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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…

Thanksgiving Love

acknowledgment

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…

Mind Bone: Turn Your Work Mode Off and Turn Your Creativity Up

inspiration

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…

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.

Here are some things to think about…

– The things you know about leading powerfully
– Things that get in the way of you being effective
– How to persuade and share your ideas with others

You have the opportunity to share your leadership gifts with the worlds you encounter. Remember that gift has great power.  Use it for good.

Inspire, Move, Transform: Top Resources for Honing Your Pitch

Last month I had the amazing opportunity to attend a 5-day intensive training that helped participants shape their own narrative and hone their presenting skills. It was transformational (more on that to come), but it also got me thinking about the influential leaders out there who help creative leaders become better speakers. Read more…

10 Mistakes That Sink Creative Executives

Every Creative Executive’s path to success looks different. But the mistakes that knock us off course are universal, and easy to get caught in. Do these sound familiar? Read more…

What Do Great Creative Leaders Know?

Being a Creative Executive can get pretty intense. You’re rallying others, and reaching for your best, every day in the quest to make something great. You need a support structure, and we think it’s these five pieces of knowledge. Read more…

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…

The Gift of Risk

When was the last time risk got your ass in gear?

One of my clients sent me a recap a few weeks back…

I have a renewed sense of optimism for the company. We have much to be proud of and a stellar collection of talented people all looking to make big things happen. The very act of committing ourselves to something “risky” and somewhat “unknown” has brought out a renewed sense of purpose across the board and especially amongst the partner group.

This is what risk can do for us, whether as individuals or organizations. It create cohesion and motivation in ways that status quo just can’t. Read more…

Bold Decisions, Creative Risks, and General Badassery:
The Creative Executive Team Selects Some of Our Favorite Movers and Shakers

This month we were inspired by our interview with Jene Park of Thomas Wylde. She’s an all around inspiration when it comes to charting your own path as a creative entrepreneur. Inspired by her jump from a full-time role at BCBG to start her own line of clothing, it got us thinking about other creative risk takers we admire.

So for our latest list from The Creative Executive, we’ve pulled from industries spanning from design, to food, to journalism. In fact we even kick off the list from the biggest players in the hospitality industry.

So read up and be inspired to take your own creative risks! 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…

Creative Leadership in Action:
Jene Park, Thomas Wylde COO
Part One

We’re just going to say it: Fashion executive Jene Park is a badass.

Jene, a native of Korea, wasn’t born into success. But she was born into a tradition of determination. She’s the daughter of a single mom who worked constantly — as in having only six days off a year.  “She sacrificed her life to raising her four children,” Jene says.

Jene came to the U.S. at age 29 and enrolled at Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in L.A. She was older than most of the other students, didn’t speak English and had no background in design or art. But she excelled, earning a scholarship to study in Paris. Read more…

Happy Labor Day!

May you celebrate Labor Day today by acknowledging and toasting your achievements over the last year.  After all, the holiday is  “a celebration of the American labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers.

We salute you.  Happy Labor Day!

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…

Ones To Watch

ones to watch

Our work at the Creative Executive is to track down some of the best and brightest minds in creativity and leadership. As part of our summer roundup, we’ve also made a list of some individuals we love – trailblazers we are following that make us think, act, and innovate.

Love our picks? Check out our custom curated Twitter List with over 60 names and publications we recommend! Read more…

Summer Reading List

Reading List Books

Summertime reminds me of the beach, road trips and reading.

Recently, I watched The Truth About Creativity on en*theos (an interesting online learning platform). At the end of each interview, David Burkus asked each author what they were reading. Read more…

Creative Leadership in Action:
Josh Jones-Dilworth,
Early Stage Technology Marketer

JoshJonesDilworth

We tell Creative Executives all the time to think about what kind of legacy they want to leave.

Josh Jones-Dilworth says that when he got clear on that question, it changed everything. Read more…

How to Help Your Team Thrive

Welcome to June!

This past month we’ve focused on managing your people. Whether you are a solopreneur working with contract teams or an executive managing a large team of people internally, these principles apply although the context might shift. 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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