Artisan Blog

A Guide To Creating Mood Boards

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

A Guide To Creating Mood Boards

For designers, digital storytellers, project managers, or anyone in the business of creating, mood boards are a useful way to brainstorm, showcase specific design concepts, or communicate the bigger ideas around a project.

Never made a mood board? Give it a go! Even if you don’t consider yourself a designer - you may find that honing your ability to organize images enhances your power as a communicator. If you’ve hit a stuck point at work, or need a jolt of aesthetic inspiration, making a mood board is an inspiring way to drill down to basics, rediscover what matters, and shake out some new ideas.

When creating a mood board, keep this advice in mind.

Think Like a Collector

Whether you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed or taking a walk in your city, take in your environment through the lens of an image curator. Smartphone cameras, bookmarking tools, and screen capturing software make it so easy to create ad hoc scrapbooks of the colors, patterns, and other sights that catch your fancy as you go about your daily travels.

Center One Big Idea

To make your mood board more cohesive, start with one large image, place it near the middle (or in some way that indicates its prominence), and arrange other images around it. Some of the best mood boards also function as visually rich mind maps.

Be Obvious

If your mood board is for your eyes only (such as a vision board to help you set personal goals), it’s not so important that it be easy for others to understand. However, if you’re sharing your mood board with colleagues, collaborators, or especially clients, be ready to answer any questions they might have before they have them. That means it’s okay to use well-known “classic” images, or even use text to drive home important ideas.

Go For Emotional Resonance

Be cognizant of color theory, Gestalt theory, and best practices around typefaces and other design decisions. Make sure your smaller choices are in service to the larger emotional sweep of your mood board. The goal is to create an emotional response to give your ideas the power of strong feelings.

Experiment With Different Sorts of Images

As long as your mood board makes sense as a whole, there’s no reason to limit yourself to photographs, illustrations, and other common images. Experiment with text, maps, diagrams to create striking visual metaphors, and anything else that may help you get your points across.

Experiment With Formats

There is power in the unexpected. Tools such as Pinterest now make it wonderfully easy for almost anyone to generate a mood board. That means that, if you want to go offline, break out your glue sticks, and do some old-fashioned collaging, you can make an even bigger splash at presentation time.

Presentation Is Everything

Whenever possible, always present your mood boards in person. This gives you the opportunity to showcase your work as you want it to be understood, to clear up any confusion, to receive feedback (an opportunity to improve and clarify your work), and to transmit the personality and flavor behind your mood board. Presentation skills are important, so whatever you do, seek as many opportunities as you can get to become a more agile and effective presenter.

For practice, try communicating your personal brand through the medium of a mood board, and then present it to a sympathetic colleague or your creative recruiter.

Mood boards are just one of our favorite techniques for honing ideas and building a brand, a company, or a creative career you will love.

Contact us today to discover many more and see what Artisan Creative’s knowledge, experience, and inspiration can do for you.

We hope you've enjoyed our 510th a.blog.

 


14 Apps We Love

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

14 Apps We Love

Your phone is what you make of it. With the right apps installed, it can be a trusted colleague and collaborator, a tool for boosting your productivity, enhancing your creativity, and making your life more interesting.

It’s a good idea to, every so often, go through your apps, delete the ones that don’t spark curiosity, creativity, or productivity and replace them with new ones that help you crush your commute and get more juice from your screen time.

As our Valentine’s Day gift to you, here’s a bouquet of apps that focus us at work, help us relax at home, and generally delight us. Try a new one and let us know what you think!

Notebook [ iOS | Android]

The right note-taking app helps you to, in the words of business guru Tiago Forte, “build a second brain.” We love Zoho’s Notebook for its attractive interface and intuitive card-based system of organization.

Otter [iOS | Android]

For those of us who love to think out loud, Otter’s well-organized voice recorder is essential for catching elusive ideas, immortalizing snippets of rambling conversations, or launching when you wake up to make sure you remember that breakthrough idea you had in a dream last night.

Hopper [iOS | Android]

Travel indubitably broadens the mind, and its logistics can take their toll on one’s patience. With this brilliant flight-booking app, you can save your extra heartbeats for all the new vistas you’ll explore.

