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.