This month marks a momentous occasion at Artisan Creative where we celebrate our senior account manager, Margaret Jung’s 25th year with our company.
In this day and age, it’s extremely rare to find such continued loyalty and passion; a quarter of a century is quite the feat.
For those of you who have been fortunate to meet Margaret, know that she enters every room with the biggest smile, the loudest hello, and usually with a handful of cupcakes (every time, without fail, they are always from Dots Cupcakes).
Working for a company whose values are aligned with hers, the opportunity to create a difference in people’s lives and to build long-lasting relationships is what motivates her. Her energy, enthusiasm, and drive come down to one phrase: creating relationships based on trust.
She is a consummate business development professional, highly knowledgeable in the world of creative and marketing recruitment, and has a first-rate understanding of the design marketplace.
We had an opportunity to sit down with Margaret and have a conversation about the past 25 years and the lessons learned to stay strong all these years.
Margaret believes we must:
- Stay positive
- Be open to change
- Be realistic
- Work with and hire the right people–it goes a long way
- Know you have a team to back you up
- Support your team
- Believe in the core values of your company and share the same philosophy with your team
- Be accountable to yourself and the team
- Be self-aware
- Know your capabilities
- Keep yourself motivated
- Have a boss who gives you constant encouragement and advice
- Lead by example
- Have the mindset of being your own boss (especially in a remote business model like Artisan Creative’s)
- Have good communication skills with both internal and external stakeholders
- Understand that things aren’t always black and white
- Compromise when needed
- Don’t be afraid of having difficult conversations
- Sometimes you need to just pick up the phone to get your point across (emails and/or text can get lost in translation)
- Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up…
- Control what you can control and what you can’t–move on
- First impressions are lasting impressions
- Stress can be managed. It’s not the end of the world
- Be true to yourself, know your limitations and stick with it
- Finally, life is so much better when you are laughing.
If you need help with recruitment to hire a position on your team, reach out to Margaret. You’ll see what we mean.
Thank you, Margaret, for an amazing 25 years. Here’s to creating even more impact and new relationships in 2020 and beyond.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the 557th issue of our a.blog.
As the events of this week have progressed and social distancing has become a real thing, it’s important to re-evaluate all our emergency plans and policies to ensure we are prepared as a business to stay healthy.
The safety and health of our team members, talent and clients are of the utmost importance. Many businesses are needing to make the transition to working from home quickly, and here at Artisan Creative, we have had the privilege of working remotely for the past 10 years.
I’d like to share the three key things I’ve learned as a leader that remote workers need.
TLC: Technology, Leadership, and Communication
The advent of technology makes the process of going remote so much easier than when we first ventured into this space 10 years ago. Tools such as Zoom and Slack can bring the team together fast to create cohesiveness and connection.
Trust is the key component of leadership. Knowing and believing that our teams know what they need to do, and have the capacity and know-how to do so. If not, it becomes our responsibility as leaders to train, set expectations and share tools for our teams to be successful in challenging times. In a time of crisis and uncertainty, our teams need us to trust them, remain solid and calm and create a plan of action.
There is a big difference between being solo and working at home, vs. being in a silo and working alone. Communication and collaboration are key components of setting a standard for achievement in a remote setting. The cadence of zoom meetings, slack channels and maintaining culture online are critical for a cohesive, productive team.
This past week, we held a webinar for several clients who wanted to learn more about our remote process. The recording is available here for download.
For many of the talent who are working remotely for the first time, rest assured there is an entire community of freelance talent who has tested and tried this format. If you have questions, reach out. Over the years we’ve written several blogs on this topic to help transition into this alternative way of working together.
Additional resources for both our clients and our talent can be found here.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the 556th issue of our a.blog.
In our quickly changing modern world of work, there is much more to success than raw, intellectual intelligence, or the mastery of facts and information. Much has been written on the importance of EQ, or emotional intelligence, and that it’s becoming ever more essential. Now there’s even more to the story.
The key to long-term thriving may be an ability to enthusiastically embrace change itself. AQ, or Adaptability Quotient, refers to this sort of resilience in the face of ever-changing circumstances. It’s vitally important, and it can be learned.
The Importance of AQ
According to recent research, the average U.S. employee spends 4.2 years in one job, which means they may have nine different jobs over the course of their standard-length career. Furthermore, they can expect up to 35% of the job skills needed to change over the course of just a few years. Clearly, change is a constant, and adaptability to this change is the one job requirement guaranteed to endure.
