader’ to ‘Creative Director’

In create Zoos -. creative environment You will also need to provide creatives with the right environment that will support and stimulate their creativity. You need to create a zoo.

Good Creative Zoo is a place where creative people love to hang out. That’s where they feel they belong and can communicate with other creative people. It is a place where they feel inspired and are free to try new things, explore the possibilities. Good creative environment is a place where people can take creative risks, make mistakes, and put ideas on the table without fear of ridicule.

A very good creative environment is not just to provide the team with the resources they need, but to give them permission they need to do what they do best :. be creative

How do you do it? Is a standard template or design for the Zoo? Not really. It varies for everyone. But certain qualities to be there to make it work.


Your environment has a great influence your mindset, so having the right physical space is important. It does not necessarily mean you need surreal rooms full of bean bags; it is you need space helps to be creative. You need to have a place that stimulates creativity


Let’s face it: the creative process does not work 9 to 5. It needs time to do its thing. So leaders need to harness its potential by providing an environment that allows creative people of being flexible with your time. I say come and go as you please? No, but there needs to be a certain amount of flexibility to enable creative advantage.


Whatever you do, you need the right tools. Providing creative team with the right resources is important. As Robyn Munro, Marketing Atlassian, notes “We give them (creatives) awesome resources to do their jobs with -. Fast computers, large monitors, comfy Aeron chairs’ [4]


You also need to allow your appearance to explore and be open to new possibilities, the possibilities are great ideas. Alan Fletcher [5] speaks of the need to be as helicopters. – The view landscape the problem from many different angles, hovering over details but soaring high to see the whole picture. Allow creatives to be helicopters by building them Heliports.

Creative Risk

One of the biggest frustrations creatives have, believe it or not, is to work for companies that are risk-averse and have low tolerance for failure. To be creative and explore opportunities, you need to step out and take creative risks. Again, this is something that Atlassian understands well, according to Robyn Munro: “. We try to create an environment where it is okay to try something and fail ‘

Creating zoo is to build the right environment to allowing them to thrive, not about caging your appearance and limit the ability of

Shooting Ducks -. Creative Process Lastly, you have a process in place where coming up with ideas is like shooting ducks at a carnival. Because when you think about it, there is no shortage of ducks. They just keep coming. The taste – that list -. Is that know how to make ends meet, and even more importantly, hit broadcasters will you pay the really big prize

As a young boy, I wanted to be a filmmaker. I remember attending the workshops with film producer Michael Weiss (of Dirty Dancing fame, among others) and he was talking how to get the project up. He said you have to keep talking about your ideas, in collaboration with others, just keep banging away. Someone asked, “What happens if someone steals an idea? ‘

answer was brilliant; it summed up the very real issues to be creative. He said (and I paraphrase, because this was a long time ago)” Firstly, you should be very happy you’ve got an idea worth stealing. And secondly, go find another one, because the world is full of ideas. “

I just love it. I love it so much, because it is true. The world is full ideas. Ideas are everywhere and it’s really not difficult to come up with them – you can find people to brilliant, you can teach people to make it even better, you can even pay someone else to do it for you

thing is not to come up with ideas, it is to come up with ideas to make a difference. It is a different matter altogether. Yes, you have to put the ducks in the movement, but the real talent lies in hitting the right ones and hitting them consistently.

To do it, you need to have the right processes in place.

dangerous, most organizations do not! When asked in our survey, “Does your organization have a process in place to enable and direct creation? 47% said no and 31% said yes.

This is partly because so much of creativity is intangible. It is simply not black and white; it is full of contradiction and paradox. The very idea lock-in “process” is often seen as restrictive. And indeed, if you accept the cookie-cutter step-by-step approach can be.

But creativity thrives on structure. So you need to have a process that knows when to turn creative control on and off. A process that allows creative people to explore and play, to think intangibly to find potential – but then glass funnels and manages the possibility to tangible ideas and solutions

Hitting Creative Sweet Spot Here’s the exciting part. . If you get any of these three parts work together and in harmony, what you will find is a beautiful, creative sweet spot. When you hit the sweet spot, all just clicks and works Synchronistically.

This is where everything seems to fall into place. As a creative, seeing possibilities and come up with very good ideas is simply part of what you do. Since all, at all levels, work together and understand the role and value each other. I know that to some extent it is a utopian ideal, but it’s worth a try. And even if you get close, this is where creativity really rocks.

This is where a creative organization really pays big dividends. This is where you outpace your competitors and become a market and industry leader

And it is very, very sexy

References: ..

1. The Flight of the Creative Class . Richard Florida. Collins 2007. p29.

2. The survey was 182 respondents from various creative industries, which includes both business leaders and creative people.

3. Robert David is the owner of Davis Advertising Inc in Atlanta.

4. From the interviews I had with Robyn in August 2008. Atlassian is a software company based in Sydney with offices in San Francisco and Amsterdam. It is clear that they lead and supporting creative people themselves well.

5. The Art of Looking aside . Alan Flecther. Phaidon 2001. p421. This is one of my favorite books. If you do not have it – get it


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