Creativity, creative leadership, workability… stuff like that.

A sort of roundtable-type chat amongst some top US CDs.

There’s an interesting point made around the 16:00 mark where one of them says that the biggest jump is from CD to ECD (or the equivalent; in the UK can more like the jump from senior or ACD to proper hiring-and-firing CD). That’s where you really change from from being on the pitch to managing from the sidelines; enabling the people in your department to be brilliant at the hands-on part of the work instead of doing that yourself.

That’s definitely true. It’s where the essence of the job shifts the most. Your job, and where you draw your satisfaction from, is the advancement of the people in your department. Until you have no interest in getting the credit for yourself, you can’t really CD/ECD, otherwise the friction will get in the way of the work, the dynamic and the motivation of your staff.

I remember when I first CDed I hadn’t yet got that out of my system, so when I contributed (a decent amount) to the work of my teams I felt the need to be credited for that. Overal that worked out fine, but my partner and I fretted over it for ages and I’d really rather not have gone through it. The team left not long afterwards, and although I don’t think my want/need to have credit was the reason, I don’t think it helped.

The point made around 26:30 also makes a lot of sense. It’s not what you said, or how you said it; it’s about how you make people feel. It’s the soft stuff.

But for me it comes down to one word: workability. That covers a lot of stuff, but at the end of the day it’s about what you have to do to achieve your goals. Is the action you are taking in service of that goal? That question can include morale, happiness and satisfaction as much as it does quality of output. By definition it all makes a difference, so you have to take it all into account. Thrashing your teams to the point of misery might help you get a short burst of good work, but it might compromise the long term quality by reducing future motivation or the inclination to put forth future effort. Prizing ‘creativity’ over the overall needs of the agency, that might be unrelated to that specific goal, could also compromise the overall workability.

Of course, there are no set rules for what route or practice will increase the workability, and working that out that, as much as anything, is the job.