How to Scale Management and Leadership in Your Company
We just finished a fun project with a client creating a Management and Leadership Style Guide.
This is a small business that’s making its way to midsize. They have very clear vision, revenue, creative, talent, and financial goals.
Like many other businesses that are working to scale, they use a younger, less-experienced workforce. Their talent is straight out of school or has just a few years of experience. Most have never been managers. The partners of this company wanted to guide the development of their new managers in a way that’s meaningful both to them and to the staff they oversee.
We interviewed partners and senior management to understand what was important to the company and how they want new managers to lead. We then used what we had learned to write the style guide, which was given to all new and existing managers.
This is what the CEO had to say about the experience of creating the style guide and the impact it has had on the company:
Our business is growing rapidly, and culture is at the core of what we’re all about. How to keep that culture while bringing in new people is a question that keeps us up at night. We realized this year that much of how we manage and engage with our people and our work was not scalable.
We worked with The Creative Executive to formalize our “rules of engagement” – our Work Philosophy – so that no matter how we grow or where we work everyone knows what’s expected of them.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive. And I’m getting a bit more shut-eye.
If your business could benefit from its own Management and Leadership Style Guide, here are some key areas to include:
Vision of the future (for business)
Results created when all of the above areas are optimized
How to manage
How to onboard
How to develop
Hiring an outside consultant to do this work can be beyond helpful. We can help you see how your goals, best practices, and tactics all tie together and then incorporate them all into one document for your managers.
Interested in a Management + Leadership Style Guide for your company? We’d love to chat.
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…
Is your new boss messing with your mojo?
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.
It’s a buyer’s market these days. Every time I visit LinkedIn, someone is searching for a Talent Manager. People want – and need – good in-house recruiters. Independent recruiters and recruiting firms alike have a bumper crop of jobs and roles to fill.
What does this mean for those looking to fill roles, and conversely, what does this mean for you as the job seeker? Read more…
Get Out of Your Element; Get Back in the Game
Think back on your career. What are the experiences that brought on the most personal growth, or are most fulfilling to look back upon? I’m going to take a wild guess and say that Read more…
Five Ways to Architect Inspiration
“Inspiration” isn’t some nice-to-have bonus at your office.
It’s essential to doing the kind of work you want to do. We’d place it up there with electricity and good coffee.
Inspiration can take all kind of forms: Read more…
Why It Isn’t Your Job to Make People Happy
Happiness isn’t everything. Especially in how you lead.
Is it important to help build happiness? Yes. Is it the main thing that matters? No.
Your No. 1 job is to engage your people. Trying to make them happy and engaging them are two very different things.
We don’t always have perfect contentment, ease and satisfaction at work. And, really, we shouldn’t: Read more…
The Crappy Part About Passion
We like to talk a lot about following our passions. What we mention a lot less, though, is that passion can mean suffering.
I was recently watching Todd Henry’s talk “Be Creative Under Pressure” from the 3% Conference. The whole video is worth a watch, but one part especially stuck with me: He talks about the Latin root for the word passion: to suffer or to endure.
Think about people, things and ideas you’ve been passionate about in the last few years. Now, can you think of the suffering that accompanied those passions? Read more…
How to Get Your Company to Invest in Your Development
Whether you are interested in my executive retreat or another opportunity, I wanted to give you some tips on how to be strategic and effective when you make your case. Read more…
Something to Look Forward to All Winter Long
It’s December. The holidays are here in full force. How do you feel? Is the gratitude practice working? Still feeling pulled in a million directions? Like there isn’t enough time to catch your breath, let alone do all of the things you’ve planned?
And, just to ratchet up the tension a little bit more, this is the time of year when most of us start thinking about our next year–our big plans, our goals, our gotta-make-it-happen’s for 2015.
The New York Times recently featured an article touting the benefits of meditation and looking at how the worlds of business, networking and meditation are all converging. But more importantly, this article was on the front page of the Style section.
Now as a journalism major/ex-dotcommer/Pilates teacher and studio owner/sustainability consultant/entrepreneur/breast cancer survivor/meditation teacher, all with a consistent and underlying minor obsession with all things style and fashion, this was beyond exciting for me. It was as if all my worlds were coming together in the New York Times Style section – the epitome of external validation.
