Shoshin: The Olympics of Business

Thursday, July 29th, 2021|

We’ve been engrossed in the Olympics this past week as we watched athletes who had put their lives on hold to continue training for an additional year, finally take center-stage in Tokyo to compete in their chosen sport.

Each athlete speaks about their perseverance, determination, and unwavering focus on becoming better and stronger in their field. Even those who are at the top of their ranking in their nation, or have won previous Olympic medals, continue with the same determination and focus to better themselves each time they enter their respective arenas. For many, it means 6+ hours of training each day—every day, even though they are already masters in their sport.

They understand that a one-second improvement can be the difference between standing on the podium, or not. These athletes have accepted the Shoshin mindset, a Zen Buddhist philosophy of a beginner’s mindset that fosters openness and acceptance for continued learning and growth.

This made us think about business and the importance of ongoing training for our teams. How often are companies and employees incorporating the Shoshin mindset?

Many firms start new hires with an intensive orientation and training, and then only provide feedback or additional training when something isn’t going right. Even worse, if the candidate hasn’t performed well by a specified timeframe, it’s assumed they are not a right fit for the role. A lack of proper training by the company is rarely taken into consideration.

What if, as hiring managers, we created a continuous training program, an investment in growth and learning to encourage all employees to adopt the Shoshin mindset in their daily routine?  And, as candidates what if we created an opportunity to go back and review the basics, shore up our foundational knowledge, add new skills and embrace new technologies?  Even if we’ve been doing our craft for years, how much more successful would we be if we improved our skills and became just a little bit better, faster, stronger?

At Artisan Creative, we’ve embraced continued learning and have implemented the following into our workflows over the years:

Training on Processes

  • Hold on-going bi-weekly one-hour trainings to continue learning together
  • Create short Loom Videos for all tasks, so new hires have a quick visual reference
  • Use Trello to house docs and references
  • Utilize Slack for quick questions if someone is stuck

Self-development

  • CliftonStrengths assessment to learn more about our peers
  • Toastmasters to become a better presenter and speaker
  • As needed Coursera or Udemy classes

In a market where it’s a challenge to find candidates, continuous investment in our teams can make the difference between success and failure.

In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few~ Shunryo Suzuki, Zen master

How do you implement ongoing training and the Shoshin Mindset in your business?

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 589th a.blog.

The Intentionality of WFH

Friday, July 16th, 2021|

Industry reports are showing that staggering numbers of employees are re-visiting their priorities to decide whether to stay in their jobs or to leave for other opportunities.

According to the labor department, in April alone, 4 Million people left their jobs.

With labor shortages in every industry from hospitality to technology and the fact that not everyone has left for another job…..we wondered why is there such a huge demand vs. supply of skilled professional talent?

Some candidates are leveraging this demand and focusing on freelance vs full time careers.  Others have moved out of their city, changed their focus, and are spending more time outdoors or with family while contemplating what to do next. Others are taking inventory of their skillsets and taking online courses in a variety of disciplines to expand their current skills.

One thing that is clear, is that a large population does not want to go back to the office in a full time capacity. And, for some, they don’t want to go to the office in person at all.   For employers and employees, it’s important to define what the future of work looks like and understand why it’s important to know how and where we want to work.

The pandemic has taught many the value of time, and how we can best spend this precious commodity.  At Artisan Creative, we’ve long held the view of an integrated life with work vs. trying to find balance in work and life.  Finding work/life balance implies being out of balance and putting work first, then life.

We prefer to put the emphasis on life first and then integrate work within it—life/work integration.

We have been a remote team for 11 years now and we respect the moments when a team member takes a few hours off to accompany their child to swim class or tends to a personal matter.  We embrace the time someone needs to go for a walk in the middle of the day to reset.  We do all this because we trust one another and know the work will get done because we’ve committed to doing so. We also believe we will return to work happier.  We do all this because we know our team embraces our core values of Accountability, Agility,  Trust,  Communication, Enthusiasm.

One thing we’ve learned over the years is that remote work is not for everyone. The idea of it may be attractive to many, however, the execution of it takes diligence, self-discipline, and intentionality.

As you contemplate a return to work—whether hybrid, fully remote, or in person, be sure to evaluate which specific work situation is best for you and know whether you can self-motivate, and stay accountable to yourself and to your team.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 588th issue of our weekly a.blog.

Bringing Our Whole Self to Work

Wednesday, June 30th, 2021|

When people hear that I’ve written a book, they generally assume that I’ve written about recruiting, human resources, or the culture of creativity. After all, with over 20+ years of experience in the creative recruitment field, it’s an expected assumption.