Buddhify [iOS | Android]

There’s a gold rush in meditation and mindfulness apps. This one stands out by virtue of its grounding in Rohan Gunatillake’s mindful design principles. Buddhify is flat-out beautiful, with a rich and playful UX that makes it ideal for beginners or anyone who feels a bit lost in establishing a practice.

VSCO [iOS | Android]

VSCO is for anyone who loves the creative side of photography and image manipulation, especially those who want to take their Instagram feeds to the next level. Its filtering tools can help almost anyone post high-quality digital images. Professional designers and photogs swear by it.

Snapseed [iOS | Android]

Here’s another essential image-editing tool for anyone who wants to keep alive the aesthetic principles of great photography in the era of social media. If you wonder how your favorite influencers always make their lemon wedges look so juicy and crisp, this might be your answer.

Chess - Play and Learn [iOS | Android]

Make a playdate with your inner strategist. Whether you’re a beginner or a master, the sleek design of this app makes it easy to love this timeless game of intellect.

Pocket [iOS | Android]

From long reads to listicles, Pocket makes it easy to stay caught up with all the great written content you may find around the web. Robust tagging enables you to organize your library, and the vastly improved text-to-speech capabilities mean you can catch up on your “reading” while you commute, work out, or do the dishes.

Stoop [iOS | Android]

Email newsletter subscriptions are a wonderful way to immerse yourself in niche subjects or to get informed on a broad range of current events. With Stoop, you can now organize and keep up with all your favorite newsletters without overwhelming your inbox.

Zoom [iOS | Android]

Zoom is one of the most innovative video meeting and conference-room apps. It gets special mention here for its addition of “driving mode,” which may actually save on car repair bills.

Pocket Casts [iOS | Android]

Podcasting keeps getting better. Take advantage of the booming audio renaissance with this robust platform for podcasts. It has one of the most user-friendly interfaces for an app of its kind, allowing for better discovery and a more engaged listening experience.

Brain.fm [iOS | Android]

If you use music as a tool to relax, to focus, or to get things done, this unusual audio app may be the one you’ve been waiting for. With settings for “deep work,” meditation, sleep, and more, it lets you choose the state of mind you want and selects music tracks to match. It began as a cult favorite among coders, and now the secret is out.

7 Cups [iOS | Android]

In a time of increasing awareness of the tolls of depression, anxiety, and mental illness, not everyone has easy access to therapy. This revolutionary self-help app connects users with trained “listeners,” along with motivational exercises and a supportive community. 7 Cups may be a big clue to what the future of therapy may look like.

Moment [iOS | Android]

If you’re worried you may be spending too much time on your phone, or you want to encourage your kids to learn to better manage their screen time, the “gentle and compassionate” Moment app can help regain some digital agency. It gives you an inventory of how you engage with your device throughout the day and, if you don’t like the results, provides coaching to help you take more mindful charge of your eyeballs.

At Artisan Creative, we believe life and work are interrelated and we take a holistic approach to help teams and careers exceed expectations. Contact us today to start the conversation.

 


Practicing Design Thinking

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Practicing Design Thinking

Whenever dealing with difficult challenges, applying design thinking concepts can achieve interesting results.

The ideas, strategies, and methods associated with design thinking are not exclusive to the field of design. They're continuously being used to tackle crucial issues throughout society, from urban planning, to voter turnout, to climate change. Engineers, educators, and activists all make use of design thinking concepts and principles in their work, especially when they encounter problems for which older modes of thought have proven inadequate.

Here is a quick guide to some key concepts that foster design thinking. This should give your team what it needs to get started using design thinking to gain fresh perspectives on new or established challenges.

Observe the Core Principles

As laid out by Christoph Meinel and Larry Leifer of the HPI-Stanford Design Thinking Program, the driving principles are:

The Human Rule: All meaningful activity is a social activity. Always center on the humans.

The Ambiguity Rule: Test the limits of your own knowledge. Get out of your comfort zone. Dare to see things differently. Fall in love with the questions.

The Redesign Rule: There is nothing new under the sun, yet the context is ever-shifting. You're always using existing resources to address unchanged human needs in ways that are appropriate for new technologies, capabilities, and situations.

The Tangibility Rule: To facilitate better communication, make your ideas tangible, rendered in pictures, sounds, feelings, and working prototypes.

Respect the Process

Rikke Dam and Teo Siang of the Interaction Design Foundation break down the design thinking process into five steps. The steps often repeat themselves, sometimes overlap, and do not always occur in sequence. What they do, is serve as a rough guide.

