Artisan Blog

Giving and Receiving Constructive Feedback

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Giving and Receiving Constructive Feedback

In order to be constructive, feedback must be mindful, purposeful, well-informed, and well-intentioned. It must also be clearly understood and easy to act upon. The purpose of constructive feedback is not to reward or punish; it is to share valuable information and insights so the entire team will be in a better position to accomplish its goals.

Whether you're giving or receiving feedback after an interview, portfolio review, annual employee performance session, or client presentation you can benefit from ideas in the highly regarded book Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. This book offers a lot of insight, along with a helpful checklist to keep in mind, whether you want to share notes with your colleagues or want to listen more deeply to mutually uncover opportunities for improvement.

"Start With the Heart"

Your observations will be of more value if you practice seeing (and feeling) the world from the recipient's perspective. Likewise, if you can hear the hopes, fears, and emotions behind the feedback you receive, you may be more able to appreciate it as a gift. If you struggle with compassion or often find yourself on the defensive, the toolkit of Nonviolent Communication can change your perspective.

"Stay in Dialogue"

For feedback to be constructive, both parties must talk to each other, not at each other. Our relevant content on active listening has workable ideas on how to keep the paths of communication open.

"Make it Safe"

Safety is one of the most fundamental human needs; if safety is in doubt, addressing higher-level needs is not as easy. Part of building strong relationships is giving colleagues space, to be honest with each other without anyone feeling threatened. The most constructive moments happen in a calm environment within an atmosphere of mutual respect and only after any tensions or distractions have been dealt with.

"Don't Get Hooked By Emotion (Or Hook Them)"

Clear communication happens above the noise and static of aggression, manipulation, or games of status. To give and receive constructive feedback, you must work around any emotional tactics and triggers and maintain your focus on what is true, what is useful, and the objectives you share.

"Agree on a Mutual Purpose"

Make sure constructive feedback is shared on a common ground. This means setting your goals upfront, being transparent about what you hope to gain, and recognizing each other as allies on the same journey, headed in the same direction.

"Separate Facts from Story"

We, humans, excel at constructing narratives; we use this skill to find patterns in our experiences and to make sense of the world. To remain open to new information and wisdom, we must practice setting aside our stories and pay attention to things objectively, as they are, in a way both parties can understand and agree upon. Things are almost never precisely what they may seem!

"Agree on a Clear Action Plan"

Every transmission of constructive feedback should conclude with a set of concrete, realistic, shared goals. The best feedback often results in a plan of action, and once the plan of action is followed through to everyone's satisfaction, then you know the feedback was constructive!

At Artisan Creative, we believe the surest path to professional growth is through better communication. Get in touch today and start the conversation!

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 480th issue of our a.blog.

 


5 Free Online Courses for Creatives

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

5 Free Online Courses for Creatives

Another long, hot summer is upon us! If your business takes on a slower pace and you’re planning to take some time off, we’d like to recommend taking this opportunity to build on your professional skills and enrich your creative awareness by taking free online courses.

Coursera is one of several popular online platforms for massive open online classes (MOOCs). It offers engaging college-level courses in partnership with major universities, in a variety of creative disciplines and new technologies, all free of charge. Along with video lectures and reading material, many of these include tests, graded homework, discussion forums and some offer certificates of completion that add more experience to your resume or LinkedIn profile.

Here are five free creative courses that can give you a professional upgrade.

While predicting the future isn’t easy, there are some core thinking skills and mental models that can help leverage change and prepare for whatever comes next. This knowledge is widely applicable to those who do any sort of creative or entrepreneurial work and need to remain relevant to stay successful.

The essence of “design thinking” is “doing more with less.” This course explores how to pull off brilliant innovations under challenging and shifting circumstances, with ideas that are essential in UX or product design and relevant to anyone in business.

This is the first in Professor Scott Klemmer’s series of classes on interaction design, highly acclaimed by those in UX, information design, and computer science. You’ll learn the basic skills of ideation, research, and rapid prototyping that drive the latest trends in human-centered design, which is the art of working with your users and customers.