But while I love spreading the good word of meditation and its benefits, if there is anything that the past two years have taught me it’s that this external validation doesn’t define who we are Read more…
The Creative Executive Reflects on the Best of 2014 Part Deux
We’re beginning Part Two of our Best of 2014 list with, well, lists. A big part of creative inspiration is discovering the peers whose stories, bright thinking, and advice we can all learn from. Here is a recap of our best-of lists from 2014: Read more…
The Creative Executive Reflects on the Best of 2014 Part One
I love this time of year. From celebrating friends and family, to taking much needed time away, to preparing for the year ahead – it’s an amazing time to reflect and to look forward.
So as 2015 approaches, we wanted to take a look back at some of our favorite articles (both original and ones we discovered) and resources for Creative Executives. Read more…
You know how November goes.
An eye blink from now, we’ll be in the holiday whirl of shopping, traveling, eating, drinking and gathering.
And then it’s the end of the year. Already. I know.
Before it all starts, I invite you to reclaim Thanksgiving as a time to get some perspective and connect with others.
We pay a lot of lip service to gratitude this time of year. But I want to invite you to take it deeper. Read more…
Creative Leadership in Action: Aaron Burgess, Director of Content PayPal’s User Experience Design (UED) Group
Great ideas can be fleeting, fragile things at first. They need a protector to grow and thrive — and sometimes even appear at all.
That’s you, Creative Executive.
“Most of us have tons of great ideas throughout the day, but without a sounding board or platform, we may shrug off these ideas as whimsy,” says Aaron Burgess, director of content for the User Experience Design Group — and a protector of ideas — at PayPal.
Based in Austin, Texas, Burgess leads a couple dozen content designers and video producers and works with colleagues across six states and four continents. While he admits that he’s never really off the clock, he also points out that his “work rarely feels like work,” and that his life beyond PayPal includes skateboarding (“I think my wife and my knees would prefer I stuck to a safer form of exercise”), meditating, going for runs to the sounds of Minor Threat and Slayer and starting to make stuff again. He’ll tell us more about that in this Creative Leadership in Action interview, where he also delves into building culture, nurturing ideas and creativity and forgiving yourself. Read more…
What’s Your Impact?
Your leadership can make all the difference in you and your team’s experience of work, resiliency through tough times, and how a mission and vision can be actualized in the day-to-day.
You have the opportunity to share your leadership gifts with the worlds you encounter. Remember that gift has great power. Use it for good.
Are You Taking Enough Risks?
We’ve officially entered Fall.
What a great opportunity to check in with ourselves and look at the remaining quarter ahead. Where are we challenged? Where are we too comfortable? What do we need to do to shift and change in order to accomplish the goals and vision we set out for ourselves this year as a company and team?
When we stay safe in our thinking and actions, we don’t take risks. When we don’t take risks, we can’t evolve. Read more…
Creative Leadership in Action: Jene Park, Thomas Wylde COO Part Two
Thomas Wylde, a luxury lifestyle brand based in L.A., creates some seriously glamorous clothes and accessories.
And as COO of the company, Jene Park helps create the environment where these beautiful things can come to life. Read more…
Our Top SXSW Panel Picks for Creative Leaders
This month SXSW opened up it’s 2015 Panel Picker with voting open from August 11th – September 5th. There are 4,512 entries, and we have no doubt that they are all filled with some amazing ideas from some very cool and talented folks.
But at the Creative Executive we’re laser-focused on cultivating creative leadership, and as such we’ve pulled out a few panels that we’re particularly excited about. (And you know we won’t be shy with a shameless plug for our own!)
With that, here is an overview of some of the best panels for Creative Executives looking to be inspired Read more…
Creative Leadership in Action: Alison Williams, Founder of Raconteur + The Storyteller of Storytellers
Alison Williams has good news for you:
The world will not end if you mess something up.
“I’ve taken so many wrong turns that the paradigm of failure is no longer relevant to me,” says the founder of Raconteur . “It’s just one more interesting experiment. ”
She continues, “After many of these false apocalypses, at some point you realize the world is not going to end, and that the feeling that you’re about to fall off a cliff is just you stepping out of your comfort zone and learning.” 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.