Empathize: Design thinking is human-centered thinking, and always starts with the real needs and behaviors of the user.

Define: When you've usefully defined and formatted your problem, you've gone a great distance toward solving it.

Ideate: Generate ideas through collaborative brainstorming. Adopt the attitude that, if you eliminate creative blocks and properly value ideas, you'll never run out of them.

Prototype: Create a working model. Put your idea out in the world where users can interact with it in a tangible form.

Test: Let experts and non-experts evaluate and use your idea. Collect your results, organize them in a useful and actionable way, and use what you've learned to make your idea stronger.

Focus on Solutions

Design thinking frames problems as creative challenges and concerns itself with generating fresh, sometimes novel, always useful and compassionate solutions. It calls for respecting your users, collaborators, and stakeholders, and a willingness to entertain notions that may beckon you outside your comfort zone. It values criticism as long as it's constructive and encourages positive, optimistic engagement with the world as it is, with a vision of how it can enable people to work and live more effectively together.

Whatever you're doing, give design thinking a try, and let us know what you discover through experimenting with this new mindset.

We have decades of experience in helping people work together. Contact Artisan today to share our tools, surpass your goals, and work smarter.

 

We hope you've enjoyed the 498th issue of our a.blog.

 

 


Find Your Passion

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Find Your Passion

#ArtisanAdvice -Find Your Passion 

Joni is a self-taught designer with a natural curiosity and gung-ho attitude toward picking up new hobbies and monetizing passions. In several years she has launched a food blog, a granola company, became a certified holistic health coach, and launched a baked goods and flower collective. We spoke to her to find out how she went from public health and art major to successful designer without any formal design training.

Joni began playing around with the idea of a design career after graduating from Berkeley. She studied design tutorials via CDs (remember those days?) and YouTube. She loved learning and figured she had a good shot of doing design full-time. This is when Craigslist was a hotbed of job postings for kickstarting careers and Joni landed a full-time role at a design studio where she cut her teeth on the whole gamut of the design process. So what should you do if you find yourself in a similar situation? And where should you even begin?

With literally thousands of hobbies out there it can be tough to know where to even begin to find your passion. Try to be curious about everything around you and find things to do outside of work. Joni likes to be active and pack in as many activities as she can. “When you get to a certain point [in your career] there’s always a way to make it more legitimate. I tried to monetize a lot of hobbies and quickly realized some should always stay as exactly that -- just hobbies.” When it comes to design, Adobe is great about providing free tutorials. And remember, you don’t have to be the best but as long as you’re scratching the itch that’s all that matters at the start.

Give Yourself a Creative Outlet

Joni worked hard at giving herself a broad skill-set, “You don’t want to be one dimensional when you work in the creative industry. It’s important to have additional places to be creative outside of your job.” In Joni’s case, she loves interacting with people and learning about new topics and industries-- be it a blog or sketchbook, find a creative avenue and see where it takes you.

Nurture Relationships

So you’ve reached the point where you’ve found your passion, you’ve got the skills so now what? Work won’t find its way to you without you putting yourself out there. “I’ve always been successful with word-of-mouth business. Friends’ businesses or friends of friends are referred to me and as long as your social network knows what you do and what you’re interested in, people will come to you.” No doubt there will be times when you are pushed out of your comfort zone and here’s when you have to fake it until you make it. It’s a cliché term, but when it comes to gaining confidence it truly works. And what if you’re nervous about putting your work out there? Don’t be, Joni reassures, “The moment you get over your shyness about showing work it opens so many doors. Take your ego out of criticism and people will come to you to seek your services."

 

We hope you've enjoyed the 495th issue of our a.blog.

 



How to Find a Mentor

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

How to Find a Mentor

 

Finding the right coach or mentor can take your creative or business career to the next level. In work and in life, no matter what stage you may find yourself in, you can always gain tremendous value by seeking guidance, wisdom, and aid from masters, teachers, or anyone with a unique perspective on your field.

It’s important to always be seeking the help of mentors and coaches. The biggest question is how do you find them? Lots of people are willing and able to help the right mentee - you just have to locate and approach them in ways that will show them the benefit of mentoring you, and the difference you’re going to make once you are committed to learning from them.

When looking for new coaches and mentors, or strengthening connections with those who have enriched your mind and soul in the past, it pays to keep these key principles in mind.

