Through my career, I’ve always grav­i­tat­ed to work­ing with (and for) the cre­ative type.  I attest this attrac­tion to the envi­ron­ment I was brought up in. Both of my par­ents were cre­atives in their own right and all of their friends were artists, actors, musi­cians, and design­ers. Although I con­sid­er myself extreme­ly lucky to have grown up in such a cul­tur­al­ly rich envi­ron­ment, there is one thing that real­ly bugs me: NONE of that cre­ative juice ever found its way to me. The way I work, the way I process infor­ma­tion, and my need for intense orga­ni­za­tion lies on the com­plete oppo­site side of the kind of peo­ple I pre­fer to work with. Cre­atives and oper­a­tions-mind­ed peo­ple need each oth­er in busi­ness, but it is a bal­ance that can be hard to strike at first. While I am still learn­ing how to mas­ter the bal­ance myself, there are a few themes that make me stop and think every time.

#1 Respect the different processes

As a process-ori­ent­ed per­son, I have my own way of receiv­ing new infor­ma­tion and putting it into motion. This type of orga­ni­za­tion is need­ed but isn’t the right approach for every­one. When work­ing with some­one who is “cre­at­ing” (a design­er, artist, etc), there is an entire­ly dif­fer­ent way to achieve the end result. Try­ing to impose cer­tain guide­lines or bar­ri­ers restricts the cre­ative process as a whole, and in turn, most like­ly makes what­ev­er project you are work­ing on total­ly unin­spir­ing. Trust that you will end up at the same place no mat­ter how you get there.

#2 Find a tool that fits your habits — don’t try to force new habits to fit a tool

There are so many tools out there to help teams man­age projects, and I have found myself in analy­sis-paral­y­sis try­ing to fig­ure out which one is the per­fect fit for a cer­tain project and/or team. While Asana might sat­is­fy my love for lists, Trel­lo might real­ly help my design-coun­ter­part visu­al­ize the work-flow. I am not say­ing that there doesn’t need to be a com­mon ground to avoid con­fu­sion.  What I am say­ing is that find­ing a mid­dle ground to keep each oth­er informed could be as easy as a phone call or quick meet­ing to give updates. Bot­tom line, don’t over­com­pli­cate things.

#3 Speak up!

One of the most impor­tant parts of the cre­ative process is the feed­back, and this is where the Cre­ative + Oper­a­tions duo real­ly sees the ben­e­fit of work­ing togeth­er. Before any­thing gets sent over to a client, hav­ing a fresh set of eyes on designs, mock­ups or pro­pos­als is always a good idea.  Even though you may not be able to design an entire logo from a few sen­tences like your cre­ative coun­ter­part, you can look at the work through the lens of a client and help point out things that might have missed dur­ing the cre­ation. Being there to bal­ance the scales with your opin­ion is just as need­ed as the prod­uct itself.

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