This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Getting the most out of creative people

If you work with creative people, you will be surprised at how different they are from the general population. And, to be fair, we really only need a few creative people, as compared to the regular hard-working serious people out there. And the single biggest difference there is about creative people is that they don't like to be judged.

Most people like to judge, and be judged. And before you jump to the conclusion that judging is always negative, consider judging that gives out awards. So, to get the most out of creative people, you have to be non-judgemental. This is not easy to do, even to understand, but if you can do it, you can get some spectacular results out of your creative people. I learned about this while teaching a class in the '90s called "Concept Development" at The Art Institute of Phoenix. Here is how it works -

• Forbid judging. Creative people only work in an environment where they are comfortable sticking their necks out. And having a judge standing there all the time just shuts them down. And this is where it gets tricky - a lot of people are surprised at being labelled judges when they say things like "that's great!" "Good idea", etc. I call these people "cheerleaders", and creative people hate them. If someone in your organization is quick with the judgment phrases, even positive ones, it will shut down your creative team.

• Eliminate all judging objects. No awards, no ceremonies, no plaques, no speeches pointing out excellence. Yeah, I know that most companies thrive on this. And most companies fail to understand why their creative staff hates this. It's judgement. Your creative team knows they're good. They don't need to be tripping over your blurred judgement. And the more they see of how much you don't "get it", usually by praising something trivial, the less they will be inspired to do their best.

Want to get more out of your creative people? Tell the "cheerleaders" and the criticizers to shut up.