Leading Creative Marketing Teams - Inspire, Manage, and Grow | Elizabeth Hague | Skillshare

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Leading Creative Marketing Teams - Inspire, Manage, and Grow

teacher avatar Elizabeth Hague, Co-Founder, Director of Brand Marketing

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Welcome to Leading Creative Marketing Teams Masterclass


    • 2.

      Class / Project Overview and Planning Session


    • 3.

      Leadership Best Practices Part 1


    • 4.

      Leadership Best Practices Part 2


    • 5.

      Mentoring Varying Personality Types


    • 6.

      Handling Common Objections / Blockers In and Outside Your Department


    • 7.

      Hiring and Inspiring: Sourcing Talent, Identifying Skills, Building Your Team


    • 8.

      Productivity Part One: Project Management


    • 9.

      Productivity Part Two: Metrics and Measuring without Micromanaging


    • 10.

      The Big 3 Proposals: Project Charters, Creative Briefs, RFPs


    • 11.

      Building Team Morale


    • 12.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

This course focuses on building your leadership skills while navigating the unique problems creative marketing teams face. We’ll address the following:

  • Key practices of great leaders you can put in place now that inspire others
  • Identify emerging talent for recruiting and tips to mentor direct reports
  • Navigate project difficulties and overcoming common blockers
  • Build metrics and reporting to increase production without micro-managing
  • Set department goals that build a strong team bond in and across an organization

Managing a creative team is no easy feat. We’ll talk about the nuances involved in building and managing a department that’s thriving and communicative. Beginning with honing your personal leadership style, we’ll address what best practices make leaders great bosses that direct reports enjoy working with. From there we’ll dive into common challenges, how to overcome them, techniques to build a reputable team and how to motivate and inspire to get results.

This course is designed to help any leader identify great talent, build a team that thrives through challenges, and avoid common pitfalls that grind on creative productivity. You’ll walk away with a plan to measure, report, and manage workload, as well as how to identify the right talent to hire into your team. We’ll also discuss the importance of building focused marketing initiatives that compliment your team’s talents and serve the bottom line of your organization.   From understanding how to nurture skills and mentor varied personalities effectively, you’ll walk away more confident than ever.  Everyone wants to work with and in well run teams that look forward to their initiatives. Let’s get you closer to running a high performing creative marketing team!

This course is for:

  • New managers looking for strong guidance 
  • Experienced Creative leaders seeking inspiration and skill honing
  • Account managers, project managers, or anyone looking to understand the intricacies of a creative department
  • New emerging leaders: art directors, graphic designers, or ambitious career enthusiasts that want to build their leadership chops

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Elizabeth Hague

Co-Founder, Director of Brand Marketing


Co-Founder and Director specializing in Brand, Marketing, and Communications. Founding member of Wildcat Echo. Award-winning. Book published. Georgia State University invited collegiate speaker. Community voted one of the "Most Remarkable Women in Georgia" by Ellis. Nearly fifteen-year brand-driven marketing career shows unparalleled out-of-the-box thinking. I love sharing what I know. I can't wait to teach you!

