Managing Creative People to Achieve a Common GoalNews Image

Managing Creative People to Achieve a Common Goal

“… Humility: The state of being humble and unpretentious. Being humble is the best predisposition to learn and teach. This allows the taking and receiving of feedback in an open manner, always thinking positively and in the best interest of the group and considering the individual’s personal growth.”

By: Manuel Saez, Creative Director at MS&P
[Article first published on October 13, 2009 on Fast Company Expert Design Blog]

Building and running a creative team is one of the greatest challenges for any manager. Creative people are passionate and have a tendency to think they are right, better, and more humble than the others around, but the truth is that the nature of creative work requires to them to be individualistic and fight for their ideas and beliefs. The challenge is when several of these personalities get together and need to be managed to achieve a common goal.


In my professional and personal life I have had the opportunity to build and run creative teams, always experiencing these challenges. Through the years I developed a set of working values that helped me maintain peace while busting creativity. Today at our office, prior to hiring a new team member we always share with them the following working values, clearly explaining their meaning in the context of the office and setting up clear expectations on behavior.


Our working values are: Humility, candor, optimism, ambition and responsibility.


Humility: The state of being humble and unpretentious. Being humble is the best predisposition to learn and teach. This allows the taking and receiving of feedback in an open manner, always thinking positively and in the best interest of the group and considering the individual’s personal growth. A healthy dose of humility always lets you put the overall good of the team first.


Candor: Straightforwardness in words and message. Clear, honest communication is crucial for personal and group growth. Using frank, respectful language speeds and focuses any communication. Directness is a virtue.


Optimism: Optimists believe that people and events are inherently good and things will work out in the end. A positive attitude will always get positive results. Problems are opportunities.


Ambition: An eager or strong desire to achieve and improve on past accomplishments. Ambition is about self-growth, self-development, self-expression, and self-improvement. Ambition provides the motivation, energy and willingness to pursue goals. Without it, nothing will be accomplished.


Responsibility: Be accountable for a job well done. Each individual is the most qualified person to oversee their own performance. Success is tied to a sense of responsibility for things within your control.


Certainly these values are not a silver bullet to avoid conflict in the creative office. However, they are a solid foundation to foster creativity and help lasting relationships.


Add a comment to this Discussion