Creating products is the easy part of our jobs. We do it every day and it’s our job. But when we’re building creative teams, one of the most important variables we can work on is the culture we’re creating within our teams. The atmosphere and environment we create are just as important for the success of our teams as the policy we enforce and the products we build. How do we build good culture inside of our teams? There are a few things that are vital to the success of a “creative culture:”
- Understand the importance of being a place where artists feel safe enough to share their best and most intimate ideas. Without valuing this principle, we can’t create great cultures on our teams.
- Be visible. Good leaders don’t hide in their offices or in meetings. Take the time each morning to say hi to each member of the team. Be accessible and available. Leading creatives takes investment and commitment. Have conversations and spend time with the most important resource in your organization – your people. Art is better in community so be intentional to create community, not just meetings.
- Always let artists know where they stand. For the good or the bad, they need to know. Set clear expectations and targets. Knowing the goal changes everything. When they win, celebrate them with passion and when they lose, be brave enough to have those conversations. Culture requires wins and loses. Wins to build morale and losses to actually learn. Failing forward sometimes can be the greatest thing we do as a team.
- Care about their work and their life. When they know you care, they care.
- Be passionate about the vision. Reinforce vision everywhere you can and as often as you can. Vision sets the tone and gives artists something to believe in. Belief is huge for artists. Keeping them passionate about the WHY as much as the HOW and the WHEN builds healthy, passionate, amazing culture.
- Hire people who share the DNA. Hire chemistry and people, not position. Never understimate the importance of chemistry on our teams. It’s big and it matters. The VIRGIN company, known for their amazing culture, only hires 1 out of every 100 people who apply. Take your time, get it right, and bring in the people who can create momentum, not just products.
- Empower problem finders and problem solvers. Problem finders are a dime a dozen, problem solvers are rare and valuable. When you find problem solvers, coach them then empower them. Responsibility without authority destroys culture. Empower people to make decisions, move, and do what they do – it will make things better in the long run.
- Be consistent. In and out of meetings, on social media, in email or conversation – consistency matters. Artists want to know their leader can be trusted, has their back, has a vision, and is confident. As a leader, it’s more important to be consistent than it is to be right all the time. Consistency is easy to follow. Respond to issues – don’t react.
- Have fun. Fun matters. Do things that build a culture of fun. Enjoy the work you do, the lives you live together, the time, and the process. When we make what we do fun, we don’t make people dread coming to work.
When we build awesome, healthy, creative cultures, we can focus less on the products knowing the quality of the products will improve as artists and employees are excited, engaged, passionate, and giving their best. They become owners of their work because the culture excites them. Don’t underestimate the importance of a great culture and the impact it has on our teams.
Do you work in a good creative culture?
What do you need make your culture better?