How to Improve AQ
The good news about AQ is that, compared to IQ, it is relatively fluid. Steps we take now can help us significantly improve our AQ over time.
To boost AQ, leadership consultant Mattson Newell recommends a four-step approach:
- See it: be aware of what’s going on and interpret it in a spirit of intellectual honesty
- Own it: take responsibility for mindfully adapting to ever-changing conditions
- Solve it: use your strategic capabilities to take useful and novel views of your situation
- Do it: adopt a posture of agency and action
Strategist Robert Cerone suggests we cultivate:
- An open mind: to avoid fixed ideas and continuously refresh our perspectives
- An open heart: to enrich our thinking by taking on the perspectives of others
- An open will: to release ego and identity and plunge willingly into new waters
Honing AQ is more than a job skill; it’s a way of life. You can boost AQ by adding an array of different elements and activities to your lifestyle – and have a lot of fun in the process.
Fast Company points to the example of Yangyang Chang, who has achieved success as an auditor at Ernst & Young, a teacher of Chinese language and culture, and an improvisational comedian (a skillset that may be particularly useful for building AQ – and having a great time doing all of these).
Indeed, the easiest way to get enthusiastic about change may be to build the most interesting life you can.
Those with the highest AQs don’t just accept change – it makes them stronger. The mathematician Nassim Nicholas Taleb writes about this concept of antifragility.
Several overlapping skills, mindsets, and practices can help us become antifragile, including choosing the right risks, seeing life and work as a laboratory, and grounding ourselves in tradition while preparing for the long game.
Start the Conversation
At Artisan Creative, we have a long track record of helping creative professionals and leaders move into the future prepared to get more from their lives and careers. Contact Artisan today to learn more.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the 555th issue of our a.blog.
International Women’s Day is coming up on March 8th and celebrates achievements by women in business and across all areas of society. IWD is also a chance for reflection, for focusing on and encouraging diversity implementation in the workplace, and to increase opportunities for mentorship and peer support among women in the business world.
Here are a few ways we plan to celebrate International Women’s Day this year.
We believe it is important to take this time to be grateful and inspired by the tremendous success and remarkable inroads that women have made into the realms of business and entrepreneurship. In the last decade, entrepreneurial women have worked both smart and hard to leverage the economic boom to launch numerous new ventures across multiple sectors.
According to recent research, women-owned business enterprises are now generating more than $1.6 trillion in revenue and employing over nine million people. This creates a more robust opportunity for women to support each other in the workplace. One that has never before existed in U.S. history.
Support Professional Women and Women-Owned Businesses
Artisan Creative is itself a women-owned business. Sharing our experiences and connections has provided us with many opportunities to enrich our community, especially when it comes to helping other women-owned businesses find their footing and utilize all the resources available to help facilitate their growth and success.
If you are interested in obtaining a Women Business Enterprise (WBE) certification, or in providing others with the specific steps they can take to get one, our own president, Katty Douraghy has shared the process in detail.
This is one example of the knowledge and experience that Artisan Creative shares with professional women and women-owned businesses.
Break Through Taboos and Challenge Social Norms
In the modern era, women are ascending to positions of global leadership at an unprecedented rate. However, even in this new and more empowered time, unique challenges remain for professional women on their path to success. So that we won’t have to face these challenges alone – let’s work towards creating a platform of support for professional and entrepreneurial women that can make things smoother for all of us.
The Emotional Financial Intelligence Coach Anne Beaulieu offers some advice and insights on “embracing the new normal” and supporting ourselves, and each other, in an era of new and exciting opportunity and change.
Discover What You Can Achieve
At Artisan Creative, we have a long track record of helping professional creatives and creative businesses understand and harness their unique strengths to open new avenues to success, become more involved in thriving and supportive communities, and get more from their careers, their ventures, and their lives.
As the world becomes more networked and the workplace becomes more collaborative, one of the most important professional skills to develop is emotional intelligence, also known as “EQ.”
EQ is associated with empathy, strength of character, and getting along well with others, whether on difficult projects, in virtual meetings, in brainstorming sessions, or in social situations. Speaker Jen Shirkani identifies emotional intelligence using her “Three R Method,” recognizing strengths and weaknesses, reading the room and the people in it, and responding appropriately and usefully to your circumstances.
This concept has been discussed since the 1990s, and has gained increasing prominence, with 71% of recruiters and hiring managers claiming to value EQ over raw intelligence (as measured by IQ).
