The beauty of your Creative team is that their brains work differently from legal, accounting or HR. It's beneficial to approach training programs with appreciation for and awareness of the differences so you can target the training to the Creative audience. A general course targeted for the masses with linear and tactical examples will be lost on your Creative team since the Creative experience is an iterative one. Creatives see opportunities where others don't and speak in strategic and conceptual terms.

This 'Right Brain Thinking' is what makes a creative successful at showing rather than telling a story. The trainer needs to speak in this language, as well as exercise compassion and empathy. This approach creates room for an interactive discussion around the issues facing Creatives specifically. The closer the training can get to real life, the more the Creative team will interact in the training and ultimately retain and implement what they've learned.

Training topics creative teams should address --

  • Project scope definition
    Bring a cross section of Creatives, from junior to senior levels together and have an open dialogue about the scope of projects. Are there multiple iterations and why? Is the scope definition grey or does the scope keep changing or.... Discuss how this could be improved to make the Creatives lives easier and empower them to bring ideas to senior management. Talk about how each level and role has a different experience and how it affects their creativity. This open dialogue results in compassion and a sense of responsibility to help each other.

  • Managing your superiors
    It's often assumed that the manager is responsible for managing when in fact everyone is. Teaching all levels that they're responsible for managing their boss is an important tool in running an efficient and creative department. Be sure to provide examples and opportunities to ensure staff are comfortable with upward management and know that your management team is comfortable, and even desires, receiving upward feedback.

  • Don't take it personally
    This is one of the hardest areas for anyone to master. The added challenge for Creatives is that they're typically more sensitive than others, which is what makes them good at their jobs. The focus here is to teach language and tone so feedback focuses on why the creative material doesn't meet business and creative objectives. The key word here is objectives, personal feelings should be removed from the conversation and feedback needs to be framed around the project goals. Coach team members that feedback on their creative materials is purely business and creates a structure where defensiveness doesn't fit. It can be a huge relief to all involved. Role play can be valuable exercise in training staff to deliver and receive feedback.

  • Transparency
    Have each department give a seminar about their responsibilities, objectives, challenges and daily focus. This gets tricky because you don't want a blame fest. It's most effective when a Trainer has worked with each department representative to create fair and appropriate messages. And there should be a one sheet that lists each department's objectives that everyone can refer to. You'd be surprised at how roles change over time and people pick up responsibilities without realizing there's duplication of effort. This exercise also helps management identify opportunities to streamline processes and define organizational structure.

Compassionate and creative-specific training is the most effective way to develop a strong Creative team. They'll be grateful you invested the time to find the right approach and your Company will benefit as a result.

For information about how Cella can add value to your business through consulting, coaching, and training, please email [email protected].

Rena DeLevie, a Cella consultant, is a people-oriented transformational leader with 23 years experience in the creative industry (Talbots, J. Crew, Kenneth Cole, UBS, Cole Haan); first as an art director for 8 years, then in Creative Operations for the past 15+ years. Her passion is to help companies and people succeed by listening, analyzing and proposing solutions for organizational structure, streamlining communication, financial accountability, increasing efficiency and reducing expenses.