When they learn that my book, The Butterfly Years, is actually about the journey from grief toward hope, a puzzled look crosses their brows, expressing an initial surprise that I share so vulnerably my experience of loss and grief.

You may wonder, what does that have to do with my business? What’s the connection? Well, writing the book had absolutely nothing to do with my business and has everything to do with my business… because it has everything to do with me.

I choose to bring my whole self to my business.

In the book, Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations, Frédéric Laloux explores the concept of new organizations (Teal Organizations) where management and teams focus on creating a culture where the whole self comes to work.

My whole self has dealt with grief this past decade, including the loss of both my parents and step-parents. I wrote about grief because it was hard for me to concentrate, stay focused, or even remain positive.   I worked hard to hide what was happening inside. Of course, I did not let candidates or clients, or even my team, a glimpse at what was truly happening to me on the inside at that time. I thought that I needed to fake it so I could make it. I was wrong.

Over the past ten years, I’ve learned the importance of being true to myself, being authentic, and encourage genuineness from those around me, professionally and personally.

So this is a request to all the hiring managers and recruiters who are interviewing right now. Everyone, every single candidate that you connect with, is more than their LinkedIn profile. They are so much more than what you see on their resume. It’s key to learning more about a candidate’s interests and passions, about their core values, aspirations, and motivations.

As you interview new candidates or manage existing ones, ask yourself who is the “whole self” that you’re interviewing and meet them where they are with empathy and authenticity.

 

Katty Douraghy

President, Artisan Creative

Continuing to Inspire Hiring

Thursday, June 17th, 2021|

When the pandemic hit, many of our marketing and design clients were impacted—projects were canceled, deadlines were pushed out and jobs went on hold…which meant, many of the amazing creatives, copywriters, designers, and marketers we work with, stopped working.

These challenging times brought out our entrepreneurial thinking, and to help in the best way we could, we launched InspiringHiring.com as a free portal for impacted creatives to post their resumes and get hired. While it may seem odd that a recruitment firm would open up its resumes for others to see and connect without any strings attached, we decided to do it anyway.

We were determined to inspire the hiring of the amazing talent we believe in, even if we weren’t directly involved.

Now on the eve of the first anniversary of this launch, we continue to help our creative community find jobs. If you are looking to hire, look here and reach out directly to the talent you see listed.   And, if you aren’t able to find the exact candidate you are looking for, or need help with recruitment, then contact our Artisan Creative team.

If you are a candidate looking for a job, please look at our open jobs page, or post your resume here.

Together we can re-build a more creative world as we put the pandemic behind us.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 586th issue of our weekly a.blog.

3 Tips for a Summer Resume Makeover

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021|

As the weather and the market heat up once again, it’s a good time to review and refresh your resume as needed. For most hiring managers or recruiters who find you through a LinkedIn search, your Bio, resume, or portfolio will be your best chance to make a first impression. Have a look now at your resume and profile to make sure it meets all the important criteria.

Does your resume tell a Story?

Resumes tell a story of your career trajectory, competencies, interests, and aspirations. Read your resume thoroughly to make sure it tells the story of your career progression and what you’ve learned from your experience(s). It’s a good time to review your employment patterns and work history.

Your social media presence should complement the resume and continue in the same narrative and brand voice. Whether it’s your social media, blogs you’ve written, or portfolio you’ve created, ensure they all present a consistent sense of your brand, your values, and your expertise.

Does your resume address gaps in work history?

If you’ve been impacted by a layoff due to Covid, make sure your resume still speaks about accomplishments, leadership, or any mid-stream projects you were involved with prior to the layoff.

In the interim, list any volunteer work, continued education, or pro-bono work you’ve done during this time.

Does your resume include ROI, ATS, and SEO?

Be mindful of changing trends and keywords in your industry and update your resume for Search Engine Optimization, as well as making it friendly and searchable for the various Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

You are your own marketing department, so familiarize yourself with the latest SEO tips and techniques that marketers use to boost visibility and apply this to both your resume and online profile.

As you review a job description, make sure your resume speaks to the must-haves (Minimum requirements) and nice-to-haves (preferred requirements) of a role, and that you are able to list key metrics and deliverables that speak to each.

For example, if a role is asking for account management, list the number of accounts handled, responsibility for volume, and share specifics for account wins, (I managed 3 accounts and 5M book of business. I grew accounts by 25% in 2019 and oversaw a team of 4).