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1. Welcome to Leading Creative Marketing Teams Masterclass: Hi, I'm Elizabeth Hague and I have 15 years experience in the creative marketing world and I'm heard to teach you today about what it takes to be a great creative leader. Let's face it. Leading creative team is not easy. There are so many hurdles and obstacles that you need to be aware of in order to be a great creative leader. Let's actually talk about what it takes to get down a brass talks and leaded a creative teams the best it possibly can be. This class is built for someone who has never led a creative team before, if you're a leader who has a ton of experience, but maybe have never let a creative team, maybe you're somebody that's thinking about stepping up into that next roll for yourself. You want two be a creative leader next. This class is perfect for you. The weigh this class is laid out and formatted it allows you the time to really absorb the material and think about how you're going to apply either to your current job scenario or a potential future job scenario and those unique circumstances that you may be faced with as creative leader, because let's be frank. Leading a creative team is different every single time you do it. It's just the people who are different, the projects are different, the company is different sometimes, the clients may be different depending on if you're in house or an agency, there are so many intricacies on what it really means to be creative leader. This class is built two give you the great foundational skills you need while also thinking forward about the discussion topics that really help shape your mindset around being an incredible creative leader. I am so excited that you're here, welcome, let's get started. 2. Class / Project Overview and Planning Session: Hello everyone, welcome to the Creative Leadership, Leading Creative Marketing Teams towards inspiration, management, and growth. Again, my name is Elizabeth Hague, welcome. I am so excited that you're here. Before we dive in, I wanted to talk to you a little bit about what exactly will be covering in our lesson plan. Managing a creative team is no easy feat. In this class, we'll talk about the nuances involved in building and managing a department that's thriving and communicative. Beginning with honing your personal leadership style, we will address what best practices make leaders great bosses that direct reports enjoy working with. From there, we'll dive into common challenges, how to overcome them, building techniques to help manage a reputable team, and how to motivate people and inspire them to get the best results. This course is designed to help any leader wherever they are in their career, identify great talent, build a team that's thriving through challenges, and avoid common pitfalls that grind creative productivity. From understanding how to nurture skills and mentored very personalities effectively, you will walk away with more confidence than you've ever had before. This course is perfect for new managers looking for strong guidance. Maybe you've never run a creative team before, this class is great for experienced creative leaders seeking inspiration, you're trying to hone your skills. This is also perfect for account managers, or project managers, anyone that is looking to really understand the intricacies of what a creative department truly faces on a day to day basis. I would highly encourage anyone that is a new emerging leader, art director, graphic designer, maybe someone ambitious in their career, they're enthusiastic about one day leading a creative team. This class would be great for you so It'll help you build the chops that you'll really need to be great at leading a future creative marketing team. Each lesson is set out with an objective and a PDF to fill out at the end. We'll talk about some higher-level concepts in each section and then we'll round those out in lessons with an easier later exercise because every company is unique, every person taking this class is unique, we will talk about the main pain points that you'll be experiencing in a creative leadership position, and then we'll also dive deeper into best practices and leave you on a lighter note. So you have time to really absorb and apply the principles you learned to your own unique situation. What exactly are we going to be covering? So our lessons cover core competencies you'll need to know before stepping into a leadership role. The titles of the videos do a really good job of showing a great break down of the topics we'll cover, so we'll be talking about everything from defining your personal leadership style to mentoring and even higher-level project handling. Interesting pieces like workload, measuring workload, calculating capacity, developing strong relationships to help protect your team's time and their talent. Before we head into the specifics, I really want to encourage you to pause this video, take a screen grab right now if you need to, but I want you to take the time to think about your specific unique situations. What are the issues you're currently facing right now in your career? If you're in a leadership position now, what are some of the things you're tackling on your team at your organization? Maybe if you're advancing your career, maybe you haven't really gotten into that leadership position just yet, take a moment to think about the topics you need to strengthen right now in your experience before you enter a management role. These are some great topics that I think would be very interesting for you to pause and really do a self-assessment on where exactly you are in your unique experiences, and what you need to possibly improve or learn more about right now. These are the areas I suggest that you take a minute right now and think about. Think towards these topics. Take a pause on this video and get back to me when you're done. Let's talk about how you will apply what you learn in this particular class. There are going to be some nuanced experiences that only you and your company feel. Sometimes that can be dealing with low-performing employees, maybe you've inherited a high production team that you'd like to release slow down and help them be more strategic to produce better quality work. Whatever challenges you may be facing, I want you to take note of it, good, bad, ugly. With these concepts in mind, will be flowing through a lot of the core concepts and competencies throughout this class. Everything from leadership best practices, mentoring, handling common blockers of objections, and much more. Take the time now to think about these concepts, and how they might help you with your unique problems and how you might apply what you learn here forward into your own specific goals. I want you to walk away from this class and formed ready for unique challenges and excited to experience what's ahead of you. I also want to take the time now to set some healthy expectations of the lesson stylings of this course. We are going to be focusing on a discussion style lesson plan that leads you towards very fun, very light exercises at the end, but don't be fooled. Light projects are intended here to give you back the time you desperately need to absorb the material and truly think about how you apply these larger concepts to your specific needs. Remember, a creative leader is not born. They are made. Oftentimes, they are forged by fire. Trial and error is a huge part of developing your experience in history with this very specific niche job title. I want you to spend time now setting your mentality towards leaning into the larger ideas and make a decision on how you want to apply these larger ideas granularly. That will ultimately be your first test, your first lesson, and setting up your mindset like a true boss. True bosses understand, taking large ideas and applying them granularly, and figuring out the best techniques and applying ideas to their specific issues. Let's also talk tips for success for this class. To make this class successful for yourself, you'll need to apply a good dose of self-awareness. I'm pretty sure we covered that pretty heavily. If you need to pause now and take a little bit more time to think about exactly what you might be dealing with in your particular unique situation. Totally fine. Pause the video anytime you need to. but I want you to think about what your challenges are right now, and I want you to assess what unique qualities you currently have and decide what you'd like to improve upon. This is also a great time for you to pause the video and download the creative leadership discovery toolkit. It's located in the class documents section. It's a PDF and that will help you get ready to apply what you're going to learn here. Remember, you're not alone, ask questions. There's a discussion area full of people also in exactly the same boat, and maybe they might be dealing with some specific unique problems themselves. I highly encourage you to rely on the group discussion area to build conversations and ask unique questions. I will personally be floating in and out when I'm available, but this class will attract a lot of different people from all experiences and all walks of life. Trust that this group wouldn't be here if they all didn't have the same goal as you. Use that to your advantage, and I encourage you guys to chat with one another. I truly can't wait to dive in with you guys. See you in the next lesson called leadership of best-practices. 3. Leadership Best Practices Part 1: Hello guys and welcome to leadership best practices. There are five core concepts to leading a creative team effectively, but many, many, many ways to truly lead a team. For as many creative leaders there are out there, there are different management styles. In this lesson, we're going to tackle both sides of the coin. We're going to help you understand what your level set authentic leadership style really is, as well as covered the five undisputed principles all creative leaders adhere to in order to truly lead a great team. So let's dive into that. We want to explore what kind of leader you are. We want to identify your actual leadership styles. Some of you have been leaders before, that's great, maybe you should take a moment right now to take a look at some of these strong positive topics here. Things that are most common in great effective leaders. Just think through, what are your current leadership styles? What are some of the things that we would use to describe yourself? For those of you who have never lead or lead a creative team before, take the time now to think about what kind of creative leader you would want to be. Feel free to pause this video and take a look at the these great descriptors of creative leaders and think through about who you really are right now or want to be. If you're not familiar, these are the three leadership styles that are fairly industry standard at this point. It was developed by Kurt Lewin, who is the father of social and organizational psychology. In other words, he's the father of workplace psychology. He came up with these three basic leadership styles based on a study and they are very relevant still to today. So let's use this time to hone through the three common styles and see where you particularly fall. The first style of leader is authoritarian. When you say authoritarian, you think yourself, "Gosh, I don't want to be an authoritarian leader." But hold on, maybe we'll talk about this and it might change your mind. So the first personality type is authoritarian. They're focused, they're driven. They do not trust others to weigh in with their opinions on how things should be. They are true leaders. This style of leader is perfect for production-driven environments where quotas and numbers absolutely have to be hit. This personality can easily bring teams together and unified under one strong purpose and one goal. This particular leader also has the willpower to accomplish anything that they set their mind to. They are true go-getters. Highlights of this personality type includes strong decision-making. They're are goal-oriented and they are strong-willed enough to accomplish literally anything put in front of them. They are quick thinkers and they know the answers to everything because they've quite frankly been around the block quite a few times. They rarely need to be told what to do and what the right path actually is. You'll often find very experienced leaders leaning into this management style and leaderships type. Especially those who've been around the block quite a few times, they've done this a bunch, they have a lot of management experience. Pitfalls of an authoritarian leadership style rears their heads and creative leadership positions. Creative teams don't always love being dictated to. Yeah, who would have thought? Well, an authoritarian attitude can whip a low-performing team into shape pretty easily. Creative really suffers when the team doesn't have the chance to express new ideas and thoughts. So while production can be super high, great quality work can dip and truly struggle. Common pitfalls of this style of management include stifled creativity, boring quality of work, frustrated team members who feel truly unappreciated and ultimately micromanaged. Authoritarian leaders don't exactly foster warm and fuzzy team feelings, especially if the team they lead has high-performance members and they have great ideas that keep getting squashed because honestly the leader refuses to listen to them. Talent retention and team morale will be the biggest issues with this leadership style. So not everyone really needs to be told what to do constantly. Talented or experienced creatives, you have to think about that, they will find that this management style wears thin very quickly. Let's explore the democratic style. Democratic style is usually the style everyone looks towards as the ultimate best leader. So let's talk about the pros and cons of this style as well. This style is very heavily focused on listening and participating in the group experience. Often, this leader is engaging their team to hear what their expertise is and the input of the team before making a final overall decision. This style of leadership takes on all of the burden of leadership that you truly expect. Ultimately they claim none of the victory from the team. Instead, they spend their time celebrating the efforts of the group. "Great job, well done guys," while ultimately retaining final say and decisions and honestly, the stress that comes with all of it. The style of leader is quick to point out the positives and they are willing to try new ideas in order to make work even better. So some of the pros of this leadership style include participative