One of the hardest balancing acts in any creative organization is maintaining the right balance of seasoned veterans and "new blood," creative directors and lightning-fast production artists, specialists and generalists, and new media and traditional media gurus. This is especially true in environments where the volume and nature of the workload is relatively low or highly variable.
Not surprisingly, several creative executives are reporting that there is an ever-increasing amount of work coming in-house -- much of it repurposing (vs. original) work. This has inevitably tipped the balance in the favor of the efficient and quick production artist -- if only for the moment. So what do you do with the visionary creative directors who are not interested in spending their days pounding out more of the same old, same old?
Some organizations are simply allowing attrition to help rebalance the skills on the floor. Or outsourcing capabilities that are not required full-time over the long-term.
But those who are committed to retaining their "best and brightest" are experimenting with other approaches. Some are rejiggering their trafficking to stand up "A" teams -- groups of their most creative and technically competent to handle the most complex, challenging and strategic work. This can carve out real job satisfaction for the superstars, but there is a danger of leaving other staff feeling as though they are holding an even shorter end of the stick.
So it is critical to build complementary training and mentoring programs to help junior staff see a tangible pathway to joining the elite ranks of any new "A" team.
Another tactic is to task the creative members of your organization to amp up the creative environment. I have seen some teams redesign their interior space to be more agency-like. Others have set up an aggressive mentoring program for junior staff. I love the idea of hosting an art show (open to the organization's corporate clients, of course) but that features the team's personal artwork -- not just their professional portfolios. Sending folks out for a field trip, complete with a team lunch to an art lecture, local art museum or gallery or even to visit the creative shop supporting a vendor, agency or non-competitive company can really get the juices going...
The best advice is to talk brass tacks to your highly creative folks and ask them to apply those talents in unique ways to help address what is probably a short-term imbalance... the results may just move the needle on the creativity of your entire organization.
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Cella Consulting is a management consulting company specializing in optimizing operations at in-house creative organizations. Cella relies on the experience and knowledge of our exceptional team of consultants to create innovative solutions for our clients. Our team has been selected based on a specific expertise and their experience working in agencies and/or in-house creative organizations. Together, our teams offers a full range of functional skills--in strategy, funding models, technology, process, change management, marketing communications, and personnel development--and an remarkable ability to find practical solutions for optimizing operational performance and maximizing ROI.