At Artisan Creative, we know that building your dream career isn’t just about attention to detail – it’s about knowing which details matter.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 585th issue of our weekly a.blog.

5 Remote work best practices

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021|

As our communities slowly open back up, the future of work is being redefined as alternative options for remote work are becoming more permanent vs. being an immediate approach to the pandemic lockdown.

Many companies have decided to stay remote or explore a hybrid model. And many freelancers and full-time talent are opting to work from their home environment by choice.

Artisan Creative has been a remote team for over 10 years, so we thought it would be helpful to review a few of our best practices for working remotely.

  1. Get to know the team

When starting a new remote freelance assignment or a new full-time remote job, you’ll want to learn everything you can about the company, your new team, and the culture.

Since you will not be seeing everyone in person on a daily basis, it takes longer to get to know the team. Virtual team-building exercises are a great way to get to know your teammates.

  1. Keep the Paths of Communication Open

Schedule regular check-ins and virtual coffee breaks with your manager to connect and discuss your progress. It’s key to be open, honest, and thorough in all your communications. Setting up virtual zoom meetings or participating in your company’s Slack channels can be a good way to stay connected.

  1. Clear the air

As Brene Brown famously says, Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind. If you are unclear about a directive, a project, or feedback on your performance, ask for clarity.  Miscommunication can happen easily via text, email, or Slack. When in doubt, hop on a video conference or a call to connect and clear the air.    

  1. Find the Right Environment

For some people, working from home is a dream come true. Others may work better in “third places” that are neither homes nor offices. These workers may find their ideal environments in coworking spaces or coffee shops.  

Wherever you work, make sure the environment is ideal for your productivity. If you are energized by the bustling ambiance, try working from a coffee shop. If you need quiet and isolation, find a peaceful place to work and set boundaries to protect it.

This requires some trial and error, so understand your own patterns, preferences, and boundaries. Any assignment is easier when you’re tackling it within your designated sweet spot.

  1. Know Thyself

The right external environment is as essential as the right mindset. The relative freedom of remote work can empower you to play to your strengths.

The new world of work provides more freedom than ever before. Making the most of it requires wisdom, experimentation, and sensitivity to your own body and mind.

That’s where Artisan Creative can help. We work with a wide variety of talent with different styles and work preferences. We can help you play to your strengths and uncover opportunities where your skills and efforts will be the most appreciated. Contact us today to learn more.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 584th issue of our weekly a.blog.

Podcast Interview with Katty Douraghy

Wednesday, April 21st, 2021|

Artisan Creative’s president, Katty Douraghy, recently met with Victoria Kenward and David Searns co-CEOs of Haley Marketing’s Podcast Secrets of Staffing Success to talk about lessons learned in the past 25+ years as Artisan Creative celebrates this silver anniversary.

 

Please take listen here.

 

Secrets of Staffing Success is a podcast exclusively for the staffing industry.

You’re in the middle of a pandemic. Business is down…dramatically.

Your clients aren’t hiring. So what do you do?

If you’re Katty Douraghy, you launch a FREE job board to help your talent find work!

Sound crazy? Not at all.

In this episode of Secrets of Staffing Success, our new hosts (and Co-CEOs), Victoria Kenward (LinkedIn) and David Searns (LinkedIn), take the mic for a thought-provoking chat with our guest. Katty shares some incredible wisdom from her 20+ years in the staffing industry, including:

  • A powerful lesson about staying true to your core values.
  • The importance of building a community with your talent.
  • Why making a conscious decision to stay small can be a great competitive strategy.
  • And how trusting your team can be the key to driving growth.

To learn more about Artisan Creative and their Inspiring Hiring job board, check out these links:

  • artisancreative.com
  • inspiringhiring.com
  • linkedin.com/company/artisan-creative/

Please also take a look at Katty’s new book, The Butterfly Years, her personal story of overcoming grief and discovering hope.

Finally, during the show, we talked about find your “why?” – the true rationale behind what motivates (and demotivates) us all. Katty’s husband, Jamie Douraghy, is an executive coach and certified Strengths Finder consultant. You can learn more about finding your why at:

http://www.lifeworkintegration.com/

5 Tips for Active Listening on Zoom

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021|

Yes, we are in a Zoom (insert Microsoft teams, Google Meet, etc.) world and distractions are aplenty. Whether you are interviewing or conducting a team meeting, it’s imperative to be present and connect.