Content marketing uses the skills of advertising, branding, storytelling, and journalism to hook audiences and drive conversions. While this class is about communication and messaging strategy, its knowledge applies to anyone who wants to do business in the always-on digital age.

This course takes a serious, analytical look at the cutthroat social dynamics of high school that have inspired comedic films such as Mean Girls. By tackling a taboo topic with rigor and compassion, it has become one of the most popular MOOCs of all time. Its lessons have profound implications in design, in marketing, and across the cultural and professional spectrum.

Besides online courses, this is a great time to revamp your design portfolio and resume with updated information.

At Artisan Creative, we believe that the best opportunities are always reserved for those creative professionals who are most eager to learn. Contact us today to see how we can help you enrich your career, and yourself!

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 479th issue of our a.blog.


The Design History of The Flag

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

The Design History of The Flag

Wishing you a happy 4th of July!

The contemporary "stars and stripes" design has its origins in the early days of the republic. The original version of the design was officially adopted by the Second Continental Congress in 1777. Francis Hopkinson took credit for its design, contradicting the legend propagated by the descendants of seamstress Betsy Ross that she created the first flag from a sketch by George Washington. Most specifics of its origin are lost to history, though its symbolism has been fairly consistent.

The official flag design has gone through 26 variations since 1777. The current version, with 50 stars and thirteen stripes, has been in use since July 4, 1960, when it was adopted to honor the addition of Hawaii. It will likely change again if Puerto Rico or the District of Columbia achieve statehood.

The number of stars and stripes has represented the number of colonies and states in the union, although sometimes not exactly (to avoid clutter, among other reasons). Traditionally, the red represents valor and strength, the white represents innocence and purity, and the blue represents perseverance and justice. Although mass-market reproductions use different shades, any flag produced by the government must use pure white (#FFFFFF), Old Glory Blue (#002868), and Old Glory Red (#BF0A30).

Numerous artists - Norman Rockwell, Jasper Johns, Barbara Kreuger, Robert Longo, and thousands of lesser-known pop artists and graphic designers - have taken their liberties with the flag, incorporating it into their work to convey a spectrum of emotion and meaning. Among many other ideas, the flag represents an expressive and creative freedom that has generated a bounty of design work, from the reverent and patriotic to the humorous and subversive.

Outside of a few Scandinavian countries, few nations have the reverence for their flags that many Americans do, particularly those within and adjacent to the US Armed Forces. Conversely, the desecration and abuse of the flag, as a form of protest, has been widely practiced and consistently deemed protected by the First Amendment.

One of its most powerful messages is a celebration of the ability to rearrange traditional symbols to honor history, to question tradition, or to communicate something new. The work of artists, graphic designers, and artrepreneurs affects how we think, how we live, and how we consider the world around us. In any context, it is an urgently important discipline and pursuit.

Celebrate taking charge of your creative career. Contact Artisan Creative today to learn more.

Wishing you a Happy Independence Day.

We hope you've enjoyed the 478th issue of our a.blog.


Setting Six-Month Resolutions

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Setting Six-Month Resolutions

We celebrated the Summer Solstice on June 21st. The end of June marks the halfway point of the year and at such times of transition, it can be useful to pause, reflect, and consider where you've been, where you are and where you plan to go.

By now, you may have kept some of your New Year's resolutions, while others may have fallen by the wayside or diminished in importance. This is an excellent time to reflect on your progress so far and to make a few simple "six-month resolutions", re-focus and re-set intentions. Here are a few broad and useful ones that are easy to keep.

Tie Up Loose Ends

What simple tasks have you been putting off? If tasks, expectations or obligations have been hanging around on your to-do list for months, you can use a simple system such as GTD to knock out the small but important ones today.

If there are larger concerns weighing you down, consider if they’re worth your time and energy. Prioritize tasks and considerations that relate to the larger themes of the career and the life you want.

