Business Management / Leadership

Working with creatives

Laura Dolan

Feb 18, 2020 · 7 min read

Toolkit for download in this article

how to work with creatives

Different personalities make the world go round. That same principle applies at the office, whether it’s a large company or a small startup, we’re expected to collaborate and get along with coworkers, despite our diverse working habits and opinions.

Your team’s success relies on mutual respect for one another and tolerating characteristics that comprise other peoples’ work habits. In addition, other extenuating circumstances may contribute to productivity such as: how much sleep everyone gets, being stressed due to hitting too much traffic that made them late, whether they’ve had their coffee yet, etc.

Other than personality differences and circumstances beyond our control that can affect the outcome of our workday, it’s important to acknowledge that everyone has their own creative type. Being aware of what constitutes different working dynamics can help your team work more effectively. But to do this, you must understand how to work with creatives and what the different types are:

The four creative types

To appreciate the creative types you’re working with, the following offers a deeper understanding of the unique strengths and traits of the four creative types:

1. Considerate visionary

2. Agile strategist

3. Experimental maximizer

4. Resourceful builder

1. Considerate visionary (deliberate/emotional)

The Considerate Visionary (CV) is an optimist that desires tying up loose ends between ideas.

Pros:

  • Doesn’t have fear of the unknown/often takes a leap of faith
  • Stays on task until project is complete
  • Connects the dots between the team’s thought processes and their own
  • Time horizon:

    A CV helps the team meet tight deadlines and anticipate where there could be potential roadblocks.

    Challenges:

    The CV tends to work on the fly rather than adhering to a solid project plan or the rest of the team’s blueprints.

    How to communicate with a CV:

    Keeping conversations grounded and in the present without discouraging a bigger-picture mentality.

    Be open and encourage extraordinary ideas during brainstorming or preparation meetings, but keep the rest of the group focused overall on what’s expected over the next week, month or quarter to stay on task.

    2. Agile strategist (Deliberate/analytical)

    The Agile Strategist (AS) can be characterized as a critical thinker with a one-track focus on identifying problems.

    During project planning or brainstorming, the AS sees missing pieces and holes in the execution.

    Pros:

  • Uncovers blind spots
  • Connects the big-picture vision and the near-term tactical needs
  • Sets key building blocks for the larger team to take action
  • Time horizon:

    The AS is always looking for impending challenges and anticipates complications that will knock a project off its timeline. They will also have a sequence of initiatives in mind for the next six to 12 months.

    Challenges:

    An AS tends to believe their way of doing things is better instead of focusing on the solution itself, thus disrespecting the work it has taken the rest of the team to get to this point.

    How to communicate with an AS:

    Anticipate an AS’s critical thinking and be proactive by asking for feedback.

    Present your idea and immediately follow up with questions that demonstrate respect for strategic thinkers such as, “What questions do you need answered in order to get clarity on how/whether to proceed?”

    The team should also ensure there are no loose ends as the project moves to the next phase and is handed off to other team members.

    3. Resourceful builder (spontaneous/analytical)

    A Resourceful Builder (RB) will critique flaws in the logic of the plans and are fueled by a desire to see things through and accomplish tasks in an enthusiastic manner. Including a robust RB in the early stages of a project increases a sense of ownership in the final product.

    Pros:

  • Refines details when provided with a strong plan foundation
  • Wants to get in the trenches and actually create and execute according to the project proposal
  • Makes spontaneous critical judgment calls
  • Time horizon:

    RBs tend to plan and schedule project details required for deadlines in addition to putting out fires and keeping each day’s progress in motion.

    Challenges:

    Sometimes an RB takes on too much, feeling like they aren’t afforded the time to do top-quality work.

    How to work with an RB:

    It’s best to encourage an RB’s active ownership and allow them to leverage their investment in a project by digging a little deeper to ultimately find a more elegant solution to the problem. Suppressing an RB’s bigger ideas or criticism in an effort to get an issue resolved more quickly will only cause frustration and hurt the team more in the long run.

    4. Experimental maximizer (spontaneous/emotional)

    The Experimental Maximizer (EM) can be considered the free spirit of the team. The EM’s introduction of creative ideas are seemingly less structured, as they have the courage to try something new without having all of the details figured out, which is necessary to take creative leaps as a group.

    Pros:

  • Loves to try new things
  • Comfortable with failing and learning
  • Skilled at connecting dots between loosely connected ideas
  • Time horizon:

    An EM’s actions and ideas are spontaneous but correspond to instincts on how they’ll benefit certain projects and the organization’s overall well-being going forward.

    Challenge:

    An EM’s creativity can generate wild ideas late in the game that can compel other team members to feel like their work up to that point is undervalued or disrespected.

    How to work with an EM:

    Keep an EM on topic and ensure they adhere to strict deadlines by making creative objectives very straightforward. Providing clear boundaries within the guidelines of the project will allow the EM to still bring unconventional ideas to the table without completely derailing the group.

    Moving forward as a creative collective

    Everyone is different, even in the workplace. People are hired for their different strengths and gifts to improve the company overall. The challenge is to work together without stifling each other’s creative outlets.

    Bringing people together to collaborate on a project will never be a perfect process, but it can get easier if everyone understands how each person perceives and executes different tasks.

    Much like life, working with creatives can get messy and chaotic as the inspired ideas start flowing. But hopefully what you’ll find in the process is a group of colleagues who value each other’s special brain powers and contributions, significantly boosting your creative output.


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