experiences. They're an active part of their team and they truly listen to people. Because they're thinking about the quality of the end product, their main concern is to allow ideas to flow before making final choices. They're able to foster healthy teams that produce some of quite truly the best creative work on the market. They also build teams who aren't siloed from organizations. They're willing to communicate not only just on their particular little team, but they communicate across departments, which is extremely important. However, there are always pitfalls to every situation. So while creative does take a front seat, productivity ends up taking a backseat. A democratic leader can get the very best creative results, but not always on time. Additionally, if a team doesn't own a certain level of maturity, it can be really difficult for a democratic style leader to iterate and produce or even evolve the level of work either due to lack of team skills or lack of team participation. Some morale can be a sticking point for this position, as well as identifying great talent even higher into this team. Let's discuss the last style, laissez-faire. A laissez-faire style leader is focused on allowing the team to come to its very own consensus and decisions on any given situation. This particular leader trusts that their team has the expertise and the experience to develop the right way to operate. This leader acts more as the head of the team, as the accountable portion of whatever that that team is doing and they offer input and final decision-making only when it's truly needed. This style leaves the leader open and available to the group more as a consultant rather than authoritative or even participatory, like a democratic style leader. This leader style is great for groups with high levels of experience and talent, say you are managing a team of people who have 20 plus years of experience or 15 plus years of experience. This is great for this kind of team. This team leadership style is especially great in areas where maybe even you yourself as a leader, you may not be an expert in the subject matter of the team that you're leading. So it leaves you room for the group to really be more innovative and they worked through the processes more quickly because they're not hampered by the experience of your leadership steering them towards one particular direction or another that may or may not be right. Teams can expect a leader of this style to provide the initial direction at the beginning of a project, and then they allow the team to handle the rest of it. Trust and communication are paramount to success in this leadership style. You'll often see very well established, very long standing teams operate like this after building years of experience and trust together. It also encourages individual growth for team members. It allows them the time to find their own rhythm and their own thought processes in the team. However, there are some huge caveats to leadership style. Statistically, it's the least productive leadership style. Teams typically produce lower creative pieces without at least some direction or some iterative style of leadership. Without a very experienced team with a lot of trust already built in, being totally hands off can actually fail pretty spectacularly. Team members quickly become confused as to what their roles are on the team, who's really in charge, and then when something fails, they end up finger-pointing and they blame each other pretty quickly all among the team> "I wasn't the one, you came up with the idea." So without a leader to really step in and say, "Hey, 'I'm taking responsibility of this process." It's really tough to onboard new talent into a team that's on their own. This style of management can also be seen as passive and avoidant, and it's run by a leader who's not really sure they want to lead. Let's talk about what the actual best leadership style is then. Out of these three, it seems like we've got some great pros and some great cons. What does that mean for you?. Surprise, The best leadership style is a blended approach. It's very, very important to identify what your dominant style is, but it's even more important to understand that in order to effectively lead a team, you need to apply flexibility and understand the team's needs to be nuanced in your leadership style. All right guys, let's take a quick break before we pick back up in the next section. 4. Leadership Best Practices Part 2: Hello and welcome back. Let's continue on into the next section, our top five core leadership concepts. Lets move into what makes a great leader. These are our five core concepts, no matter what your core mane leadership stile is going to be. These are the five ways to make sure that you are being are comprehensive leader. Let's dive into these five topics. Let's start with flexibility. A great leader folds in all three leadership styles like we talked about before. Mostly at different points while leading varying personality types or dealing with problems day-to-day. Running a creative crew is very hard, especially when things are fast-paced, there's deadlines coming at you, but really being a great boss means knowing that there is going to be a certain amount of the unknown flexibility is a huge part of leading a creative team. Let's talk some brass talks here. How does this play out on the actual job? Here's a good example. You have a direct report working on a design project and it comes due and you discover that the design is not great. It's just not good. You know, it's not your designer's best work and it could be a lot better, so what do you do? You pull in the designer and you have a talk with them and you realize, they're also not feeling how this design turned out, they're pretty underwhelmed and they to want to do better. What's the actual problem here? Flexibility is going to come into play huge. Turns out, maybe this designer's played is to high or they got the information for this project, a copy was laid, the photos relate and they ended up allowing the due date to supersede their normal brainstorming session. We see what's going on hear. Whatever the issue might have been, it's time to spend time identifying what the problem is and then offering to adjust the timeline in the department or call the client, ask for an additional 24 hours or 48 hours. You have to follow up and ask if they can fix the issue within that time frame with the designer and say, hey, is a 24-hour turnaround time or 48 hours enough time to make this better, and if they agree, then you should give them the resources they need to do a great job. On the opposite end as well is planned inflexibility. It's something that's really important, we cannot be flexible on everything or we're going to fall down the mountain. Do you remember our authoritative management styles? No won necessarily wants to be ruled by an iron fist, but sometimes we do have two bring in strong management skills to make sure that we produce top-notch work, especially during crunch time on dates we known we cannot move. Knowing when a project has a hard stop seems like a pretty easy skill to master. We've got an end date. This is it. End of story but truth be told, this is a lot harder to master than it appears. Projects of this nature need coordinating and wrangling and you do want to walk the line of not micro managing anyone. It is important to reiterate to your team that there are going to be times we have to deliver a product on time. Identify key times to checked in organically through that experience. Say for example, you schedule weekly syncs with your team to surface blockers or problems faster. Depending on the size and seniority of your direct reports, you'll know which avenue actually feels right to you. Every great boss knows that everyone is motivated by different things. You have to understand what motivates and demotivates your direct reports. It's really integral to running a strong team. It's easy to rely on the same old adage of recognition when you're a leader so it's pretty standard in the industry to say, "Okay, good job" and then praised it and then you move on, but is that truly the most effective weigh to leaded a team? Not if you want to inspire a team that gets behind you when it matters the most. It is your job as a leader to ask the questions that help you understand your direct reports and what they actually care about. There are very specific professional ways to do that. There are two options for you. Some leaders prefer to send along industry-specific surveys to help them understand everything from communication style, personality type, working preferences, even thankfulness language. While sometimes those may seem a little bit silly, they are incredibly helpful tools. For the rest of us, a good old fashion ask never hurts. I like to do a one-on-one with my team members. I like to be professionally, I like be courteous, but I do like to ask an employee how they prefer to be recognized for their hard work. I'll even ask what their preferred communication channel is. Do you like public praise? Would you prefer a team to say that you did a good job? Would you prefer that coming directly from me? Now it's important to not dig into the person's personal likes and dislikes. You have to keep it very high level and strictly about work, but you should keep your questions focused on understanding exactly how your direct report engages with the team and with you. For example, tailoring praise. Not everyone loves to be publicly called out for a job well done. It sounds counter-intuitive, but some people being called out in public makes them feel nervous, it makes them feel anxious, makes them feel on the spot. For people that aggressively understand that they don't like those feelings. They can be irritated. sum people can even feel it being called out in public for praise is disingenuous and totally inauthentic to them and that they would prefer a private praise or another form of recognition like time off or a small thank you gift. How would you know that if you didn't ask? You have to follow up and remember and tailor your responses accordingly. Make sure you know what your team truly cares about. Number four is proactive listening and being a proactive listener is a earned skill. It's a learned skill. It's not a skill that we are inherently born with as humans. Let's talk about what productive listening actually. It's not enough to heard what someone is telling you. You have to understand the motivation behind what they're saying. How often have you herd someone say, "I just don't like this design." This objection is so common, it's a designer's knee-jerk reaction to go into recovery mode as, "Okay, you don't like it. I'm going to go back to the drawing boarded. I'm going to redesign things again and again." It's our first reaction to try and fix the problem, but let's pause. Do you actually know the why behind the statement, a proactive listener is picking up on when they don't understand the true motivation behind a statement. While a client is telling you, "we hate this," they're also not fully explaining exactly why, so great leader knows when to ask more questions. The final number five problem spotting. This one's my favorite. It's all about thinking ahead. A great boss doesn't just solve problems ad hoc. They see problems before they even become issues. Let's dive into an example. This is a great place to use an example. Let's pretend you have a direct report that keeps delivering on social media designs two to three days late. As a leader, your first instinct is to focus on just the problem. The social designs there are wrong, they take two to three days or they're late. Your first instinct is to go to your direct report and be like, what's your deal? But that's not exactly the best way to handle this. Before you approach your direct report, you should dig into your project management system and look at this particular employee and see what projects they're working on. Maybe you do that and you see, they are spread so thin across the organization. Other team members have been asking them to join in on a lot of their initiatives, knowing that this person is really great at there job and they're very nice. They keep saying yes. This particular person is saying yes, way too often and quite frankly, at this rate, he's going to burn himself out in a few months, if not weeks, if not, he might already be totally burned out. He's been staying late, he's been trying to get all this work done. To be quite frank, those social media posts, least of his worries write now. What do you do? It's not just about two to three minute or two to three days late on these social media posts, we're seeing a repeated pattern here. You take the workload and you say, All right guys, let's take the pressure off. It's time to see if other team members are up to the task of being great at their jobs to let's give them back the work that they need to be working on. You book a brainstorming session for the entire team and look at your members and say, you, you and you, let's talk about what we need to do and you mentor them a little bit more. Then you're overworked designer. Tell them, "hey, I think you've done a lot of great work. Why don't you take off at two o'clock on Friday, Have a great weekend. Start your Friday early." The team sees that and they say, reward for a really good job done." Then you open up the floor for discussion as well. Has anyone else been staying late? Problem solver, problem spotter, problem solver and that's the boss that you need to be to get a team to back you up. quay takeaways here. You need to understand your overall leadership style. You need to understand the pros and cons that come with your overall leadership style. You also need to think through how you're going to blend other attributes to really make your leadership styles sing on a team and you know what? You want to be a team leader that people are proud to follow. You have to be flexible and you have to understand that there's a lot that goes into being a team leader. Being a great leader takes a ton of practice, so don't sweat your mistakes in the very beginning. You are ready for your first exercise, go ahead and grab your creative leadership discovery tool kit. Let's get cracking on the fun MATLAB style experience in there. It's going to help you identify what your leadership style is and then take a little time to absorb exactly what we talked about and apply it to your unique situation. How are you going to take the five core concepts and apply it to your general leadership style? Thank you so much, I cannot waited to see you in the next lesson, we are going to be talking about mentoring varying personalities. Very important topic so I will seen you there. 