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6 Questions To Help You Troubleshoot Team Issues

With the fast pace and client-centric focus in creative environments, it can be hard to pause for a second to check in on how your team is working. Before you realize it, dynamics take root that can damage your productivity and your entire work culture.

When you know that something needs to change on your team, but you can’t quite pinpoint the problem, ask yourself these questions to help identify your issues and set a course of action.

1. Does Everyone Know the End Game?
If you don’t know where you are headed strategically, it’ll be difficult to get there. And if you know where you are headed but your team doesn’t, they can’t help you get there. Know your vision and communicate it so that everyone is working from the same blueprint.

2. Is Team Development Happening Regularly?
Your annual offsite, team gatherings, and performance reviews are great things to do. But most people need more frequent efforts to keep them engaged. Spending time with your team can take extra hours, but it should pay off in productivity down the line.

3. Are You Focusing on Individuals Over the Team?
Take the individuals out of the conversation a bit. It can help people see more objectively. Instead, focus on the culture and work processes of your team system:

Culture – Does the team have trust, respect, creativity, and diversity in values and insights.

Processes – Process creates culture. How do your processes influence your culture — both positively and negatively? Do you have accountability, clarity in vision, clear decision-making, resources, and leadership?

Need more insights? My favorite tool for uncovering what’s working and what’s not within a team is the Team Diagnostic Assessment.

4. Do Leaders Understand Their Impact?
There are incredible tools out there to help executives increase their self-awareness:

  • Insights Discovery – Understand your style, strengths, energy, and the value you bring to your team.
  • Social Styles – Understand your preferences in how you think, act, and make decisions.
  • Business Chemistry – Identify your own behavior pattern and how you interact with others who fit different patterns.
  • Leadership Circle Profile – Identify your habitual thoughts and behaviors and how they impact your leadership effectiveness.

And remember: It’s not the tool that matters but what you DO with it.

5. Could the Team Use Some Experiential Learning?
Yes, we’re talking about things like the stereotypical ropes course. You may be rolling your eyes, but hear us out: There is nothing like being scared shitless to let your humanity come out.

Experiential learning shows a lot about how you and your team cope in high-stress team environments. You get insights about your styles, habits, and behaviors.

You don’t have to do a ropes course. We’re fans of this equine experience. We’ve had clients set up mini-Iron Chef competitions. You can even weld and build stuff together.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to debrief afterward! Otherwise, you miss some rich insights that might be hard to recall later.

6. Does Your Team Trust You to Be Consistent?
Your team needs to know that you will do what you say. If you set up a monthly call with one of your VPs in another city to talk about their wins, challenges, etc., don’t let that meeting fall off the calendar because you have a conflict. Move it.

Interested in having someone come in and help you make your executives and teams stronger, productive, and valuable? We’d love to help you design the engagement that will get you where you want to go.

Why Career Pathing for Your Staff Will Make Your Life Easier

What is Career Pathing? Whether you call it career design, career mapping, role planning, or professional development, Career Pathing is a way to map out how your reports can gain the skills, experience, and expertise to grow toward a particular role, responsibility, or outcome.

Read more…

Career Pathing for Individuals

Are you unclear about the direction of your career and current job role — and do you expect your boss to figure that out for you?

If so, I have a different perspective to share. Let me show you how to take your future into your own hands through Career Pathing. Read more…

Is It Time to Hire a Director of Culture?

The job title “director of culture” is relatively new within the past five or so years. But I’m seeing more and more smaller to mid-size, entrepreneurial companies creating this role within their organizations.

As we discussed last month , culture – the process of how work gets done – is happening all the time. Read more…

Our South by Southwest Recommendations

Every spring, the South by Southwest Conference and Festivals fill our home city of Austin, Texas, with big ideas – not to mention beer and barbecue.

With scores of sessions on an array of topics, the SXSW schedule can be kind of overwhelming. So we put together a list of recommendations to make your SXSW planning easier. Read more…

4 Questions to Grow a Dynamic Culture

When was the last time you wanted to stay in a job where you weren’t being challenged or using your talents? Where you knew exactly what to expect every day? Where there were no surprises and you knew you would have the same role in five or 10 years that you have today?

