Part 3 of 3  |  Read part 1  |  Read part 2

Respecting each other for the talent we bring, and working as a team is one of the most important things everyone can do to create a smooth process. Although sometimes it can feel a little sided, the truth is, we are all in this together and with a little compassion and understanding, everyone will win.

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CHALLENGE: Tending the Wayward Wind A third major inhibitor to innovation is lack of direction. Creatives are thoughtful, deeply feeling individuals. It’s part of what makes them able to think differently. They will dedicate their days and nights to thinking about the problem – just to find an innovative solution. But when the direction, feedback or strategy are a constantly moving target – or lacking in general – it makes it impossible for a creative to get a hold on the problem, and thus unable to find a great solution.

Creatives are sponges. They lie in wait for you to bring a bucket of water and pour it all over them. They want to grow big and fat with your background information and audience insights. To immerse themselves in your problem.

Going back and forth on direction or feedback will confuse and wear down the creative team. It creates an environment of dictation instead of creation and quickly slips into a cycle of serving up solutions just to appease the approver. Innovation cannot be arrived at this way, because the creative team has just checked out. They will worry more about pleasing the order giver and less about doing the right thing. This is how everyone loses sight of the greater goal.

SOLUTION: Keep it Together Pin down initial direction before bringing it to creative. This doesn’t mean everything needs to be completely mapped out, but the entire team (and senior leadership) should be in agreement on the strategy and messaging.

When delivering feedback, do it in an organized, helpful manner. Gather all feedback from everyone who needs to give it, and compile it into a single, cohesive document. Do not forward emails as they come from different team members or send along feedback that is vague or just a personal opinion. It is just as much the responsibility of the account team to uphold the strategy as it is creative. And it is often very easy to forget that those reviewing are not necessarily the audience. It’s always important to review through the filter of the business objective.

Always be open to discussion. The creative team has valuable insights into what works visually and verbally. But the account team often has insights from experience that the creatives don’t. Always be willing to have a conversation about feedback and weigh both sides to come to the best possible outcome. This sends the message to the creative team that they are valued and keeps them interested in bringing new ideas to the table.

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In the end, it’s good to remember: Creatives are creative for a reason. Listen and value their opinion. Work with them, don’t dictate to them. They will strengthen your message and help you see your audience and strategy in a new light of possibilities.

Keeping everyone out of the hamster wheel will create a smart, innovative environment where work can be fun and effective. It will be better for business and create stronger teams.