5. Mentoring Varying Personality Types: Welcome to the next step in your leadership class. We're going to be talking about mentoring varying personalities and covering the top principles for mentoring literally anyone. Mentoring goes hand in hand with thinking about being an incredible boss. It's definitely a mind shift from maker to manager and it's all about recognizing when your talents are better suited to developing other people. Let's address the top three mentoring principles, much like identifying your leadership style, mentoring is all about looking critically at your team and understanding each person's principle skill set and where they can actually improve. In order to do that, you'll need expertise and experience in a particular subject matter with enough knowledge to consider yourself confident enough to guide another person through teaching exercise. Likewise, if you don't have that expertise or experience, potentially you're a new manager or a new director, you can always lean into allowing that person to take continuing education courses. That is definitely an option of big viable portion of mentorship. If you're a newer boss and still mentoring, you typically don't reach leadership status without being great at your job, so just remember that there's something that you're doing right now that you're really great at and that you'll carry that with you into the next step. But you need to hone your skill in recognizing potentially your weaknesses and strengths and see the same in others. Remember, mentoring isn't about being an expert in every single little thing. In order to actually effectively mentor someone, it's more about seeing what your team lacks, assessing who on the team could do an even better job with the correct positive influence, and encouraging that particular person or team to just go ahead and move forward. First things first, in mentoring you have to set expectations. Every person on your team should be encouraged to be the best they possibly can be. But that doesn't instantly mean that everyone is going to want the same thing. For example, some team members are quiet supporters that have busy home lives and some of them really want to get back to their families after work. Others may be flashy artists who devour hands-on classes and they just absorb feedback like pros, they instantly create incredible masterpieces. Maybe your team member wants to be a leader themselves one day and doesn't need creative advice necessarily, but instead wants more experience in a particular place like public speaking, say for example. Take the time to sit with your direct reports and truly understand what is important to them, and remember, if your team member is facing a challenge or has a strong leaning towards a subject matter you're not an expert in, mentoring is all about knowing when to reach out for additional resources. Be willing to find the answers and set the expectation of what you'll be working on with that particular person. The next step is to set goals to work towards together. Each person is going to have their own unique set of goals that they'll want to work towards. One of the challenges of mentoring is not spending the time to set out a particular milestone experience. When someone doesn't know the reason behind what or why they're working towards something, it's easy to lose focus or momentum or even find purpose to begin with. You want to mentor successfully and support your team members to their best abilities. Part of that is making sure that you set reasonable goals to help them achieve whatever it is that they're looking to achieve, whether they're taking continuing education courses or working to be more efficient workers so they can leave work on time to get back to their families, it's all about understanding what that person is working towards and setting achievable goals with them. The next part of it is counseling and cheerleading. I would be lying to you if I said mentoring was easy because it is absolutely not easy. As a leader, you'll need to learn to be fearlessly positive and relentlessly problem-solve and problem-spot if you want the best out of your team. Being a great leader means knowing that you're not the one doing the work. All you want them to be the best that they can be, it's always a challenge you can feel a little bit like a grind. Focus on counseling and cheerleading in a positive way, even if it means identifying when someone may need a break from the relentless pursuit of perfection. Not all mentoring activities end up successful either. Know how to handle failure and counsel employees who swing for the stars and ultimately sometimes end up missing. That is a huge part of mentorship. Whether they fail a test, maybe they try something new that doesn't quite pan out or they find that they actually hate the goals that they're actively trying to achieve, be open to discuss what a graceful pivot might look like. Failure is a huge part of growing. You absolutely should be embracing and encouraging failure at every chance that you get because failure is often seen as a negative attribute when in fact it's a positive attribute. It's not always about being the highest productive team or the most amazing creative, sometimes you have to flop in order to fly. Let's talk specifically about mentoring personality types. We've got go-getters and slow-movers, and usually we have a combination of either of these attitudes. But for now, let's focus on the people that want to go, go, go, and the people that are not so excited about moving very quickly. It's easy to mentor someone who has big ideas and lots of exciting thoughts on what they want to do next with their lives, their careers, their designs, whatever that goal might be for them. A go-getter often wants to take a course. They're the ones asking to lead a strategy session. They want to focus on being a leader. They want to learn new skills and prepare themselves for the future that they potentially see themselves in. It's very easy to identify next steps with go-getters and they're excited to try new things, they're always chasing being the absolute best. The most important thing you need to do when you're mentoring a go-getter is to set progress check-ins with them, at least one to two times a month depending on their personality types. I would suggest scaling up check-ins if they're potentially a newer team member and they might need a lot of counsel or scaling it back down to possibly once a month if they're pros and they need encouragement and progress reporting just every once in a while. Be very careful with go-getters though. They have a tendency to bite off a lot more than they can chew and they do get bogged down with all of the work they unknowingly assign themselves. They also have a tendency to beat themselves up if they don't achieve something by the time they set out for themselves. Be prepared reign these types of people in and help them align with realistic timelines, realistic goal setting, and ask questions when they want to tackle bigger projects. If they do get the blues about potentially failing, be prepared to positively coach them and counsel them with happiness through the challenges. Let's talk about mentoring slow-movers. I personally love mentoring slow movers. They are quite literally the unsung heroes of the team and people really don't give them enough credit in my opinion. They're also an awesome challenge for some of our seasoned pros and they keep us on our feet. How do you mentor someone who might be more challenging to the group or may produce slower or lower quality work? How do you mentor someone who seems like they have one foot out the door or might not be the best performer on your team? You start by understanding the value that they truly bring right now to the team that they're on. Oftentimes, slow movers aren't praised and they feel very disconnected from the success of the team. Other times they're quieter or have other obligations in their lives outside of work that takes center stage for them. Maybe they're just not flashy people, and that's fine too. Sometimes they prefer to work in the background and they really don't mind doing the work that no one else wants to do. Someone has to do the work that no one wants to do or be a supportive element on the team, not everyone can be the leader. Let's bring that down to an example. Let's say you're mentoring someone who does not aspire to take on big projects. They're possibly not interested in being a leader one day, that's totally fine. Let's say their quality of work is fine, but it's not spectacular, they often take the tasks no one on the team wants to do, and they step back out of the limelight. You'll also notice that they don't always deliver items on time, instead leaving directly at 05:00 PM and they're coming in right on time in the morning. It'd be really easy to assume that this person is a low performer, or they're not worthy of mentorship or even a time investment, but you would be very wrong. These traits are fairly common to employees that already have very full personal lives. They usually view work from the perspective of being a supportive team member. Someone like this would be happy to not be bothered with the limelight and instead stay in their lane and do satisfactory work. As a leader, it is your job to understand that this person is not motivated by job titles or major recognition. Instead, you should focus your mentoring and help them be the best at their craft to reduce their mistakes, reduce their interactions with clients with feedback, and just in general, reduce wasted time. If this is the type of person that has to leave every day at 05:00 PM because they have a demanding life outside of the office, talk with them about strong time management techniques. Share insights on if they improved one aspect of their work, maybe keyboard shortcutting, or adopting the Pomodoro time management technique, that they could dramatically increase the quality of their output and give themselves back even more precious time so they can either move on with their day or feel fine leaving at 05:00 and leaving work really truly at work. Ask them their thoughts and set good expectations and check in with them like you normally would with a go-getter. Remember, being a boss means you invest in all of your employees equally, not just the ones you enjoy mentoring. Here are some key takeaways that I think you should consider when you're thinking about mentoring your team to its best possible fruition. Team mentorship isn't just about getting the maximum results from your team, it's also about understanding how to help each individual person be the very best version of themselves at work. Understand what motivates your team members, truly listen to them. One size does not fit all. As you shift your mindset from maker into manager and start considering how you want to mentor, it's vital to remember that you are building yourself up as much as you're building up your team members. You always want to focus on being the boss that you've always wanted to be. Keep an open mind, listen to your employees carefully, and be your team's biggest cheerleader. When they fail, support them, encourage them, tell them to get back up and try it again. When they win, congratulate them, remind your team that you all experienced the winds and the losses together and help everyone see the value in each other. Thank you so much guys, I cannot wait to see you in the next video, we are going to be talking about handling common objections inside and out of your department. It is going to be exciting. Cannot wait to see you in the next video. But before you do that, make sure you head over to the next exercise in your creative leadership discovery tool kit. This is going to be your chance to think through your own mentoring style, so good luck. 6. Handling Common Objections / Blockers In and Outside Your Department: Hi everyone and welcome back. We are going to be talking about handling common objections in and outside of your department in this lesson. This lesson we'll go over three of the most common objections or blockers you'll experience while leading a creative department. We'll also spend time talking about the right way to handle objections, why, and how those techniques will help you lead your team more effectively. In this lesson, we are going to go over our top three common objections and they most often deal with time, talent, and budget. These are the things that keep us up at night as creative leaders. But having a good way of handling these objections will help you reduce your stress overall and prepare you for what might be coming for you next. Let's dive into the first objection. We need to deliver this project faster than his feasible. This one is so common. I cannot tell you how many times in your career you're going to be experiencing this. How I typically handle all of the common objections and blockers is to approach things in a three-step process or three-idea or consideration process. With this common blocker, this is coming from both inside and outside of your department. There'll be multiple people that are going to ask you, ''Hey, can you deliver this basically tomorrow? To handle this objection, it's vital that you understand how long it truly takes your team to deliver on a common project such as the one that this particular person or team member is asking for. You'll also need to understand how many other projects you're currently working on and what might suffer in order to meet the deadline that this particular person is asking for. The third thing you'll need to understand is if you can meet the deadline, what will the outcome be and if you can't meet the deadline, what will the outcome be? Dealing with this objection is going to be a constant in your career so let's talk a little bit more in depth about this. You really need to own your timelines. If someone is asking you to turn around something in a day and the project typically takes three weeks, you know right up front that you need to have a conversation because that is not going to meet the expected timeline that you know you need in order to create quality work. The other thing that you'll need to know is how many projects you have currently in the hopper. Having someone asked you to turn around a three-week project in less than a day means that everything else is going to suffer on your team. You're going to have to pull your entire teams focus off of whatever they're working on to focus exclusively on doing a mega lift on this particular type of project. So come back to that person, have a stronger conversation, say, ''We need more time,'' also, ''Here are the other things that are going to suffer if we fulfill this timeline.'' That's