Being the Best In The Room
In my role as Creative Director at IMGR, I’ve been looking to expand my ability to engage others to create excellent audio. Sure, I could probably make some cool stuff myself but the purpose of my job isn’t necessarily to be the best in the room when it comes to Radio Imaging… and that’s a new way to think for me.
So what exactly is it that I’m trying to be the best in the room at?
When I was at Capital, I had to be able to create the best solutions. I worked by virtue of knowing I knew the most about sound, the station’s systems and the fundamentals behind the brand. I got comfortable with this way of working for better and for worse. “Make the next launch package for [insert activity]” through to “mix the audio on the TVC” and even “design a voice processing chain for a station you don’t normally get involved in.” I relished those challenges – and was able to meet them and then by extension of that, teach my team.
But it wasn’t the most effective way of working. I’ve always known that – but in the environment of a busy radio station it’s not always possible to work in any other way. But as I embark on my new role at IMGR, I’m looking to challenge the way that I’ve worked in the past…
At IMGR, I’m working with some incredible talent – they’re so good at what they do that I’m not the guy that knows the most anymore. I must admit that I’m a little unsettled by this feeling, but it also provides me with an excellent opportunity – to actually be what my job title says: A Creative Director.
I’ve been searching around for ways to achieve this and I stumbled across a great article in Ad Week titled “18 Things Great Creative Directors Do Every Day.” I’ve found it interesting and in my new role at IMGR I’m using this as an almost ‘work bible’ to help me set the tone for how I want to move forward with my career.
The article has more in-depth information on each of these 18 points, but the headlines:
- Set the creative standards and objectives so that everyone understands them.
- Be approachable and accessible, and eliminate any anxiety.
- Find out what your staff thinks about the work and solicit their suggestions for how to make it better.
- Create a culture of honest engagement.
- Be specific and constructive when you review work.
- Do some work yourself, but not the plum assignments.
- Give people a fair chance, but get rid of the duds.
- Hire people better than you.
- Be able to save the day, but try not to.
- Take the blame, not the credit.
- Spend your time turning 9/10s into 10/10s.
- Create healthy competition, but avoid relentless shootouts.
- Stay out of the way.
- Know that everyone is different.
- Don’t accept mayhem as the standard.
- Have a great creative manager.
- Don’t burn people out.
- Be kind and generous.
One week in, and so far I’m on track with most of these points, at least based on the work I’ve been tasked with thus far.
So what do I take from this? That being a great Creative Director isn’t the same as being the best in the room at something. It’s about being the person in the room that knows how to harness the skills of the other ‘best’s’ in the room to creative the best product possible.
I want to be best at that. I will be.