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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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…
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…
Transformative….dynamic….amazing….empowering…powerful…these are just some of the adjectives used by our Spring Immersion group to describe their experience. While we think it’s a great way for successful women to get clarity on your professional and personal goals, and get insights on how to go forward into 2016, don’t take our word for it.
Need a reason to come to our three-day C/E Immersion Experience in November? Here are five! Read more…
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…
I want you to remember the last time you felt really creative.
Perhaps it was… Read more…
“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.
As a Creative Executive, you can’t put off inspiration until after all the “real work” is done. (Tweet+Share) (And when does that ever happen anyway?)
It has to be at the top of your mind. Every. Single. Day. Inspiration has to suffuse your leadership and the work culture you put into motion. (Tweet+Share)
Inspiration can take all kind of forms: Read more…
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…
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…
Here’s something you probably didn’t predict about your career when you started out: Midway through, with plenty of success behind you, you’re still looking for your path.
The secret that no one tells you? It’s totally up to you to figure it out.
The landscape of the work world is a lot different than it was when you first started out. Companies that still lay out succession paths of how you can move up are few and far between.
Who you are — and what you need to do to keep succeeding — is different, too. At this stage, your success is less about how you execute and more about how you manage relationships and make things happen.
So you’re in charge of the path. What does that mean for you now? Read more…
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…
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…
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.
We have a solution to help you focus. Read more…
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…
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…
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…