If you plan to take time off over the summer, now is the time to prepare and make sure everything is in place, so you can more fully relax and recharge during the hot and slow season.

Nurture Your Relationships

Take the time to reach out to important people in your professional life with whom you want to maintain your ties. This can be as simple as sending a quick check-in note or checking their LinkedIn pages to see what they're up to.

Relationships require attention, and it is always wise to offer more attention than you expect to receive. If you keep your connections strong over time, you will find it easier to ask for help when you need it. And, if you are there for others when they need help, it can work wonders for your career and overall sense of well-being.

Follow the Green Lights

It is important to reflect on the challenges you've faced this year and explore opportunities for improvement. It is equally (if not more) important to acknowledge what went well, how you've improved, and what new opportunities you've created for yourself.

What new skills have you built up in the last six months? What have you accomplished that you would not have expected to have completed six months ago? What new options have you created now because of your growth and hard work?

When you take stock of your accomplishments, you realize you can do a lot in a small slice of time. Now, you are primed to do even bigger things with the back half of your year!

If you didn’t create a http://www.artisancreative.com/artisan-blog/creating-your-2018-vision-board vision board in the beginning of the year, you can create one now for the remainder of 2018. Every day is a new opportunity to set our goals in motion. As Emily Dickenson says “Dwell in Possibilites”. The year isn’t half-way over, instead we have 6 months to start new initiatives.

At Artisan Creative, we embrace a growth mindset and we are thrilled to help you make the most of your hard work so far, and figure out where you want to go next. Contact us today to learn more.

 

We hope you've enjoyed the 477th issue of our a.blog. Contact us to learn more.

 


America’s Best Recruiting Firms 2018

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

America’s Best Recruiting Firms 2018

We are delighted to have made the Forbes’ list of “America’s Best Recruiting Firms 2018.”

At Artisan Creative, we believe that successful placements change lives. They provide our talent with opportunities for personal and professional growth, and our clients with the right team members to make a difference in their businesses.

We have loved every minute of our 22+ years in the creative staffing and recruitment space. A special thank you to our clients and talent who have shared this journey with us.

This couldn't have been accomplished without our amazing a.team, who over the years have demonstrated heart, grit, passion, commitment, tenacity, and dedication to create trusted relationships.

Here's to continuing to build a more creative world together.


Making Time vs. Having Time

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Making Time vs. Having Time

I realized I had been in a negative relationship with TIME, until now. I was always catching up, falling behind, stressed, and challenged with the ticking of the clock. Time was always running out, and I was always trying to slow it down. Time always had the upper hand, and I felt inferior.

I have read many articles, and listened to many lectures about time, and how we have limited time--only 525,600 minutes in a day or 8,760 hours in a year, etc. Comments such as either “manage time or it manages you” were my mantra for years. However, I was in a losing battle, as time was always managing me! No matter how many time management tools I used and how precise my calendar was, I was always chasing time.

A typical image of time management on any stock photo site shows frustrated, desperate, and frazzled individuals. That used to be me as well until I read Gay Hendricks’ book The Big Leap.

That’s when I decided I'd had enough. No more being the victim of time.  It was time to change my negative relationship with time!

In his book, Hendricks describes the concept of Newtonian time vs. Einstein time.

Newtonian time is the concept of time where time is finite, and it will run out. We either have time or we don’t. This is very much the notion of time most prevalent in society and in business. He says “ The Newtonian paradigm assumes that there’s a scarcity of time, which leads to an uncomfortable feeling on time urgency inside us.”

Einstein time, as Hendricks explains, is the notion that we are time…and we make time. We make time for things that are important, that have meaning or that we must focus on. He says “Take ownership of time, and it will stop owning you”.

He suggests going on a time diet, which I have been practicing as of late.