That might work for some people. But it doesn’t work for Creative Executives.  Read more…

10 Things to Think About Before You Get Work-Married

I was recently asked for insights on what people should think about before becoming business partners.

Partnership is marriage. Period. When it’s great, it’s great, and when it’s challenging…you have to dig in. Partnership is being legally entwined with someone else (or multiple people), for better or worse. Read more…

Hacks to Help You Work Life Better in 2017

Hello!

The hangover of transitioning back into work is slowly drifting away, and I hope this finds you well and excited about what you are working on. If not, here are some tips and tools to manage your energy today and all year long. Read more…

Why You Should Time Travel

memory_box

 

A milestone birthday mixed with a longer work engagement left me needing some introspection and reflection. As a coach, I often guide people in focusing on where they want to be in the future. But these last few months I’ve taken a new approach – looking at my past to get clear on the now.  Read more…

What do curiosity and truth have to do with money?

As it turns out, everything. I recently sat down with Jasmine Holan of Veriditas Money Management to chat about her philosophies around wealth and the creative professional.

Jasmine Holan, Veriditas Money Management for The Creative Executive

My husband and I found out about Jasmine and sought her out as a way to help us save for having a baby. If you’re self-employed, two months off with baby = need for savings! While Jasmine is not a financial planner or CPA, she anchors everything she does in numbers. Within the first six months of working with her, Read more…

SXSW 2016: Sessions for The Creative Executive

Overwhelmed by the agenda at this year’s SXSW? Since we’re all about cultivating creative leadership at The Creative Executive, we’ll help you narrow it down.

Read more…

Is your new boss messing with your mojo?

Hello!

I’ve had several clients this past year that have had new bosses enter the picture – sometimes at the most unexpected and inconvenient times. One even had this happen within just weeks of joining a new company!

A new leader can bring about excitement, fear, and a whole lot of uncertainty.

For some, uncertainty is invigorating and for others, it’s a fear trigger.
We want to make sure that fear around uncertainty doesn’t get in the way of you and your potential.

Read more…

What’s Your Superpower?

What do you love? What makes you smile?  What interests you?  What are you good at? Your superpower lies at the intersection of the answer to these questions.

The Creative Exec_What's Your Superpower
Read more…

Free New Year’s Giveaways!

Did we get your attention?

We believe that great Creative Executives are fantastic leaders and even better learners. Get a leg-up at the beginning of the year and discover some new things about yourself with some of our favorite free tools.

May these resources keep you inspired, aware, and on a productive, creative path.
Enjoy!  Read more…

Did You Build This Ship to Wreck?

Florence and the Machine inspired our post this month. For us, this song encapsulates what the New Year symbolizes – a time to plan, set intentions, chart a course, and set sail! Moreover, like any effort that requires planning and forethought, you don’t want to sabotage the delicate balance by taking on too much or failing to map your journey. Here are simple things you can do this month to keep your ship sailing in smooth waters all year long.

The Creative Executive. Stay connected to your vision in 2016. Read more…

What I Learned From Our C/E Immersion Weekend

As I was wrapping up our Creative Executive Immersion experience, I found myself at a loss for words. I was having a really hard time articulating my thoughts to the group because I was so blown away by their courage.

In the coaching world, the word courage gets thrown around like Snickers on Halloween, so it can often sound trite or superficial. But talking about courage and actually experiencing it are two very different things. During the Immersion weekend, I was witness to the depth and meaning of the word.

Read more…

A Creative Comeback After Cancer

Nick Ross Photo

Six years in remission from having cancer in my mid-twenties, I was bellied up to a downtown Los Angeles bar, lamenting the fickle and unforgiving industry I chose. It was January of 2014, and I was a cliche – a down-on-his-luck actor claiming creative relevance in LA with little more than a regional insurance commercial and a couple viral videos to my credit. And I was floating further and further away from the safe, sandy, care-free beaches of my twenties and into the deep sea of expectation that is life in your thirties. Do I hang it all up and shift focus away from the unstable pursuit of creativity or do I keep showing up to auditions with my head held high? Read more…

Grit in the Face of Adversity

Franklin Roosevelt, Maya Angelou, Albert Einstein, Walt Disney…history is full of stories of wildly successful people who have overcome incredible odds. This is not to say that FDR succeeded because he contracted polio at 39; FDR succeeded despite his disease. Surviving and thriving after a truly time-stopping, universe-questioning trauma often comes down to grit. We all have trauma and tragedy. Grit is what takes us from merely white-knuckling and surviving the pain to actually thriving.