It’s the “It” Factor
Because emotional intelligence is hard to quantify, it represents many of the “intangible” qualities sought by creative recruiters and hiring managers and is also highly valued by coworkers, clients, and collaborators. It manifests as empathy, charm, tact, or a “gift of gab” that allows you to bring people together, make others feel valued and understood, and build consensus around your ideas. Indeed, it’s one defining quality of work that cannot be automated or outsourced to AI, as technologies such as chatbots still struggle to replicate the behavior of emotionally intelligent humans. In meetings, client presentations, or job interviews, EQ can make all the difference.
It Can Be Cultivated and Improved
When you make an investment of time and attention, you can improve your own emotional intelligence. It takes patience, practice, and effort. And it’s well worth it!
Here are some areas in which emotional intelligence can bestow significant advantages, in life and at work.
Life is all about connecting with other people. Much of your professional success comes down to how well you work together with others to achieve mutually rewarding and satisfying outcomes. Emotional intelligence can help you build your network, work well with the right people, and build a career that survives setbacks and gains momentum over time.
Most of the work we do is about:
- Mutual respect
- Careful listening
- Processing and incorporating feedback
- Appreciating a diversity of perspectives, incentives, and contributions
Great collaborators are present, mindful, and thus more open to the ideas and experiences of others. Emotional intelligence emphasizes the skills of effective teamwork, understanding that they can always be improved and that collaboration is a process, not a product.
Being emotionally intelligent on the job can help you make more thoughtful decisions. You can better understand the facts of a situation, put them in context, and account for important hidden variables, such as how others may react emotionally to sudden changes.
As you become more well-regarded at work and gain a track record of trust, strong emotional intelligence can help you ascend to leadership roles.
It can also help you stand out in the hiring process, navigate job interviews, and make mutually beneficial decisions about what work to take on and what opportunities are right for you.
At Artisan Creative we help creative professionals and leaders get more from their lives and careers. Contact Artisan today to start the conversation. We hope you’ve enjoyed the 553rd issue of our weekly a.blog.
As the new year begins, it’s important to set priorities and use your time and effort more efficiently, by focusing on the most important task first in a way that ensures you’ll have time enough for everything.
At work, it’s easier to set priorities when you take on the responsibility yourself. Those who can set their own priorities, hold themselves accountable, without relying on strict oversight and micromanagement, have a clear advantage.
Take stock of your current priorities and how you recognize and tackle them. Notice what works well for you and what can be improved. Like anything else, useful prioritization is an ongoing practice – the better you get at it, the more bandwidth you’ll have left for other things.
Follow these tips to set work priorities at the office.
Get Clear on What Matters
“Clarity is the beginning of all empowerment,” writes Greg McKeown in Harvard Business Review. Before you can effectively prioritize your work, it’s essential that you understand what matters and why. If you don’t understand your company’s strategy or direction, or confused about how your priorities align with those of your business and clients, or you’re struggling to manage an array of freelance projects, take the time to better understand your larger objectives. Get your clients, managers, and colleagues involved as needed.
A great team-building exercise that also helps clarify goals is doing a team vision building exercise.
Get a System
There are many different schools of thought on time management, lots of competing project management software products, and a nearly infinite number of tips and tricks you can try. You can be a believer in GTD, the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, or the Project Management Triangle. Maybe you have a system of your own. It’s less important which system you use and more important that you use it consistently. Do enough research to pick a system that works for you and then stick to it.
Color-Code Your Calendar
Calendar-based planning tools can be quite useful. They make use of the rhythm of time, something we all inherently understand. If you’re a visual thinker, creating a color-coded system to categorize and prioritize your work within your calendar can provide a breakthrough in understanding what you’re doing.
Find Your Sweet Spot
According to the Pareto Principle, we get approximately 80% of our positive results from 20% of our applied effort. When you get good at tracking your work and analyzing your results, you can get an idea of what your “20% tasks” are and lean more heavily into those.
Another way to determine your most significant priorities is to understand where your passions (the work you love to do) intersect with value (the work with the biggest business benefits). This requires quantifying and qualifying your work, along with some introspection and self-awareness, and it can pay enormous dividends when you make an effort to spend as much time on work that brings out your best qualities for the maximum benefit of those around you.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the 552nd issue of our weekly a.blog.
You’ve set your goals, declared your intentions and shared your resolutions with others. Now the real work begins to create action steps and smart goals to bring them to fruition.
Before you can create those action steps here are seven ways to prepare and help improve your circumstances, your state of mind, as well as your state of being in 2020.