Bring Value

Before you seek out a mentor or coach, be able to show them what you can accomplish on your own. As much as people may believe in your potential, once you give them solid proof that you're on your way and you're willing to work toward your goals, you make it easier for them to support you.

Build your portfolio and resume. Do projects you love (even if they don’t come with high pay or a high profile). When you encounter a possible mentor, your body of work is your best introduction. Have something you’re proud to show.

Build Your Community

To receive support from others, constantly looking for new ways to support yourself and those around you. Building strong networks and communities is its own reward. The more you put yourself out there as a helpful, collaborative spirit, the more others will want to be part of your cause, including those who can provide valuable coaching and mentorship.

To gain mentorship, be a mentor to others. "Your legacy is not what you do," says writer and investor James Altucher. "It’s what the people you teach do." When you give more than you expect to get, the rewards can be far greater than you ever dared to anticipate.

Seek Out a Variety of Mentors

Intelligence and strength come in a rainbow of flavors. Julia Fawal lists five distinct types of mentors with whom you should cultivate close relationships. It includes not just masters and higher-ups, it also includes friends and coworkers you see every day.

Everyone has a different piece of the puzzle. Your most valuable mentorship may not come from a glamorous boss or a wizened shaman on a mountaintop, it may simply come from someone who sits next to you on mass transit.

Be Resilient

"The best mentorships I’ve had have taken a lot of time to cement," says Altucher. While some of your best coachings may come from a three-hour class, you must also have the patience, and put in the time, to build relationships with mentors that stay strong for years and decades.

This requires staying in touch, providing continuous value, and developing the relationship over time. Be adaptable to change when you want to keep relationships going through challenging times and circumstances and be willing to walk away from those that have run their course.

Be Humble

"A mind is like a parachute," said the musician Frank Zappa. "It doesn't work if it isn't open." Socrates, one of the wisest philosophers who ever lived said, "All I know is that I know nothing."

The most important rule in receiving help from the world is always to make yourself available for it. This requires questioning your judgments and assumptions. Know that wisdom is infinite, and the more you experience, the more you will realize you still have to learn.

Challenge yourself. Live on the outer edges of your comfort zone. Take a Socratic approach to work, life, and your own self-concept. When you make yourself open to new information, you make it easy for those with more wisdom and expertise to guide you into new ways of knowing.

At Artisan Creative, we pride ourselves on the guidance, connections, and stewardship we provide to creative professionals at all stages of their careers and their lives. Contact us today to learn more.

 

We hope you've enjoyed the 494th issue of our a.blog


New Hire Onboarding Best Practices

Thursday, September 20, 2018

New Hire Onboarding Best Practices

Today, creating and maintaining a great company culture is top of mind for many firms, and is one the highest reasons for candidates to select one company over the other.

Developing a strong onboarding plan is one way to communicate company culture with new hires and potential candidates. However, some companies mistake orientation with onboarding. While they are clearly linked, they serve different purposes and are two sides of the same coin.

Onboarding vs. Orientation and Training

Most companies have an orientation system and training in place to help candidates learn the nuances of their specific roles and meet team members during the first week.

Onboarding is an on-going plan that continues long after the initial orientation period has ended. It’s intended to help a candidate’s long-term success to continually grow in their role.

An additional component of a successful onboarding plan is to give your new hire the chance to talk to their manager about opportunities, challenges, or concerns they might have at the 3 and 6-month points in their new role. Creating an open dialog allows for a safe space to discuss the job from their experience, and share lessons learned and best practices to make them more productive.

Often, unless given an opportunity, a new employee will keep to themselves, fly under the radar, when in actuality proactive communication could improve the situation for everyone involved.

It is also a good opportunity to communicate company expectations, vision and core values, and create clarity around setting short and long-term goals and understanding as to how and when they will be evaluated.

Tips for Onboarding:

  • Develop a real plan--Don't assume that new employees will find a way to get what they need or want. Make a schedule to meet with new hires at regular intervals and stick to it.
  • Tell them about it--Make sure your new hires know that they will have chances to talk with you about how things are going for them. Ask them to complie a list of  questions to discuss together during your meeting.
  • Follow through--Don't let your onboarding plan fall through the cracks if a new hire is doing well. Even if it’s just get together to share how great it's been so far, you can take the opportunity to let your employee know that they are valued and that you recognize that they are doing well at this early stage.

