- GIVE PRAISE FIRST. Creative people are basically all insecure. We need to hear that our great idea was indeed great. You can rein in after the praise, by the way. Honestly, we'd almost rather have your undying adoration for the amazingly brilliant creative idea we just shared, than get paid. I said 'almost.' Also, we like to live the illusion that we are hipper and cooler that 'suits.' Let us live our dream!
- TRUST OUR PROCESS. I said 'trust,' not 'understand' or 'embrace.' We do understand deadlines (see #3), but our timetable probably doesn't look just like the one you are operating from. In the A&E show 'Mad Men,' Don Draper delivered what could be my all time favorite TV line:
- GIVE US STRUCTURE WITHOUT BOUNDARIES. Give us a deadline. That deadline can be a date to deliver the final project, it can also be benchmark deadlines so you can see the progress being made. But, don't try to corral us by laying out hard boundaries like we are accountants. That kind of thinking will such the creative juices dry. It paralyzes a creative thinker. Let us cross over into areas that we see fit to explore until we reach the creative path you have hired us to find and execute. Micromanagement is the Cryptonite to your Superman creative partner.
I am in no way suggesting that creative people are better than any other type of partner in a project. I am voicing an opinion after working for 20 years with both creative types and 'suits.' There is a difference. You can get more than what you hoped for from a creative person, if you are willing to open your mind to a different way of thinking.
Finally, are you hitting a dry spell in creativity yourself? Go
to lunch with the most creative person you know. You can refuel on the
energy creatives generate!