What is grit? Read more…

What Really Makes You Valuable

Last week I had the honor of opening the Worldwide Partners’ North America Annual Meeting with a talk about The Humanity of Creativity.

Much of the talk centers around the four pillars of human relationships within your business that either motivates or hampers the way to creating great work and getting great results – Self, Clients, Talent, and Partnerships.

We also heard from Read more…

The Four Facets of Effective Creative Leadership

Four Facets of Effective Creative Leadership | The Creative Executive

Leadership can make or break creative teams. It can make all the difference in how you and your team experience the day-to-day, weather tough times, and succeed in actualizing your mission and vision. There’s vulnerability, inherent chaos, and unchartered waters in pushing creative boundaries bird and it takes a nuanced leader to manage well. While there are many great articles about leadership, I’ve condensed it into what I think are the top four facets to effectively managing creative teams. Read more…

Creative work by its very nature is usually unorganized, passionate, and messy; navigating the field and managing creative people with professionalism takes thoughtful nurturing not required in other areas of business. The Creative Executive Method understands that and helps you provide structure and leadership without disrupting the flow and dynamism that’s key in a creative environment.

 

I’ve learned much about myself as a leader, how I lead my team effectively and ineffectively. The team response has been positive to the new conversations we are having.

My brain actually thinks differently since I’ve taken The Creative Executive Method. The way I operate on a day-to-day basis, the way I speak, and the way I listen have changed for the better. I feel I developed a stronger ability to think more critically when in a direct leadership or management situation. As a result, I’m a more effective producer, a more open-minded manager, and a much more intuitive leader.

Often I am moving too fast and don’t take the time to think about my style, my impact, and my team’s impact. I realized that taking the time to be mindful about the challenges we discussed, in particular around teams, is really important for me and for the success of my business.

If you want a course that takes the blurry edges of your career and pulls them into focus, I recommend The Creative Executive Method.

We love working with Lauren. We have used her at our annual retreat for two years now, and each time we have walked away with a clearer, cleaner vision of our firm, ourselves, and where we want to go next. She does a great job setting the tone for the day and keeping everyone on track. Having her facilitate allows the leadership team participate in meaningful discussions alongside everyone else. We couldn’t recommend her more.

I felt really frustrated, having been in advertising for a crazy long time, thinking it was too late to change. But we figured something out. Something great. And now I’m creatively inspired again.

We tasked Jen with helping to coach our Atlanta Sales and Strategy teams on leadership, growth, and representing yourself. She had such amazing energy and kept the team engaged through the new insights and strategies she shared, as well as her interactive approach. The team walked away energized and inspired to take the next steps in driving their careers forward.

The more business we won and the bigger projects we were given, the less control I had of my time. Through working with Jen, I made the time to not only prioritize what I really wanted to accomplish both professionally and personally, but to establish what I expected from my staff. It allowed them to grow and take ownership of tasks and let me get back to working within my skill set. It also let me keep up with some personal goals that had fallen into the background. Jen’s coaching helped Wexley grow by helping me improve my overall productivity.

I found myself thrown into the deep end, having to take charge of a team of 10 overnight. Jen helped me find my footing as a manager and gave me the confidence and skills to grow a successful, motivated team.

Working with Jen has been the best investment of the latter half of my 20-year career. I was stuck in my own narrative, and she helped me see the possibilities in a different, authentic, and valuable way.

I’m infusing more fun, energy, and creativity into team meetings as well as spending more time 1:1 with my team members. We are implementing this change across the company, and I am in the process of working with other executives at the company to do the same with their teams.

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