only going to help you eventually propose a new deadline that makes a lot more sense for everybody. The third thing you'll need to know is what's going to happen if I can't meet this one-day deadline. What suffers? I understand that my projects will suffer but is there something else attached that would encourage someone to give me a crazy deadline? Are going to lose a client? Are we going to lose an ad spot? What is it that is pushing these people to ask for a super short deadline? If you go back to the person, the requester, and ask them what exactly has typed this deadline, nine times out of 10, they're expectations are, ''Well, I just thought that you could do it and that usually takes care of itself, right?'' ''Sorry, we can't do a three-week project in one day.'' But it's really important to know, ''Hey, these are the things that we have on our table. Here's a new deadline. Does that sound fine?'' Understanding the outcome will help you deliver on the project and also help you say no or yes, but not right now. I hate to say this but this issue really, honestly never goes away. It doesn't matter if you've been in this industry for a million years. There'll always be someone that asked you to do something in less than 24 hours and expect you to actually be able to do it. You just have to be okay with knowing that not everybody understands the creative process and they really don't know how long something takes. So even if you have a project manager that's going to bat for you in handling these objections, it is still very important for you as a leader to have prioritization skills with or without them so that you can handle and protect your team's time and talent. This second objection is the one that bothers creative leaders probably the most. It's the one that I mentioned in a previous lesson of' ''Can't you just keep designing this? I'll know it when I see it.'' This is the blocker that keeps people up at night. This blocker typically comes from outside of your creative department and usually from someone who has never worked with a creative team before. Typically, they don't understand how to properly give feedback, or how to ask for creative work, or really what to expect when working with a creative team. To handle this objection or blocker, it is on you as a leader to train and set expectations. You can't assume that everyone that works with you knows their role in a creative project or even how to truly give good creative feedback. What you should do is set strong project charters are creative briefs that outlines their roles very clearly. You should also always ask that particular person to be more emotive. Saying things like, ''I don't like it'', is not good enough. You have to have them describe the issues in detail. It's also important that you give examples of good feedback and what is not so great feedback so that particular person has a clear understanding of how to give valuable communication to you. Remember, you are the person leading this team and it is on you to protect your team's time and talent. You do not have to put up with bad feedback. Be helpful, but also stick to your guns. So if someone is saying, ''I can't properly describe it. I know it when I'll see it'', you have to take time to sit down with that person to understand what the fuller context around their expectation is. They're probably just as frustrated as you are, honestly. It's on you to protect your team's sanity and to train the people around you and help everyone get past a hurdle together. Our third objection centers on talent and budget, predominantly budget. This one's going to come up in your career quite a bit as well. Nothing kills a project or an initiative faster than a lack of budget or lack of people to actually execute on quality work. So how do you handle this common blocker? In order to handle this, you'll need to be tenacious and you'll need to be resourceful. I always recommend the cheap, fast, or good model, where you can only pick two. If you don't have the budget and you want quality work, ultimately, you'll need to stretch the timeline out in order to ensure that your team has the proper time to dedicate to getting the work done. If you lack talent to accomplish something and you're faced with a budget constraint, your next best move is to negotiate breaking the projectile into smaller asks in order to fit them into new rounds of funding. But what if somebody comes back to you and says, ''Really honestly, we don't have money and there is really no talent, there's not enough people to accomplish this'', always remember that no is a complete sentence. When something is unreasonable, it's okay to flag that something is unreasonable. But keep an open mind in negotiation. There are ways to get around this objection. I always suggest using the time, talent, and budget that you have in order to prove that a project needs more funding. In order to make this technique successful, you need to be clear up front that you can start the project, but it may not be able to be finished in the timeline that they want it to be finished in. If your VP or C-suite needs proof of concept to get more funding, be very clear and open with good expectations moving forward. Sometimes, honestly, they just need the proof before they get fully vested. This only works if you can prove that there's a minimum viable product that you can produce. If you're faced with an issue of someone really having no time, talent, or budget, make sure that you are setting good expectations. If you truly can't say no because it's an initiative that they're pushing in your department, make sure you negotiate along the way and flag up front, ''Hey, I think this will need to be renegotiated in the future,. I just want to be transparent and honest.'' As a creative leader, you need to protect your team and you have to defend their space. It is absolutely acceptable to say no if something is truly unreasonable. Your first priority as a creative leader should always be on focusing on your team and helping them deliver incredible projects. Not just trying to meet a deadline or not just trying to hurry up and get something out there. You have to protect their time and their space and you really should focus on reducing frustrations by setting good expectations up front. When you're stuck between a rock and a hard place, be reasonable about what's feasible and stick to your guns when you can. It's not easy being a boss but it is your job to make sure that your team is taken care of. To be a great leader means that you may not always be liked and that's okay. You have to lean into that. Don't expect others to understand exactly how to work with you. As a creative leader, you need to set the tone and the pace of the way people work with you in order to make a successful project run successfully. It's absolutely okay to say no and you will learn how to negotiate and protect your team properly. If you're frustrated, also remember the other person is probably frustrated too. Always take a step back. Be a positive problem solver first and put your best foot forward. Head over to the Creative Leadership Discovery Toolkit. There is a fun little role-playing section that tackles objections. Fill it out now with your unique management style and apply what you've learned here to flex and really feel like that creative leader that you've always wanted to be. I will see you in the next videos. We'll be tackling hiring. 7. Hiring and Inspiring: Sourcing Talent, Identifying Skills, Building Your Team: Hey guys, welcome back. We are going to be discussing hiring today. Spelling one of the toughest things that being a creative leader deals with, you have objections, you got a mentor people, but how did you find the right person and how do you hire them? How do you bring them onto your team? Let's actually discuss that. This lesson will cover the most important and oftentimes frustrating portion of being a leader, sourcing the right talent, and how to build your team. At some point in the history of being a leader, you will tackle both hiring and unfortunately firing. The objective always is to promote from within and to hire the right person rather than suffer through a really bad hire. How do you reduce your risk? Let's get into it. Let's talk about hiring the right person. The most important thing you can do is start with a very clear job description. Finding talent always starts with developing exactly what you need that talent to do and then placing it in a well composed job description. The most important thing to know is that if the job role has very specific functions on your team, you have to be clearly state this in the job posting. Muddy postings are the biggest egregious act. It's terrible when you're trying to find and source really good talent, if you don't put what that person actually needs to perform, it can be really difficult to benchmark them. It sounds rudimentary but you don't know how often people get this wrong and they're just disappointed by the lackluster portfolios that wind up on their desk because of it. Something else that's really important to include in writing a great job description is a walk-through of a typical day on the job. Tell the person what they'll doing on a day-to-day basis, what are they responsible for? How do they work with the team? What does a day look like for them? The other thing I personally love to include is a 3, 6 and 12 month expectation on this job posting. What is it this person will be accomplishing within three months with the company? What does it look like in six months? At a year what are their true responsibilities? What should they be working towards? A nice value-add would be core company values and information. It's not just about working for a team, it's also working for the right company for your candidate. If your company is amazing, you should set out those expectations and achievements and values and awards and accomplishments read up front for people to get excited about. You should really tell them what the opportunity is like, what the company is like, and what they should be expecting overall from working with your team. Writing a great job description can be any length. It could be a shorter job description for maybe a more junior role, it could be a larger job description for a more senior role, the most important thing is that you're not hampered by a specific length of guidelines. Whatever you need to put in your job description is exactly what you need to put in there to make sure you source the right candidates that are fully aware of what the specifications of the jobs are and the duties before they even get to the interview stage with you. However, there are some general good guidelines I would like for you to keep in mind when you're writing your own job description. Here are the three components I think that makes a great job description. Company info should be roughly 2-3 paragraphs. Talk to the candidate about why they will love the company. What is special about the team they'll be joining? The other portion is an 8-10 section of day-to-day skillset of bulleted list to talk to them about what a day on the job would look like. Be clear about how they will measure success in the role, in the bullet points and what exactly the skills are that they'll need to be successful on this job. The other portion is the 3-6-12 accomplishment. I typically like to write one paragraph for each section to fully explain exactly what would happen at the 3, 6 and 12 month mark. I also think it's really helpful to look at a bad job description. Just as lunches a good job description is very descriptive, a bad job description is exactly the opposite. It's pretty vague, the paragraphs have no core values, the duties don't really match the job title. There's a lot of toxic buzzwords that you really want to avoid, like team player. The additional part of it is that there's really no company information or team information. It's on the candidate to search whether or not this company even has core competencies of values that align with what the employee is looking for. For all the love and time we put into writing a great job description none of that shows up in a bad job description. Something super show it with just basic requirements. Make the candidate feel like, does this team really care about what I do? These are very vague. Honestly, this posting attracts anybody and you honestly just don't want anybody on your team. You want a great person to fill a specific skill set and a role. You want to make sure that that person understands exactly what they'll be doing. Even if the roll is flexible, it's okay to write that in the job descriptions. Set good boundaries and expectations from the get go. Which one would you rather apply to? A job that gives you great set expectations? What a day would look like on the job of 3-6 month milestone marker? Or a job that says on a day-to-day basis you'll be designing? Yeah. I know which one I'd rather apply to. Let's move into identifying the necessary skill sets. It's not just about writing a great job description. How do you actually identify the skill sets to match your job description? Keep in mind that although you are putting a lot of effort into writing a great job description, that truly is your wish list. The perfect person would fulfill everything that he wrote and then some exact fits are extremely rare. It's really important to identify great cross functional skill sets and hire the right people from the get-go. Before you decide to look at candidates, it's important to decide what actually matters to you. Is it a great eye for layout? Maybe good typography work, great illustration designer, killer animation skills. You have to understand that your candidates won't be exact fit for the role that you write a 100 percent of the time. You have to be realistic. You can ask for anything you want in a job description. But with the budget and the team that you have, it's important to ask yourself what's truly feasible. When you're looking at someone's resume, make sure that you're following along some specific guidelines. Once you know exactly what skills you're looking for, understand what isn't feasible for your team. It's important to look at the candidates whole career and skill set of that entire work history and not just particular pieces and functions. Don't be afraid to ask for more portfolio items if they have great portfolio, but the designs may not fit the exact client that you have or the exact specification of the job. It's totally okay to go back to a designer and say, hey, I'm interested in your work, can you put together a presentation for me that addresses maybe digital marketing for someone that's mostly done or showing print ads. That's completely