The following is a guest contributed post by Chris Gomersall, CEO and founder of ATOMIZED, the first dynamic cloud-based visual content calendar for brand marketers and their agencies.
Guess what, having a mess in your office is actually a good thing! If you have creative folks on your team, then you need to take this advice seriously – it’s actually science. You need to understand why that chaos is helping them prosper in their job and how you, as a leader, can help them and other, neater, co-workers thrive. Components like being unaware your team’s comprehensive goal, not having the right tools available, and wanting to keep the process a secret are traditional roadblocks in the creative atmosphere. Here’s what you need to know:
Unaware of change
It’s tough to know what everyone is working on at one time, and it’s even more difficult with those who work in creative spaces. When it comes to individual workstations and roles inside an agency like social media promotion, TV buying, brand design, and so on, it can quickly put everyone in siloes. Where this really starts to irk your artistic employees is when they are unaware of the process of a project because they are in their own creative and typically haphazard bubble or zone. This results in the creative team having to toss out work they have been spending hours or days on only because they were unaware that others have switched focus or canceled the task. Start by breaking down these barriers with an overall, collaborative vision for the whole team to work towards. Once that vision or goal has been decided, most likely by the leadership team, it’s time find a way for the goals to be visible to everyone. And this is what brings me to my next point.
Not having the right tools
In too many work environments those who need to be imaginative don’t have the right tools to maximize their potential. Let’s look at this honestly; most teams are currently working in or on singular platforms and maybe even, gasp, spreadsheets. But with a more integrated solution everyone can be kept in the loop – especially those who are known to work better being disorganized. Having open calendars, communication channels, and any other platform that is used daily by anyone in the office in one single space will start bringing the team together. This will allow those who need orderly processes to have a view into where the artistic individuals are at in their workflow without disrupting their creative atmosphere both mentally and physically.
Keeping the process a secret
Sometimes it feels like it’s easier for creative-types to keep others in dark until the end of the project is in sight or even completed. This can cause tension, and occasionally conflict, in the large scheme of things. Creative types typically feel like if they share, there will be too many critiques along the way by the non-creative workers (which depresses the creative staffers productivity). On the flip side, account teams often become irritated by not knowing the status of their ongoing campaign. To some the secret-keeping method may seem like the work is in disarray, but it’s seen as the lifeblood of a creative individual’s process. That means this is a delicate dance for you as a manager to have to perform. The big answer here: deadlines. At the beginning of a project or campaign set hard (and a few soft) deadlines for everyone and then enter them into a tool with open visibility to everyone. While it may be difficult for creative roles to regard the confines of rules in other areas of work, more often than not, they will respect a hard deadline and use it as motivation in their work.
It’s pretty interesting stuff, right? Help keep your visionaries and imaginative workers happy by bridging the gap between them and their tidy counterparts instead of trying to force them into a situation that works for you. Accomplish this by keeping awareness, tools, and processes as open and streamlined as possible. And learn to love mess.