- Get Organized
Account for you how you spend your time and energy. Use the 80/20 principle to lean on your strengths and allocate your resources more effectively. Plan for productivity, organize your physical and digital space, outsource what you can, and simplify your life.
- Get Going
As many Americans are becoming less geographically mobile, that shouldn’t stop you from seeing what you want to see of the world. If you want to travel, relocate, change jobs, or become a full-on digital nomad, now is as good a time as you’ll have to make those plans and put them in motion. Artisan Creative can help.
- Get Focused
We are what we attend to. Use your sharp and curious mind to better know yourself, so you can understand what you really want and determine how to get it. Practice mindfulness, hone new skills and stay engaged with a rapidly changing world.
- Get Physical
If you want to feel better, get more comfortable in your body. If you find the right diet and fitness plans and stick to them, the rewards will enhance all areas of your life. At the very least, have a glass of water and get your teeth checked out.
- Get Social
In our culture of hard work and proud individualism, loneliness can easily become a problem. Whether you’re an extrovert, an introvert, or something in between, it is essential that you actively engage with other humans, whether through networking events, in peer and mentor relationships, or by making sure you spend plenty of time with your family and with friends old and new. You will build a strong network and a strong spirit.
- Get Grateful
Take time to fully acknowledge how much support you have from the people and things around you. To do this, cultivate a daily gratitude practice and make lists of everything you appreciate. Incline your mind toward opening your heart.
- Get Over It
In a viral article, creative director Momo Estrella shares the story of how he transformed his mindset and his life when he changed his computer’s password to “Forgive@h3r.”
You can use the new year as an opportunity to release old resentments – if not for others, then for your own improved well being, you’ll be happier, more productive, and more creative when you are able to let go of anything from your past that’s holding you back. After all, you’ll almost never hear anyone say, “I wish I hadn’t forgiven that person!”
At Artisan Creative, we help creative professionals reach their full potential in life and work, whether that means having more success where they are, or by seizing a new opportunity. Contact Artisan today to learn more and make the new year your best yet. We hope you’ve enjoyed the 551st issue of our weekly a.blog.
This is a special time of the year to reflect on the abundance of the previous year and to plan for the upcoming new year. In this very special case, we have a new decade to celebrate with the perfect 2020 Vision.
What would you like to see, do and be in this new year/decade?
Here at Artisan Creative, each year our a.team members work on their New Year’s goals and create a vision board or dream board. Most create physical boards, although a few opt for a digital version using Trello, Canva, Pinterest or PicMonkey.
We present our boards to one another at our first team meeting in January. The boards are a collection of our short and long term goals and include both personal and professional aspirations.
Presenting to the team creates accountability (one of our a.team core values) and enables the group to learn more about each other’s ambitions, dreams, and commitments. Some set a theme for the year, some have specific action words—others use inspirational quotes. All have in common a shared use of imagery that inspires, tells a story, and conveys a message to create a powerful visualization tool.
In addition to sharing our vision and goals at the start of the new year, we review our boards mid-year in our June meeting and share a recap at our year-end meeting. This helps keep us on track during the course of the year, which can have many twists and turns. This activity is one of our strongest team-building exercises, as it stays “evergreen”.
You can do a variation this year and create a vision board for the decade with a focus on long term goals. An alternative is to create a gratitude board where you can continually be reminded of all things you are grateful for.
However you choose to proceed, here are some tips to create your vision board and get started on achieving your goals!
- Select words and images that inspire and are true to your core values.
- Create positivity and inspiration for yourself and others.
- Imagine the integrated life/work you want to live.
- You can either divide your board into sections for business and personal or mix the elements together throughout. The important point is to create an integrated board where your personal and professional aspirations are represented.
- Hang the board where you can re-visit it daily—read the inspirational messages out loud— and often! Mine is right in front of my desk, so I get to see it every time I look up from my computer.
- Share with others. Having an accountability partner will help you get closer to achieving your goals.
- If you choose to go the digital route, change your desktop to the vision board artwork so you can see it every day for inspiration and setting priorities.
- A large poster board to give you plenty of space to visualize your year, yet small enough to hang on your wall. We use the 22 x 28 size available from Staples.
- A good pair of scissors and a strong glue stick so the pictures stay on all year long.
- Variety of magazines to look through and find those inspiring words and pictures.
- (Optional) Markers/stickers to write on or embellish your board.
- Patience and Creativity.
- Time to reflect.