 

New hires need to know how they’re doing, how they are contributing to the team's success, and that they’ve made the right decision to join your company.  Give all your new hires a chance to feel great about their role and you will reap the rewards of a happy and productive workforce.

 

At Artisan Creative, we believe creating a strong culture helps with hiring and retention.  Contact us today to learn more.

We hope you've enjoyed the 489th issue of our a.blog.




Employee Ghosting and the Value of Respect

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Employee Ghosting and the Value of Respect

Which one of these do you feel is harder: to be rejected outright, or to be simply ignored? Today, many employers are facing this question almost on a daily basis.
 
In dating and romantic relationships, the practice of one partner ignoring another - not responding to texts and treating all attempts at communication with radio silence - is known as "ghosting." Similar practices are steadily creeping into the business world, with a wave of talent and prospective employees not showing up for scheduled interviews and agreed-upon start dates, or even for jobs they've already committed themselves to. Ghosting is giving hiring managers and employers a scare.
 
How We Got Here
The United States is in an era of low unemployment and sustained economic growth. As the demand for new talent outpaces supply, employers have struggled to find the right people for all of their open opportunities. Talent and employees thus have much more power than they did during the Great Recession when many lost their jobs with little fanfare and interviewers often ignored candidates they didn't want to hire. The new reverse imbalance manifests in cavalier employee behavior such as unannounced absenteeism and a failure to communicate.
 
According to USA Today, as many as 20% of workers in some industries now engage in ghosting practices. This trend is negatively impacting large and small businesses, along with their customers. On the other hand, it's inspiring conversations about how workers and employers can treat each other better, to foster more healthy and successful relationships down the line.
 
In order to facilitate mutual growth, the culture of work requires trust, respect, and core values to be shared between employers and employees. As any discerning politician can tell you, it is foolish to pin one's fate to shifting, unpredictable trends in economics. We advocate that employers, employees, clients, and talent use the advent of ghosting as an opportunity to get reacquainted with the core values that can sustain them through booms and busts.
 
Communication
As a talent, it’s ok to reject opportunities that aren't right for you, however, do it in a manner that respects the offer and lets any relevant stakeholders know. Honest compassionate communication always makes the truth easier to convey, and with an appropriate heads-up, everyone should be able to move on more smoothly. When leaving your current job, give two weeks' notice when possible, and offer to tie up any loose ends in your work to facilitate an easy transition.
 
As a hiring manager, when you decide not to hire a candidate after an interview, let the candidate know. If you can, provide some constructive feedback, even if it may not be what the candidate wants to hear. It can be difficult to deliver bad news, however, it's worth it if it means supporting a culture of openness and mutual respect. It is also important to acknowledge that it's a candidate driven market, and many candidates are experiencing multiple interviews. Providing timely feedback is key, especially if you are interested in the next steps with a candidate.
 
Transparency
When we give accurate information to others, we empower them to make better-informed decisions in the future. We also invest in the strength of our own reputations, because everyone appreciates those who deliver the truth with respect and understanding.
 
As your circumstances change, make sure everyone around you knows what they need to know to prepare for any impact this may have. As a talent, this means letting your employers or recruiters know if you are available. As an employer, it means keeping your team informed about the state of the company and letting them know you're all on the same side.
 
The world is small, and life is long. As technology makes us all more closely interconnected, our reputations, previous actions, and patterns of behavior are more likely to open or close new opportunities for us. If you must exit a difficult situation, and you do so with grace and full disclosure, you will more likely find support from your former colleagues when circumstances change and may be less in your favor.
 
At Artisan Creative, we believe a culture of respect is paramount in all human endeavors. We give our talent and clients the tools and support they need to succeed when they lead with their values. Contact us today to learn more.
We hope you've enjoyed the 488th issue of our a.blog.


Turning Your Passion Into a Career

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Turning Your Passion Into a Career

How do you turn your passion into a career? People are often advised to follow their dreams and passions, but let’s face it--turning a passion into a career is easier said than done.

In the first blog of our new feature, Artisan Advice, we spoke with Basir, a writer we recently placed at our client’s Texas location. Basir is one of the few who turned his passion into a career.

When Basir was young, he voraciously read automotive blogs and publications. He dreamt of being an auto journalist and reviewing cars but ended up pursuing business and marketing--that is until he took a 180-degree turn and decided to chase his passion.