fine to ask. Ask them as well for deeper thoughts. Hey, what are your transferable skills from print to digital or digital to print? Where do you feel that your skill set lies? I know I love examples. Here's a really good one to help you put into context and shape your idea of transferable skills, speaking with the candidate more and understanding what does and doesn't fly with trying to find the right skill set fit. Let's say your candidate is a great culture fit. There interviews are awesome and they also come highly recommended from someone, but maybe their portfolio is just that's okay. Looking at it more closely, you've noticed a few key things in their work history that indicates that they really actually would be a good fit despite the work not quite being, quote unquote all the way there yet. What are your next steps? First step I would recommend is to look at their entire portfolio and not just the work-related projects. If they have an Instagram, if they have a dribble account or a Behance account for private work, ask to see the rest of the stuff that they do, maybe not on work time. Oftentimes a work related portfolios don't give designers the necessary leeway to create something incredibly interesting looking. Designers are oftentimes confined to what the company or client is really asking them for. The next step would be to conduct a portfolio review where the candidate has the opportunity to talk with you about the ideas that they have and explain the story behind the work that you're viewing. Sometimes that's more important than just seeing, is the work good or not? Understanding what their role was, what the specification of the project was, what the creative brief was, can do wonders and changing your mind around whether a candidate is a good fit or not. The third step is to ask how they determine when something actually could be designed better. I love asking this question because oftentimes people get caught with just designing something that a company has specified as okay, but their personal thoughts is that this actually could be a lot better, a lot more innovative. Having a critical eye and a deep dive into understanding what makes good design can make the difference between an okay designer and an amazing designer. Last, I want to talk to you about skill tests and there's a big question mark here. My philosophy on this is to never, ever, ever ask a candidate to do free work for the company. I know it's tempting to vet designers by giving them lengthy projects to prove their worth. If you're not sure about a candidate, giving them a freelance opportunity or a temporary chance and then you pay them to do good work is always an option and should be a part of the interview process. But if you absolutely must put creatives through a test, there are some three key ground rules I would recommend that you follow along to make sure that those tests feel genuine and that you're not taking advantage of somebody. The projects have to be completable within 24-48 hours. Look, most of these people have day jobs and families. You should be a set level expectation that what you're asking them to do doesn't take up nights and weekends and takes forever to produce the quality of work that you need to make it final decision. If you're that serious about a candidate, pay them for their time and effort, I cannot express this enough. At the very minimum, let that person know that the work that they do for you for your test, will never, ever be used by the company. That the designer retains all of the rights to their work. Doing anything less is promoting toxic work environments, your candidates are much more likely to walk away from you. On top of that, they are going to tell their friends about what a bad experience they had. I'm going to be honest with you, not all tests are bad. Sometimes you need them especially for junior designers or designers who are switching functions and don't quite have the portfolio items to show their talents. Overall, be nice. It has to be a tone that you've set up the relationship that you're beginning moving forward with this candidate. Show them that you value them whether you work with them or hire them or not, your reputation needs to proceed yourself. Now that I have preached my preach, let's move on and talk about building a team. When you're interviewing something there are a few important things to keep note of. Number one, you should always look for candidates who have been pulled towards a job, not necessarily pushed out of organizations. I mean, when I say push versus pull, there's a little bit of some wiggle room there. I mean, I understand their times are really hard. There had been oftentimes people get laid off in economic downturns. Creatives and marketing departments are usually the first budget cuts are first hit. There is some wiggle room there. However, if you're seeing a repeated pattern in someone's work history, definitely take note of that. You want to work with someone who's being pulled towards something, not pushed out of the organization because they're not consistently fit. The second tip here is to always try to promote from within whenever you possibly can. If you can, it's really important to reward internal employees that go the extra mile. It's important as a leader too to set out career paths for team members and ask them, hey, what is it that you're looking forward to doing next? If there was a promotion opportunity, what would that look like for you? What would you hope to be promoted into after this? Promoting from within is the most important way to build your team. The third tip here is to fill unique skill set roles. Fill roles only when you truly need them. Avoid team blow whenever you possibly can. If you're running an agency with a tone of junior designers, that's not quite effective because the stress of you coming up with all of the ideas and nobody else helping you. There's a lot to deal with it. It's important to feel unique skill set roles and understand there's going to naturally be a hierarchy of team talent on your particular team. All right guys, you are ready for your next exercise. Head on over to your PDF for light and fun skill matching exercise. Remember, when you're matching skills, think about the other parts of what we talked about today. How would you conduct an interview? How would you write a description for a job? What are the things that are important? Think through it while you match up your skills and take a little bit of time to absorb. 8. Productivity Part One: Project Management: Hello everyone and welcome back. This is part 1 of two parts covering productivity. This lesson is about project management. Now, there will always be an aspect of project management to a creative team leadership. If you're lucky enough to have a dedicated project manager or a coordinator or potentially a wrangler, congrats, you are blessed. That is amazing. But this lesson will still be extremely valuable for you. For the rest of us, let's roll up our sleeves and let's talk about how to surface the right information at the right time to help be an effective creative leader, that actually hits real deadlines. Getting into the meat of project management we will talk about four concepts that will be really important to make sure that you fully understand and grasp before you reach the project management section of your career. We're going to talking about centralizing creative requests, adopting a system and setting out some processes, how organization is going to be key to anything that you do, as well as what it's like to set realistic deadlines. Let's get moving. The first thing we want to do in project management is to make sure that we are centralizing where creative requests are being submitted. It's extremely important to have a system and process that starts out, easy to use, and doesn't change very frequently, especially if you're releasing this company wide. How do you want to build out a creative request form? How do you collect creative requests? There are multiple platforms that you can use, everything from a Google Form to embedded forms on websites, to project management systems, wherever you feel is the right place for you to centralize all of your request into a ticketing system is important to make sure that you keep vital information in your workflow and protect the security of your team. Centralizing all requests in a ticketing system is extremely important to keeping your team's time and sanity in check. The most important thing you want to do with accepting creative requests into a ticketing system is that you want to give your team as much ownership as you possibly can. You also want to let entire departments self-serve on requests. It's impossible to ask that one particular person is the central request taker. You want to automate that as much as possible for instances like what if that person is sick or out or takes a vacation? You also want to make sure that you can keep an eye on all things at the same time. There are some cons when you're building a form that you'll need to be aware of ahead of time, for example, not everybody knows exactly how to fill out a form just like they're struggling with giving creative feedback. Filling out a form to its best ability is hard for people. It's on you just like it is for training to give people a succinct feedback, it's important that you train people to use your ticketing system. Also there are some caveats to building forms. Not all creative requests are created equal. The form can't necessarily handle extremely complicated requests that are spending months or have multiple deliverables, for those instances, it's better to combine an intake call with project requests form to cover all of your basis. On one hand, you want to make sure that the department can self-serve, but if the project is way too big, you want to do an intake call and make sure that you send the project through the form to log it in your ticketing systems, that you could prioritize your productivity. On the right-hand side, you could see a very simplistic form that I've personally built out for my own creative team. The exact questions you put on your form aren't necessarily as important as understanding why your form exists and in what ways you want to utilize it. With that, there are five pieces of key information that any intake form will need to be successful. You guys will experience your own unique scenarios where sometimes you'll have additional questions, maybe your form will be more or less rudimentary. You need to have an area where the requester can thoroughly describe what the project is. The second piece, is that you need to understand what is it they expect to be delivered back from the request, is it a PDF? Is it a photo? Is it a video? What is it? Additionally due dates or an urgency of the project is really important. Sometime there are departmental due dates that are inflexible, but also asking them how urgent the project is helps you understand where in the hierarchy of prioritization this project should fall. Additionally, you do want to ask more simplistic questions around dimensions. Are there specific copy requests? Any content or related materials that have to be in the design. The very last piece is who is the final approver? It doesn't help anyone if the request is submitted and there are 10 different approvers and you have to appease all of them that you weren't aware of until the very end of the project. Asking that upfront will help reduce confusion and frustration moving forward. Let's talk about adopting a project management system. Once you set up your form, where do all of these requests ultimately live and how do you organize them? The next step would be to choose a project management system. It truly does not matter what platform you use, but you should keep some key information in mind. How many people need to access the information? Is your department self-serving? Are you the one handling prioritization? Do you have a project manager? How many people are touching this information? The second part is asking yourself, how do you manage all of the tasks on a project? Sometimes a project will come in and you'll need multiple team members to handle different portions of the project. How are you going to manage all of that? The third piece is, what reminder system do you need? Do you need to have due dates? Do you need e-mails pinged associated with the due dates? Do you need to have visibility on what someone is working on and to understand. I need a reminder when somebody is stuck or I need a reminder of how many people are working on something, think through that process before you choose a platform. The other portion of it is how exactly you'll be using this, is this just an internal team feedback system where you can communicate with each other and share ideas? Are you inviting other people from the organization to come into the system and give you feedback? The last thing you should ask yourself is do you truly need something very simple? Or do you need something more advanced? How you'll determine whether something is simple versus more advanced is what style of projects your team is working on. If you have a set level of projects that come in and you know that they're not as complicated and you know that the forum can handle them and you don't really need a project management platform that's overly difficult to use, then you know you want to go more simple. But if it's more advanced, then you'll want to look more into a project management system that will support any style or type of request. Because you know that you're going to be hit with lot's of different tasks. That will be up to you as a creative leader to determine which will be the best system for you ultimately. Let's talk about an example because I think it's really helpful, especially when you're thinking to yourself do I need something more simple or do you need something more advanced? Here is an actual project, look into one of my personal clients. It's a rebranding project. I set this up very simplistically in a [inaudible] view. It's a basic 1, 2, 3, 4 week system, where each week we'd work on something different. I invited the client into observe work, give feedback, look at rough drafts. I also protected the team's time by not allowing them to come in here and have private discussions with me. We set up another area for us to do that. When the client viewed this, they only saw the work that they were supposed to see. It was very easy to manage, very easy to know when somebody needed a call or when somebody needed an action item completed and everything was very plainly laid out. Now that we've talked about setting up a form and choosing a project management system, let's discuss how