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.
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.
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.
Inspiration can take all kind of forms: Read more…
The Power of Play in Innovation
The answer isn’t always to work harder.
In fact, as creatives, hard work gets in our way sometimes.
Think about where and when you and your team have had the best ideas. 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…
The Year of Refinement
Sometimes we think we have to do a lot or change a lot to get where we want to go. But lately a different approach has made a big impact for both me and my clients. The best part? It doesn’t involve looking outside of yourself for solutions.
I decided that 2015 would be my Year of Refinement. And I’m talking about refinement in all its meanings. Read more…
Get More Sleep (and Creativity)
Sleep. On the one hand, we talk longingly about it like it’s sex or dinner at a four-star restaurant. On the other hand, we brag about how hard we work, how little we sleep and how caffeinated we stay just to get everything done. We read with awe about super-productive people, from startup founders to music stars, who insist they only need four hours of sleep, and we think that should be us, too.
But as more and more research shows how powerfully sleep affects our brains, the clearer it becomes that we’re actually being counterproductive with all the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” machismo.
Working late might look impressive, but how much are you really getting done when you labor long hours — and how good is the work you’re producing? 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 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…
How Empathy, Connection, and Trust Enhance Creativity
Today we welcome a guest blogger with some serious creativity cred. Melinda Rothouse is the founder of Austin Writing Coach and the co-founder of Syncreate. Based in Austin, Texas, she’s a writing, creativity and communications coach and consultant. She brings to her work a background that spans everything from music to Buddhist meditation. Melinda is working on her doctorate in psychology with a specialization in creativity studies at Saybrook University in San Francisco. We’re so grateful she had time to share some thoughts on creativity and connection with us.
Why do some creative partnerships and working relationships thrive, while others crash and burn, or simply stall out? What qualities should you look for in people or organizations that you choose to collaborate with, and continue to work with over time? Read more…
Mind Bone: Turn Your Work Mode Off and Turn Your Creativity Up
We all need creative inspiration.
Whether you are in the process of making great ideas come to life or finding yourself experiencing idea fatigue and needing some mojo, staying dialed into what inspires you creatively is key.
In this month’s list we’re highlighting some of our favorite reporters and resources for just that – creative inspiration. Some will have you thinking more strategically about your creative teams, but most will have you entertained with stimulating “mind bones.” No matter your creative yearning, we’re sure there is something on this list for everyone! 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…
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.