He’s since worked for the likes of the BBC and TIME in New York, startups in San Francisco and now as a writer working on automotive with our client. So how did he manage to achieve his dreams and what did it take to get there?

Find a Mentor

As a fresh graduate, Basir landed a writing job at the BBC. Their past interns were mostly journalism majors and lacked the same thing--automotive knowledge. Basir’s deep knowledge of the automotive industry impressed the Editor in Chief so much he hired him without any writing experience. Thanks to the Editor’s faith, Basir learned firsthand the skills needed to write well. Many people we’ve spoken to have shared similar experiences with us. Do you have a mentor or a former supervisor who has taken a chance on you?

Start Your Own Blog

Starting your own blog is solid advice, especially when you need to bolster your portfolio or submit some samples to an application. Think about what topics you’re passionate about and start a Medium or Wordpress site. “Your blog doesn’t have to be the next big thing, but when it’s time to apply to gigs you can send your samples. It develops your skills, too. Not only that, but clients can see how serious you are.” In Basir’s case, it’s clear that clients will take a chance if they see potential, but you need to prove yourself, too. A blog is a great way to quickly convey your interest and passion before you even get to the interview stage.

Know Your Value When You Lose Inspiration

How do you place a value on something you write or design and how do you know if it was a success? If you’re feeling like you’re stuck in a creative rut, take a look back at some of your successes and see how many times your article was viewed or shared. Seeing the fruits of your labor and results can help you to feel inspired again.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 482nd issue of our a.blog.  Get in touch today and start the conversation!


Personality Assessments and the Hiring Process

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Personality Assessments and the Hiring Process

"When you meet somebody for the first time, you're not meeting them. You're meeting their representative." - Chris Rock

Businesses struggle every day to hire and retain top talent. Making professional matches is as much an art as it is a science, and even the strongest minds in HR, recruiting, and management must sometimes learn from mistakes.

In their quest to find the best candidates, many top companies use a variety of personality and integrity tests to screen applicants during their interview processes. There's an ongoing debate around this practice, with strong arguments and research supporting either side. Should you consider implementing this sort of testing for potential new hires, it's important to know the pros and cons.

Pros

- You're in good company. According to a recent survey, more than 40% of Fortune 100 companies use some form of personality testing as part of their recruiting and onboarding procedures.

- It can get results. Studies have shown that retail businesses who used integrity testing in hiring reported a 50% reduction in inventory loss. Long-term results for some other forms of testing are less clear, but anything that weeds out clearly unqualified applicants obviously saves time for HR, and money for the company.

- It can eliminate biases. Individual interviewers may be biased toward candidates they personally like, or, worse, make decisions based on unconscious cultural biases. By establishing measurements that are more objective, at least theoretically, testing can correct for this tendency.

- It can be fun. Startups such as Knack offer gamified versions of some employment-related tests, which can infuse a spirit of play into your hiring process. Some companies also test current employees after they're hired, which can be a part of an employer-employee feedback loop that improves conditions at work.

-It's a good communication tool.  Learning more about ourselves and our colleagues is a great step towards better communication and connection.

Cons

- Tests themselves can be biased. Tests reflect the values and biases of their creators. Interpreting results requires training and judgment. Placing value on certain personality traits will always be controversial. Proceed with caution, research, and awareness.

- Potential new hires can "game" the tests. The main thing a test measures is how adept the subject is at taking the test. People who are determined to get hired, despite any reasons why they shouldn't, can find ways to manipulate their results.

-Testing can entrench a fixed mindset. "Growth mindset" refers to the attitude that perceived weaknesses present opportunities for improvement. According psychology professor Art Markman, there is a significant risk in testing if it carries the message that skills and characteristics are innate or that people are fixed entities, hardwired from birth for success or failure. Employees deserve the chance to improve over time through their own initiative, which is easier if they don't think of themselves as fixed data points on a scale.

One tool that the Artisan Creative team uses as a group is the CliftonStrengths Assessment, where we use our top 5 strengths to communicate via a common language on a regular basis.

With decades of experience as creative recruiters, we know hiring is easier when you don't have to do it alone. Contact Artisan Creative today and leverage our expertise to make your next great match!

 

We hope you've enjoyed the 481st issue of our a.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.

 



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