to prioritize requests. Here are my tips on how to organize and prioritize requests no matter what system or how complicated things are or who you're working with. The first one is to understand what due dates are actual hard deadlines and what ones are soft deadlines. What can you move and what are immovable objects? The third piece is to have a true grasp on how long something typically takes. If you have someone producing social media graphics and they take eight weeks, you have to flag that as a questionable action. That's probably [inaudible] unless it's a massive campaign tied to something else. It doesn't take eight weeks unless we're doing something from scratch and doing a photo shoot or something else. It really shouldn't take that long to do something like that. It's important for you to know how long something truly takes to deliver. It's also important to understand the complexity of a request. Because even though something might typically take only a few days say, for example, with our social media project on taking eight weeks, if that's a complicated request, then it makes sense that it would take longer. The last piece is to understand what exactly happens when something succeeds or fails. You really need to own your lane on how often you can and cannot move immovable or impractical items or soft deadlines, how long something takes, how complicated something is, and you have to understand the consequences or the celebrations tied to those key pieces of information. The other thing I really want you guys to take time to think about is setting deadlines that make a lot of sense. There's a lot of flexibility in the mindset around setting deadlines. I want to encourage you guys to not beat yourself up if you don't get it right the first time. The first thing here to remember is that nothing is perfect. There is going to be a lot that has to rely on your experience with a team. If you are leading a brand new team or building a team for the first time, you can't expect to know absolutely everything and you just have to give yourself some grace. The other portion of this is to negotiate with a smile. You have to be positive. You're not always going to be successful. A lot of times your hope is that you are successful. But it's all about asking for leeway and explaining and helping and just being a positive force. Remember to always adopt a team over self attitude and negotiate a timeline when you know that you can. Also, it is important to utilize yes, but not right now. A no is very hard to hear, especially if your team is struggling and they're just getting things together and you all are learning how to work together. It's not easy to say no, but if a project really is feasible but there isn't capacity to do it right now, lean into scheduling it into the future. That isn't a failure. That's a big success. Now that you have walked through part 1, we are going to get you ready for part 2. The next part of this is going to be focused on more advanced techniques, are you ready for it? If so, let's go. 9. Productivity Part Two: Metrics and Measuring without Micromanaging: All right guys. Welcome back to Productivity Part 2: Metrics and Measuring Without Micromanaging. I love a good alliteration. Who would have thought as a creative leader, that you would actually need to do a little bit of math and also look at some pie charts and some bar graph charts. But you know what, that's what it's like to be a leader. It's not always about the fun, pretty, designing stuff. Trust me, there's a lot of that. There is a ton of that, but it's also about making sure that you're building a healthy team and just stepping it up. This is part two of Productivity and in this section, we'll cover a high concept of productivity using metrics. We'll also cover a concept called mean time to resolution. I'll deep dive into what that means exactly so that you understand how best to use MTTR without micromanaging somebody and some other productivity techniques. Let's dive into MTTR, which is mean time to resolution. Let's talk about what it is and how it can help you, what the MTTR best practices are, and also, talk about some advanced techniques using a formula. I think it's really important to understand what MTTR is and to be honest, it is revolutionary to developing and leading and managing a creative team. Let's talk a little bit more about that. What exactly is MTTR and why do I consider it in magic? MTTR and using it, is really all about understanding when there's a problem with project deadlines and also a problem with asset delivery. It's about flagging things ahead of time rather than just waiting for somebody to fall down and fail. I'm going to give you a stricter definition of what MTTR is because I think that it will really help you wrap your arms around how to use it and what it actually means to your team. MTTR is a metric based on a formula that is used to resolve how long it takes to intake, develop, and deliver a final solution to requests. That's a big fancy way of saying, if you know the timeline of something, say it's a one-week project and you get the request in, your MTTR is accounting for all one week projects that come in and if there's any time when you're not able to deliver on that one week project, say it's slower, say you deliver it in three weeks, calculating MTTR at specific times helps you understand how often you're successful against your benchmarks, and it helps you see where there's holes in your team. If you have a bunch of one week delivery dates and you're not hitting any of them, MTTR and calculating it and monitoring that metric helps you really understand that we've got a problem. We really need to revisit why these one week projects aren't being delivered on time. Where did this metric come from? I think that's really important to know as well. This metric has often come from repair or engineering teams, and they use it to ensure that proper project delivery as being adhered to by that team. Before we start getting into the formula of MTTR, I want to talk to you about the concept of calculating it. We understand that MTTR is a great way to measure if a project is being delivered on time, so it's a productivity tool. What is exactly the calculation formula of this? It's the total number of hours divided by the total number of requests within a certain time period. What will you actually need to calculate MTTR? Once you do it a couple of times, it's super easy so don't be daunted by this. I know creative people look at this and they go, wait a minute, I don't want to math. No. Here are my five things that you'll need to produce a great MTTR rating, make sure it's actually effective. You'll need a time tracking tool, you'll need to have a way to track how long your team is working on something. You'll also need a project intake process, which we just talked about, getting your form correct and ready. You'll also need to understand project timelines. That's a huge portion and function of your job already, just knowing how long something takes is really important for a creative leader. You'll also need a way to count how many project requests are coming in during a set period of time, which leans into the idea of needing a project management system. If you have a request intake form and you're getting 10 requests a week for one week projects, you'll need to be able to log that somewhere. The other thing you'll need to know is to automate. If you can automate any process of this, if you have an automation tool that automatically counts how many things are coming in at a set time period or if you can set time tracking to start when a particular person pushes a button on your tracking system of they're working on a project, then that might stop if they change the project from working to complete. That would be amazing but at the end of the day, if you don't have access to those tools, you can always do it by hand, just the old-fashioned way. It's really not that hard, it's a pretty simple formula. Speaking of that formula, let's actually look at it. This is the real MTTR formula, mean time to resolution. The metrics you're going to need to know is how long did your project take to close. You'll need to know what brackets or buckets of projects you'll have. For me, I have three types of projects. One is a small project, which is a turnaround time of about a day. The second bucket is a medium project, which is a turnaround time of five days. My third bucket is a large project, which is a turnaround time of about 15 days, which is roughly three working weeks. Any projects that are longer than that, I don't apply the MTTR formula to because those are special circumstances and quite often, we don't get particular productivity requests for special projects. Again, reiterating, your MTTR formula is more for productivity, not necessarily measuring like, if we did a branding project and it spanned 12 months, how do you apply MTTR to that? You're probably not going to do a branding project every single day unless you're a brand and company. Then if you are a branding company, you could apply MTTR because it's a common request. Uncommon requests, don't apply MTTR to. Now that you have your three buckets, small, medium, large, we know how long it takes, a day, five days, 15 days, etc. Now we know that we can measure total time to close, so how long it took to close a request into those three buckets. Then you'll divide that by the number of requests that you get in, say, a week. I like to measure MTTR monthly. I take a look at all of the projects that came into my team over four week period, and within that time that encapsulates things that take a day, a few days or a few weeks to complete. Then I can benchmark against, hey, two months ago our MTTR for these three items was x, y, and z. Now this month, we were able to increase our MTTR. We were able to increase productivity by x amount. That's really important for me because now I can go back to my VP and say, hey, we're doing a great job on productivity. Here are the metrics. That's super important. Now, before you run off and start assigning buckets to things, and figuring out the calculation, and deciding on how long you want to focus on, what period of intake of projects and applying this MTTR metric, I really want to go over some dos and do nots when it comes to MTTR. I usually like to encourage people to ask themselves these four questions and keep them in mind that you're using MTTR in a very positive way to handle your team. The first one is, are you using MTTR to inform, or are you using it to punish your team? Because at the end of the day, it's not important that these people deliver perfectly on time, it's more about understanding if there is a roadblock, a blocker, or an issue and that you can take care of it sooner rather than later. The other question to ask is, how important is MTTR to your overall health and measurement of your team? Some of you all will probably look at this MTTR calculation and be like, you know what, we actually don't do much productivity and I don't really need this measurement. That's fine, but some of you may look at this and be like, this is going to revolutionize the way that productivity is done on my team and it is very important for me to start using this metric, so you've got to sit down and think about how important is MTTR to my overall health of my organization or my team. The other thing you need to assess is how heavily you're going to be relying on MTTR. I want to encourage you guys to understand that MTTR is not the end all be all metric. You cannot measure a success or failure by one data point. Truly, this is just one way to view productivity. To be successful, you need other more complicated productivity metrics to measure by. Also, it's about team health and happiness so you cannot heavily rely on this exclusively but if you do feel that this is going to be extremely important to your team, take some time now to say, okay, this is really important, maybe I should explore this and other metrics along with it. The last thing to ask yourself is if you're using MTTR in conjunction or in place of other techniques, don't allow MTTR to replace mentorship or conversations. Don't use it as a tool to punish. Don't use it in place of a conversation. Make sure you're using it in conjunction with other techniques to help inform yourself more thoroughly of what's actually going on in your team. Let's talk about use cases. Data visualization is really helpful in understanding how MTTR might work for your team, so let's talk a little bit more about that. MTTR is a great team management tool for a lot of reasons. Trend analysis is really important for productivity and it's the best use case for MTTR. Trend analysis is usually over a longer period of time, so you would probably be able to benchmark MTTR after the first three months to really get an understanding of how your team is optimally being productive or maybe not being productive, it depends on what kind of team you're running. It's also important to use MTTR to see how a particular project type or even maybe a particular team member is performing on certain types of projects, that's super useful to assess overall team health over longer periods of time. Let's talk about this data visualization. Let's pretend this team classifies priority one projects as a 3-5-day turnaround time. In the month of March, they had 75 total priority one projects coming to their department for all of March. Of the 75 projects, they were completed, MTTR, 3.12 days on average. Now that's great because usually for this team, a priority one project takes about five days to complete. This team should be super proud of themselves. If it takes an average of five days to complete a priority one project, and in the month of March, if they took in 75 of them and the night they completed them by 97 percent and an average of 3.12 days benchmarked against a typical five, that's crazy, they did so good. The other interesting metric here that you could look at is comparing February to March. Let's say in February priority one projects, there were not as many of them, that makes this metric even more impressive. In February to March, the team saw a 29.3 increase in requests for priority one projects. Despite the workload increasing by a pretty big number, they were still able to nail it 97 percent of the time on a delivery rate faster than what your actual benchmark is. Again, huge round of applause. That's an amazing team celebration and something your team should truly be proud of, they truly delivered. Now, you can see how important MTTR is. Before we wrap up, I just want to reiterate and remind you again that a healthy team is more than just their MTTR number. It's a great tool to use to make sure that people understand how hard you guys are working. Also it's a great tool to use to understand if there's a blocker or if somebody needs mentoring or coaching or if they need help. But MTTR is just a simplistic metric to measure, just understand how your team is performing in one way. Always remember that the health of your team is your number one priority as a creative team leader. All right, guys, before you hit the next lesson, remember to check your PDF. There is an MTTR productivity and time manage practice sheet in there. I think it'll be a lot of fun for you to practice rolling out MTTR, especially if you're not a numbers person like me. I know my MTTR calculating that by hand and you do a little bit of practice. Now, you go navigate towards it and I will see you in the next lesson. We will be talking about paperwork proposals. So get ready. 