This move requires a complete end to complaining about time and moving away from the victim mindset as it pertains to time. Start by paying attention to how often you are playing time-catch-up and saying the following:

  • Where did time go?
  • There simply isn’t enough hours in a day
  • I don’t have time right now to…..
  • I wish I had time to…..

Eliminate the above phrases from your daily conversation. Time is not a pressure from outside as Hendrick states..it's one that we place on ourselves.

Instead, focus on what you want to focus on, and do what you love to do. Focus on your passions, and your creativity and your loved ones and the career you love.

It’s a notion that is simple to grasp—perhaps not as easy to do unless we shift our perception of time entirely.

I now spend each day with an intention and focus to make time for what is a priority for me. If I veer off course, I come back to my intention. My colleague Jen introduced me to the concept of saying a time-mantra “I Am Now” as in "I am now doing xyz". This time mindfulness has allowed me to make time.

And I discovered that by making time for what I love doing, I have more time for everything else.

Happy time-making!

~ Katty Douraghy

We hope you've enjoyed the 475th issue of our a.blogContact us to learn more.


Creating Inspiring Presentations

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Creating Inspiring Presentations

In a good presentation, you are presenting useful and important ideas. In a great presentation, you are inviting your audience to join in, creating engagement and interaction.

There are various techniques that will help you set the stage for a more effective presentation. In short, best practices are a) understand how human thought and behavior work, and b) take concrete measures to let these things work for your presentation, rather than against it.

But what should your presentation be? What should the content consist of? And how should it convey its core ideas to its audience?

Know Your Big Ideas

Before you begin to structure your presentation, you should distill it down to a few important ideas. If you can't break it down into a few core concepts, then it probably lacks a coherent message. Applying more thought and effort to the central thesis of your presentation will give it the beating heart that it needs to come alive.

Script It Out

Write out everything you plan to say, more or less verbatim.

First, create a rough draft. Although it may not be great, yet, you need to start somewhere, and your rough draft is that place. (Creativity coach Beth Lapides refers to the first draft as, "something to put a coffee ring on.” That’s all it needs to be.)

Then, edit, with vigor and ruthlessness. You can nitpick and fuss over your precise choice of words, to ensure your language is as economical and compelling as it can be.

This process can sometimes take a good amount of time. When you know your presentation is strong, it can be wise to quit while you're ahead. Some presentations that sing on the 16th draft can turn flat on the 23rd. With time and experience, you will get better at knowing when your presentation is as good as it needs to be.

Create Your World

This is the step that often separates a great presentation from a good one.

Now that you know exactly what you want to say, translate those words and ideas into pictures, sounds, and feelings.

Then... forget the words.

Think of your presentation not as a static inventory of words and sentences you want to say, but as a three-dimensional word composed of pictures, sounds, and feelings. When you rehearse your presentation, practice living in this world. Keep practicing until you are comfortable and familiar with this world, able to explain your surroundings to others. (Comedian Greg Dean has a "rehearsal process" you can borrow.)

When it's time to present, think of it as an opportunity to invite your guests into your world and show them around.

If you are not comfortable public speaking or presenting to a large group there are great resources to utilize to get you comfortable. Toastmasters is an international resource with chapters in many cities

When you live in the world you want to explain, you will have a far more powerful ability to transmit your ideas - and their emotional impact - to others.

At Artisan Creative, we believe in taking your work to the next level. Because if you're reading this, you're obviously ready to go "from good to great," as a creative professional. Contact us today to take the next step.

We hope you enjoy the 474th issue of our a.blog.


Films that Inspire Creativity

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Films that Inspire Creativity

Whatever your creative field may be, you can enrich your work when you lose yourself in a great film, be inspired and, uncover new ideas.

If you want to broaden your own creative palate, or simply try on a different way of looking at the human condition, here are eleven films we recommend for creative inspiration. Our list is a mix of classics and documentaries, with a focus on magnificent visual sensibilities and rich cultural context. Some are specifically about design, but all should give any creative professional something to think about.