Cut images and words throughout the month. Select aside a day to create the actual vision board. For some, it’s easier to start with a theme and for others, the pictures and words shape the theme of the board. There is no right or wrong method, harness your creativity any way that works best for you.
What is your goal-setting process?
Happy 2020! We hope you’ve enjoyed the 550th issue of our weekly a.blog.
Like most things, screen time is best in mindful moderation. As the holidays approach, we have a good opportunity to unwind and take a digital break.
As digital technology proliferates through every aspect of our lives, we are becoming more cognizant of its potentially less-savory effects. Taken to an extreme, the use of such technology can hamper our productivity, sociability, and mental health. Indeed, some of the most wealthy and well-connected people are beginning to ensure their children spend less time looking at screens.
It is possible to take advantage of the profound benefits that digital connectivity has brought to our life and work while mitigating the harm it can do when overused. Here are a few ways to do this.
Become More Aware of How You Use Your Screen Time
If you think you may not be using digital technology as wisely or productively as you could be, start by keeping track of how you actually spend your screen time.
There are numerous apps designed to help you measure or limit your screen time. Try one, and get a more accurate idea of your use and how your time is being spent. You can also follow these few tips to keep yourself from common indulgences that are likely to be counterproductive or to make you unhappy.
- Turn off unnecessary notifications and get updates at certain times (rather than all the time). This will eliminate some of the digital distractions that can prevent you from doing deep, focused work.
- No scrolling in the morning. Start your day with exercise, mindfulness practice, or a productive morning routine instead.
- Read a book, practice meditation, and engage in other activities that might be more enjoyable and less stress-inducing than looking at social media or the internet.
Try a Digital Detox
If you think digital technology is really cramping your style, it may be time for a digital detox.
Take a mandatory day of rest, or even a week, and see what it’s like to go without electronic devices, apps, and the internet altogether. Let everyone know you’ll be off the grid for a while, and spend your time resting, working with your hands, or bonding with friends and family.
You may find that those notifications weren’t nearly as important as they may have seemed and that you didn’t miss anything you couldn’t just as easily handle later.
Don’t Overdo It
Unplugging is becoming a fad in its own right, with some of the excesses that entail. You can moderate your screen time without doing anything too extreme.
You don’t need to subscribe to highly demanding regimens of dopamine fasting or do anything else that could compromise your career, your relationships, or your happiness.
Again, the key here is awareness and moderation. Take stock of how you spend your time. Regulate your digital intake as much as you can. Make sure you have all the time you need for the pleasures and challenges of “real life,” and you should be able to keep your digital technology working for you, rather than against you.
At Artisan Creative, we help creative professionals, businesses, and teams make the most of all aspects of their lives and careers. Contact Artisan today to start the conversation.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the 549th issue of the a.blog.
We give thanks to our clients and talent, and to our a.team for 23 years of building a more creative world together. Happy Thanksgiving.
Here at Artisan Creative, we have a #gratitude Slack channel where throughout the year our a.team shares what they are grateful for daily. Everything from bike rides and nature walks to home remodels and healthy families, we recognize every day how very fortunate we are in so many ways.
Here are some snippets of shares on Slack from the past year:
Grateful for health.
Grateful for family.
Grateful for laughter.
Grateful for loving relationships with friends and family.
Grateful for enriching experiences.
Grateful for launching our artisan podcast on creativity, inspiration, and determination.
Grateful for our virtual office and not commuting—celebrating 10 years of working remotely.
Grateful for a strong body and mind.
Grateful for learning to wake up to life at a deeper level.
Grateful for new friendships.
Grateful for old friendships.
Grateful for sunrises and sunsets.
Grateful for being able to give back and helping others.
Grateful for our 4-legged furry friends.
Grateful for air travel that makes it possible to see family and friends who are far away.
Grateful for babies sleeping through the night.
Grateful for positive attitudes.
Grateful for the bathroom remodel being done.
Grateful for “Find My Phone”!
Grateful for self-care.
Grateful for new beginnings.
Grateful for the amazing a.team!
Grateful for 23 years of Artisan Creative.
Grateful for our clients and talents.
Grateful for new additions to our team this year.
Grateful for our focus on life-work integration.
Grateful for living and being true to our core values.
Grateful for continual learning and growth.
Grateful for knowing and understanding our strengths.
Grateful for mindfulness.
Grateful for the entrepreneurial journey.
Grateful for a happy life!
Wishing you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving.
The artisan a.team