10. The Big 3 Proposals: Project Charters, Creative Briefs, RFPs: All right guys, let's talk about the big three paperwork parts, project charters, creative briefs, and RFPs. Even if you're assigned a project manager, you still need to know how to formally communicate different types of projects or requests. In this section, we are going to go over some foundational ideas. What are these documents? How do you use them? Why do you need them, and sum best practices for success. Let's first start with a project charter and the breakdown of it. What exactly is a project charter? You would use a Project Charter for larger projects that are multi-tiered. Mostly these move across large organizations, there for projects that are very complicated with a lot of moving parts. You want to cover everything from budget to timing to risks, and let's walk through what won actually is. Here are my suggestions on best practices to fill out a project charter. You want two focus on measurable results always, and you always want to focus as well on having benchmarks, and you want to be extremely thorough. You want to capture the entire project, including the timeline and the expectations. You want to assess what's in and out of budget, as well as identify who your RACI is, and what is RACI? RACI is the responsible people, who are going to be working on the project, who were the approvers, who's the accountable people? You want to identify who are the most important people to this project. Additionally, you want to identify how to measure the success or failure of the project. Is that a benchmark of a completion date? Is that a benchmark of completion items? Lastly, you want to address assumptions, blockers, and pitfalls. So you want to assume like, hey, if this happens, then this other item might not happen. If this problem comes up, we won't be able to finish the project. Here are some things we want to avoid. It's really important about setting the projects expectations up front, and most of the time when you do project charters, you do get an assignment from the PML. You have a project management office that comes in and helps you organize how, who truly massive these projects are, so, keep that in mind when you're writing this. Once you have your project charter written, now you have some next steps that you usually align with. So you have an approval and a kickoff, then that leads you into something called an RFP or request for proposal process where you engage agencies, and then ultimately from there, you dive into the meet of the work. Project charters have a tendency to vary wildly from organization to organization, so, it is always a good idea to understand whether a template exists in the backend of your system currently or not, so, you would definitely want to either paying your project manager, paying your VP or a C-suite, and really wrap your arms around if something like this already exists. If it doesn't, that's okay to. Let's move into what an RFP is, which is a request for proposal. Let's break this down. What exactly is an RFP or request for proposal? An RFP is a business document that details all of the information about your project. It solicits bids from contractors or agencies that you need to help you complete the project. Just like we set up a project charter that could feed directly into your request for proposal that you'd send out to agencies to help you fulfill your very large project. Let's take a look at what this RFP process is together. There are a lot of different ways to fill out RFPs successfully, but here are some quay points I want you to take into consideration when you're filling yours out. You want to focus again on measurable results. You want to focus again on benchmarks and you want to be extremely thorough. Do you seen a pattern hear? There is definitely a pattern. Your five things that you want to look into, is do you want to leverage your project charter? If you haven't developed a project charter write now, now would be a good time to do that. It's hard to fill out an RFP until you really known what the project is set out to accomplish. In your RFP, you also want to detail the entire project in a way that's consumable for an agency to red through and truly understand. This is an external facing document. You want to also include specific questions you might have for an agency or a freelancer, like, what is your budget or timeline for a project? Does it align to our budget and timeline? Included in that, you also want to make a detailed project scope. What is it that you're actually asking this freelancer or agency to fulfill? Do you only need a small portion of them to come in and help you? Do you need them to do the whole thing? Really detail exactly what you're asking for. Also, again, address assumptions, blockers, and Pitfalls. If you have a specific budget, for example, that you want to stick to, make a note of it in your document, things like that. Next steps are just like your project charter steps. You'll have an approval and a kickoff date, from there, you'll select agencies and you'll send them your RFP, and from there you should expect to process and respond to questions within a timely manner, then you'll interview and select your final agency by a set date that you've documented in your RFP. From there, let's talk what a creative brief is. Let's break that down. What exactly is a creative brief? A creative brief is a miniature version of your project charter. It's still incredibly important to leverage timelines and expectations, but it's not as intense as a project charter. Most often it doesn't really require RFPs. You usually use them to keep internal projects on track and keep people informed of when certain milestones will be happening. You absolutely should include timelines, milestones, and expectations, but really not as intense as a project charter. Filling out a creative brief is pretty simplistic, it's very similar to the other paperwork that we've talked about before, a project charter and RFP. Again, the repetitive idea here, it's the same concept. You want to identify milestones, you want to make sure that you capture what the project really is, you want to document deliverables and when those deliverables have due dates, you want to include feedback rounds and when you might need someone to ping them for attention like, "Hey, we need you in this feedback area to approve or amend." You should also address assumptions, blockers, and pitfalls just like you did in your project charter and your RFP. Although these documents sound really scary, you're starting to see your repetitive idea with them. Typical next steps for creative brief is, you deliver it to all parties involved, they checked it over for approval, 90 percent of the time, you're the one telling them what to do, so, they don't really necessarily need to give there approval unless there's conflicting dates, so, just keep that in mind. You'll end up using it as your project guideline and you refer back to it, and you're going to make sure that people understand exactly what their roll is, and make sure that they show up at the correct times to give the feedback where they're most needed. For projects that involve people at multiple stages, with lots of deliverables, spending multiple departments, you absolutely should document your expectations and project milestones no matter what the project is. It's all about keeping everyone on the same page. That is vital to managing changes and avoiding disappointments. Make sure you clearly communicate your expectations in writing to your project manager, if you're lucky enough to have one, and to your team. In the creative leadership discovery toolkit you will found templates to use to create mock projects. This is your time to shine. Choose your own topic, anything you want to try out, maybe it's a larger project or a smaller one, whatever you feel comfortable with. Use it to leverage and fill out the given templates and practice in a safe space. Again, the concept of these, is that it's very, very simplistic, it's fairly repetitive. However, it is important that you get practices filling them out. Thank you so much guys, and I cannot wait to see you in the next videos. 11. Building Team Morale: Welcome to the cherry on the Sunday. We are almost done. Today, we're going to talk about building team morale. Once you've worked hard to hone your skills as a leader, you've walked through selecting your team, you know what's truly important to work on, and how to maintain your team's productivity and focus, it's time to talk team morale. In this video lesson, we're going to address top two techniques on how to build team morale. There's lots of different ways to do this. However, these are the top two techniques that I love to use, no matter what kind of team I'm running. First and foremost is team branding. I find this exercise to be so important, especially if you are onboarded into a brand new team and it's just a brand new day, and you know that you need to band everyone together. Why not? You should take the opportunity to do something fresh and new. You have all of the talent you need on your team to accomplish something really cool. There's honestly nothing more exciting than getting together and doing a creative project that has nobody tied to it. Clients aren't going to be barking down your neck about what it looks like, people aren't going to be nitpicking on things or colors. You guys could really take the time to do something super fun and exciting and really let your creativity flow. This is a great technique to understand how your team communicates with each other, who's excited about what, and really get a real strong gauge around the talent on your team. Focus on that team brand first, develop the team logo, and then spitball slogans and taglines and ideas. Maybe you don't have a ton of time to do this on the actual job, so it would be great to set aside a team happy hour review every other Friday or every other Wednesday from 4:30 until 5:00. Build or carve out that time on your team to really bond together. Allow your team to bring their creativity to the table, and ask for your team's ideas, their thoughts, their insights. It'll be a lot of fun to actually build something together that you're all very proud of. While this is a really fun project, make it measurable. Makes sure that you have a final decision by a certain amount of time, and then once you're finished with it, roll it out to the organization, either throw a little party or get a little get-together for everybody to come and look at the new logo, adopt it across documents for work in progress watermarks, anything you can think of to really put your team brand out there and get people excited to work with your department. The second initiative I want you guys to focus on to build team morale centers on education. Just like we talked about before what makes a great leader is someone that can step back and look at their team, assess what talents they have, and also understand what team members are excited to do and what they're maybe not excited to do. Step back and identify any areas on your team that may be lacking, maybe they're skills or concepts, if there's a gap somewhere. Identify what those are and then approach each person on your team in a one-on-one or maybe in the group. Assess their desire and understand the ideas they might have or what their career path could be, or what they're really interested in doing next. Once you get a feel of who wants to continue their education, then you should take that to your VP or your C-suite and ask for funding. Get creative with it. If you don't have a budget, there are lots of different ways to exercise team education, maybe you'll do a lunch and learn, maybe you'll lead bi-monthly topic discussions and a new person takes on the role of teaching something really interesting to the team. There's a lot to explore here. Definitely take your time and think about what could you do to help build the team morale through team education. The most important thing to remember is it should always come from a place of being authentic. Team morale is all about understanding what the team needs and responding in kind. Whether that's a weekly happy hour from 4:30 to 5:00, or building a new team brand, make sure whatever you guys are working on actually reflects the excitement of your team. The minute you identify it becomes a grind, step back, eliminate that, try it again. It's always a good idea to get the feel of your team and understand what's important to them and put that action plan into place. All right guys, now it's time for your very final lesson in the Creative Leadership Toolkit. It's your time to brainstorm some topics in team building initiatives that you think might help build your own team morale. I am so excited for you guys. Thank you so much, and I will see you in the final video. 12. Final Thoughts: All right guys, I just wanted to say congratulations, you guys have finished this class. That is a huge accomplishment. This class was full of information about leadership and management and hiring and paperwork and everything you could possibly think of that you would need to embark on your journey of being a creative leader. I wanted to pause and say, congratulations again, it is a huge accomplishment to get through this class. I hope that you've learned so much and it's been a huge honor for me to teach you. One of the most important things in my career is to pass on what I know to the next generation of amazing leaders. I want to help you guys achieve your goals. Remember, anything is possible, anything. Anything you set your mind to is absolutely possible, and you could do whatever it is that you hope to set out to do in the future. Congratulations again, I cannot wait to see what you do with this incredible information. Go out there and lead in beautiful, incredible creative teams.