Objectified (2009)

This feature-length documentary explores the way people interact with objects. It's considered essential viewing by many interaction designers, product designers, and others in similar fields.

Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003)

Based on the academic work of Thom Andersen, this highly innovative documentary examines the city of Los Angeles as a prominent but often neglected character in film, and its complex cultural relationship with the entertainment industry.

Persona (1966)

One of the best-known works of Ingmar Bergman, and one of the most analyzed films of all time, this tapestry of metaphors raises fascinating questions about identity, duality, and how we relate to each other. It's also widely recognized as one of the most visually stunning films of its time.

Sunrise (1927)

This monochromatic tale of one man's psychic battles is noted for its beautiful sets and lightning, sweeping camerawork, and pioneering visual storytelling and allegory.

Vertigo (1958)

This thriller combines Alfred Hitchcock's understated visual style with philosophical musings and the symbolism of Freudian psychoanalysis, making it one of his most imaginative and creatively stimulating films.

Minimalism (2015)

After suffering from a panic attack on air, TV news anchor Dan Harris began practicing mindfulness meditation and undertook a quest to simplify his mind and his life. This film asks its viewers to consider how they might do more with less.

Marwencol (2010)

This documentary visits the world of Mark Hogancamp, a genuine "outsider artist" who copes with his trauma by constructing a tiny town in his backyard. It's a fascinating exploration of the relationship between suffering and creativity, and the alchemy of turning pain into art.

American Movie (1999)

American Movie follows a low-budget horror filmmaker in small-town Wisconsin. Mark Borchardt and his group of charismatic and creative misfits provide a rousing case study in making the most of the resources you have, putting your heart and soul into your work, and overcoming all obstacles to ship your dream project.

Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)

A wild and controversial romp with the street artist Banksy, this prankish documentary raises mind-bending questions about authenticity, artistic ethics, and what happens when provocative mischief, astute social commentary, and consensus reality collide.

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

Many designers admire Wes Anderson for his unique, storybook aesthetic sensibility and his deft use of symmetry. Moonrise Kingdom captures his sparkling characterization and microscopic attention to detail.

Helvetica (2007)

One of the best-known documentaries about advertising, Helvetica looks at the aesthetic and influence of the 20th Century's most ubiquitous typeface, and what its enduring popularity says about our shared visual culture.

Bonus: Netflix Abstract: The Art of Design. Episodic documentary covering a variety of creatives from a stage designer, to a graphic designer, shoe designer and much more.

Try one you haven't seen yet, let us know what you think, and let us know what other galvanizing movies you would add to the list.

At Artisan Creative, we believe great creative inspiration is priceless. Contact us today to talk about how we can help you take your creative work to the next level.

We hope you enjoy the 473rd issue of our a.blog.


Using Video to Impact Your Brand

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Using Video to Impact Your Brand

Whether you're a small business or an enterprise-level company, there's one thing you can do that's just as important as attracting new clients and customers, and that's attracting top talent. Just as you can use the tools of the internet and social media to communicate your value proposition to potential buyers, you can use them just as well to showcase your brand's culture and story for potential new hires, the people whose skills and hustle you need to succeed into the future.

A full 82% of Fortune 500 executives don't believe their companies recruit highly talented people. Attracting top talent gives you a serious competitive advantage. To make an unforgettable first impression, make full use of online video.

You don't need a Hollywood backlot to create video content that engages highly skilled job seekers. Just keep these tips in mind, and to make your brand a star.

Be Transparent, Be Authentic

Honesty and authenticity work wonders on the internet. Take pride in who you are and what you do. Videos that feature members of your company team will strike a more authentic chord than those with actors or special effects. If you can, shoot in your own offices and facilities, and provide a visual sense of what a day at your company is really like. If you present your company culture in a way that's fun, true, and realistic, you will attract talent that will be excited to work with you and appreciate the things that make it special.

