One part of my job that I absolutely love is that my clients often expose me to best business practices. These best practices enrich my own consultation and allow me to grow and stay relevant within a continuously evolving business climate.
Recently, I have been evaluating my business and personal life in 2012, reviewing and recognizing my challenges and achievements in 2012, so that I can make improvements in 2013.
Over 20 years ago my husband started a new job and, at the time, I was pregnant with our first child. As an independent consultant, I relied on my husband to provide health insurance through his employer. But as soon as I got pregnant, his previous employer closed the business and my husband became unemployed, leaving us without insurance. We were therefore thrilled when he immediately found a new job, but simultaneously concerned when we heard that the company’s insurance considered my pregnancy a “pre-existing condition” and would not cover any related costs, including the all expensive doctor’s visits and delivery.
Having worked with many creative teams led by partners, I often observe that the principals struggle with role clarity as much as their team does. Many creative partnerships are composed of two creatives, and it is often unclear who does what when it comes to the less “fun” stuff involved in running the business. In response, I have developed the following list of seven core areas of responsibilities that each partner must assume.
Earlier this year, my 12th Grade daughter, Hunter, was interviewed by an alumnus of Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business as part of her application process. Hunter encountered an interesting situation, one that is all too familiar to my own professional experience – that of a “creative” talking to a more analytical thinker.
Two of the most important functions to consider when developing your firm’s organizational structure are those of leadership and management. In a small firm, and even sometimes in larger companies, one person is often thrust into the role of both leader and manager and it often is the firm’s principal. Yet, there is an inherent difficulty in blending and balancing these two very different roles which requires distinct and innate skill sets.
I recently was perusing an article, in the NY Times, about a senatorial judiciary process and read about an important rule of testifying called the 80/20 rule. If the person testifying talks 80 percent of the time and the judge talks 20 percent, the judge is winning. This intrigued me. I could easily see this rule applying to our relationship with our clients. I often have found that the most successful new business meetings and presentations are when the designer is less dominant and is skilled in the art of listening to a client. I’m betting, based on experience, that if a designer talks only 20 percent of the time and spends more time listening, the meeting would be more impactful.
Recently, I’ve been researching best practice strategies that accommodate the diverse and challenging needs required to effectively manage a multi-generational creative team. This entry, highlights one practice in particular that is gaining some attention and has already demonstrated great successful results.
Design firms and creative groups continually struggle with negotiating and organizing their staff management strategies and organizational models around the most appropriate mix of left- and right-brain thinking. In this article you will learn that with the right amount of rigorous planning, a creative team with left-brain skills can function more efficiently and produce innovative solutions.