Managing a Creative Team to Success

This tale started 2 years ago when the former US Ambassador to Armenia, John Heffern, was at a tech show and asked why there were no women participating in the Open Game Challenge. I challenged myself to create a female team even though there were few programmers in our small town of Gyumri, Armenia.

Playland Armenia AppFast forward two years…we have assembled and trained a creative design and tech team who wanted to honor the 100 year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Instead of focusing on the horror, they chose to honor the past by creating Playland Armenia: a social app with 15 games that Armenian children from around the world can use to become friends, learn the Armenian language and play games together. Not only did we have female participants, but our women’s team won 2 of the 5 awards: Best 2D Game and Best Game Design!! This is not a story about what I taught them, but actually what I learned from them…

  • 1. Don’t Deny Their Dreams

Creative teams dream big; that’s what’s great about them. Remember when you dreamed big? Many managers probably didn’t realize many of their dreams over the years, therefore they feel their team won’t either. If that’s the case, keep it to yourself!!

Your team’s dreams aren’t about you. As far as creative teams are concerned, anything is possible. And that’s how it should be. If you deny their dreams, or their rights to be creative, you are undermining their chances of achievement. Usually I make decisions based on probability rather than possibility. However, we all need to think about possibility and throw probability completely out the window.

  • 2. Don’t Get In The Way

If your team is going to realize their dream of creating something incredible, the last thing they need is you micro managing them. Managers get in the way when they:

  • Deny dreaming.
  • Control the creative process.
  • Don’t teach job skills.
  • Don’t provide a quality education.
  • Preach a negative view on possibilities.
    Your goal is to meet your obligations and provide a path toward success for your team to follow. If you cut them off before they even get started, it doesn’t just crush them right now, it will negatively impact theircareer.
  • 3. Set a Good Example

There is a saying that people “learn what they live and live out what they learn.” As leaders, our teams are looking to us for guidance. Success and wealth are products of a process; anyone can achieve them. Creative individuals who learn in a successful company will live around that process and adopt it in their own career. It will be their standard.In many ways, you are the key to your team’s success – it is a gift and responsibility. It is much like being a parent – your team will adopt your values so you need to do everything within your power to make sure they are being setup to succeed.

  • 4. Help Them Take Action

How do you start to provide guidance? As your team gains experience, they’ll begin to show interest in many different things. As a team leader, your goal needs to be to see that the creative process leads to the production of a successful product, you need to help lead the way…

Have Them Write Down Their Goals. Writing down the dream allows them to see the idea in the first steps of fabrication and helps them stay accountable to their goal.

Research Their Dream. The more they learn about their dream, the more realistic it becomes. Research will also give them important information on what they’ll need in order to turn the dream into reality. Use Google to find competitors, ideas and inspirations.

Make A Timeline For Achievement. Setting dates for achievement of the goals helps keep you and your team focused. The goal could be, “within 1 year we will create a scheduling App that will change the Beauty Business” or “in the next 90 days create an app that will allow millions of micro-loan borrowers to create business plans with just one

 

finger on their phone”. We use a Scrum Board to go from ideas to an app – and I am pleased to report we are in the process of also creating these two apps. It is mostly used in the tech field, but any creative process will benefit.

Develop a Plan of Action. How do you plan on achieving your goal? What steps are you going to take? What education or special skill do you need to accomplish your goal?Focus, Intensity, and Perseverance. The first step is to get focused. You are going to bring intensity into the equation. Focused intensity is the fuel that drives people to achieve. Perseverance is the extra push you need to be able to give you and your team when things start to slow down. A dream without perseverance is simply a fantasy.The Process of Achieving Works. The importance of this process isn’t really about the initial dream. It’s about teaching the team how to achieve their goal in a business environment. Achieving is a process of motivation, organization, intensity, and determination. We want them to learn the process so that even if their dreams change, their chances of success do not.

 

  • 5. Show Your Support

Creative individuals have their own internal motivation. But internal motivation alone shouldn’t be the only thing driving them. Not only is your motivation important to their success, it’s important to them emotionally. They care what you think.

 

If you’re on their side, anything is possible. If you give the green light, they’re stepping on the gas. And when times get tough they’re going to come to you for support. Be a haven of positive thoughts and outlooks, provide support, guidance, advice and help them persevere when they’re looking down.

The great news is that this is just the beginning of our journey. Stay tuned…

By Todd Fabacher, CEO, Digital Pomegranate

“We get lost in the daily grind of deadlines and deliverables. As a long-time programmer and entrepreneur, I was touched when one of my team members thanked me for giving her “the wings to fly“. It got me thinking about the challenges we face managing a creative team

This tale started 2 years ago when the former US Ambassador to Armenia, John Heffern, was at a tech show and asked why there were no women participating in the Open Game Challenge. I challenged myself to create a female team even though there were few programmers in our small town of Gyumri, Armenia.

Playland Armenia AppFast forward two years…we have assembled and trained a creative design and tech team who wanted to honor the 100 year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Instead of focusing on the horror, they chose to honor the past by creating Playland Armenia:  a social app with 15 games that Armenian children from around the world can use to become friends, learn the Armenian language and play games together. Not only did we have female participants, but our women’s team won 2 of the 5 awards: Best 2D Game and Best Game Design!! This is not a story about what I taught them, but actually what I learned from them…

 

 


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