Approach Potential Hires as Potential Customers

According to Glassdoor, more and more job-seekers are taking a consumer approach to the job hunt, treating it more like comparison shopping. 70% read company reviews before they apply, and most look at multiple competing opportunities before zooming in on one. Therefore, in order for your video to stand out from the competition, it must address the hopes and ambitions of your ideal candidate with empathy and enthusiasm. When planning your video or writing your script, be specific - not every job-seeker will be right for your team or vice versa. Craft your pitch for the ones who are.

Tell Your Story

In order to communicate your brand value, be clear on your mission, your culture, and what sets you apart. Your core principles set the foundation for any message your video will communicate. When you are clear on these, ask yourself, "how can we present our story in an intriguing and memorable way?" Does your company or its founder have a relatable story of risk or overcoming adversity? How are you changing the world? Determine how to tell your story visually, in a way that will stick, and then familiarize yourself with some of the insider tips and best practices of video storytelling.

Be Creative

Be willing to experiment with a fresh, out-of-the-box approach to your video. Check out some of the innovative, reasonably priced tools that are available, and brainstorm different approaches until you decide on the one that best suits your message.

At Artisan Creative, attracting top talent and matching them with career-making opportunities is our mission. Contact us today and discover new ways to elevate your recruiting and put your brand in the limelight.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 472nd issue of our a.blog.

 

 



Working with Non-Millennials

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Working with Non-Millennials

In the last few decades technology has changed the world of business rapidly and profoundly. This rate of change continues to accelerate. To overcome the widening gap in knowledge and to be able to collaborate more effectively, it is essential for members of different generations to understand each other in a spirit of teamwork, empathy, and mutual respect.

With their range of experiences, Baby Boomers, Generation X-ers, and Millennials can often generate more useful and exciting ideas together. Cross-generational diversity and cross-collaboration can become a great organizational strength and lead to expanded creatvity and new solutions to solving challenges.

We've explored some of the cultural attitudes that make members of the Millennial generation unique and valuable coworkers. Today, we'll share tips for Millennials who strive to work more effectively with seasoned teammates.

Respect Their Independence and Set Expectations

Members of Generation X, in particular, are often distinguished by a rebellious, skeptical, and iconoclastic spirit. They grew up mostly before the advent of smartphone communications and always-on social networking. Compared to Millennials, they tend to be motivated less by community and more by a sense of individuality, as do many Boomers.

"When working with an X-er, don’t be surprised or offended if they choose to work alone," writes Mira Zaslove in Fortune . She adds, "X-ers tend to be hands-off, low face-time managers. So when working for an X-er, ask them to clearly define their expectations. When you do receive a compliment from an X-er, you’ve done a great job."

Help Them Understand New Technologies and Trends

Many Millennial workers are digital natives, having had access to fast paced technologies and the internet their entire lives. Thus, it may be difficult for them to appreciate how wondrous and strange these innovations can seem to those who did not always have them, or who witnessed their rapid proliferation firsthand from the 1980s through today.

When working with colleagues on new technology, "never say, 'This is so easy,'" writes Ann Friedman of The Los Angeles Times . "Recognize that baby boomers have a lot of fear and anger about technology, and tread gently."

It is important to appreciate how glorious our new technological breakthroughs really are. Demonstrating the utility of a new application or device to someone who doesn't regularly use it may even renew your own sense of delight.

It All Comes Down to Communication

When communication is optimized, almost any group of people can come together to pursue shared goals. Working to achieve that understanding is how we mine the greatest value from our work and our lives.

Appreciating and working with our differences requires well-honed active listening skills, along with an appreciation for different learning styles and preferences in communication and collaboration.

When we respect our shared and individual goals and work together to continuously improve our company cultures, our differences make us much stronger through our diverstiy.

At Artisan Creative, our experience has shown us how great teams are built among individuals from all walks of life. Contact us today to take your career or your business to the next level.

We hope you enjoy our 471th a.blog.

 




Search

Recent Posts


Tags


Archive