Between notifications for email and Slack,  phone calls, LinkedIn posts, tweets, and so on, digital communication is at an all-time high and, this all-time high requires true listening. Today active listening is a skill that too often gets lost in a sea of technological noise.

We can all improve our active listening skills in a few easy steps and in the process build better relationships, resolve conflicts, and understand issues, whether in the workplace or elsewhere. 

Here are 5 tips to help develop our active listening skills while on Zoom: 

  1. Quiet Your Mind. Quieting the mind before a meeting is critical for being present without thinking ahead to say next or trying to problem solve. This is key to active listening!  Before a meeting starts, turn off other notifications, close your eyes, and take three deeps breaths.  Turn on Zoom and you are ready to go.
  2. Maintain eye contact. Have the speaker on speaker view.  If it’s distracting to see yourself, hide your own view. When possible stand while you are conducting your meeting.  You’ll find that your voice may project better and you’ll be more present.
  3. Be empathetic. The soul of active listening is empathy. If the person you’re listening to is sad, happy, fearful, or angry in your conversation, place yourself in their shoes. Repeat back what they just said. Use statements such as “Let me make sure I understand or let me make sure I heard you correctly”. If you don’t understand something, ask for clarity.  
  4. Stay Curious and stay out of judgment.   Ask questions for clarity vs. for problem-solving.  
  5. Look for nonverbal cues. Their cadence, tone of voice, and body language can offer a lot of information. Look for small signs of nervousness, enthusiasm, or anxiety in their mannerisms, gestures, and posture to help determine how they really feel. 

The digital meeting space is here to stay.  Even when we can be together again in person, many companies have shifted to a remote environment. These 5 tips can help develop our active listening skills while on Zoom and create greater connections.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 582nd issue of our weekly a.blog.

3 Questions to Consider When Hiring a Designer

Wednesday, March 10th, 2021|

In the twenty-five years of recruiting creative and marketing talent at Artisan Creative, one question often asked by potential clients is “how much does it cost to hire a designer”? Our answer is, “it depends”. And it truly does depend. It depends on what your core objectives are, on what problem your designer is going to solve, and what your current team’s capabilities are.

Below are three questions to ask yourself before starting your hiring process.

Conceptual or Executional (or both)?

Are you hiring someone to think, be conceptual, come up with ideas, be iterative, push the creative envelope, and create the big picture vision for your project or brand?

If the design direction for your project is already set, do you have the big picture vision and brand parameters in place and now need someone to execute on that idea and bring it to life?

Seniority level?

Will your designer communicate with or oversee vendors and team members? Will they directly interact with senior leadership in your organization? Do you need them to help establish guidelines, best practices, processes? Are you looking for someone with leadership experience?

Some parameters to keep in mind are whether you need someone who can pitch and present to clients. Do you need someone who is going to follow established guidelines and report to a senior manager?

The salary or hourly rate for each of these functions will vary, so as you plan your project budget consider whether a senior-level talent, mid-level, or junior-level talent is right for your team and needs.

Specialist or Generalist

Do you need someone who can do a little bit of everything, or do you need a designer with a core specialty and focus?

A generalist has a vast knowledge of a variety of programs. From print to digital, to illustrations, motion…  they may be able to do it all. They may favor one over the other, or they may truly love the diversity and broad variety of projects that test their skills.

A specialist has a core focus. Although they can have a wider breadth of knowledge, they have chosen a focus of concentration for their craft. They may have higher education or many years of experience in their chosen field. They may specialize in User Experience design, or Illustration, or Motion design for example.

Depending on your business offerings, you may need a designer who is narrow and deep in their expertise, while others may need someone who has a wider breadth of experience. Who do you need for your business, what’s the best fit right now?

Be sure to add qualifying questions in your interview process to help determine the right fit.

If you don’t have the time or the support to recruit internally, the Artisan Creative team already has these and a depth of other qualifying questions we ask in our interview process for candidate qualification.  Let us know how we can help.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 581st issue of our weekly a.blog.

Design Trends for 2021

Wednesday, February 24th, 2021|

Design trends often respond to the current cultural trends.  It’s no surprise that given the upheavals of 2020, 2021’s predictions for design trends while calm and positive, also include a disruptive undertone.  Distance learning, remote offices, and digital communications impact these trends further.  Some notable 2021 trends in graphic and web design include:

Pantone’s color(s) of the year

Each year Pantone selects its color of the year.  This year it has selected two colors that represent, to me, where we’ve been and where we want to go:

PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray’ and ‘PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating.  The hopefulness to this duo is echoed in Pantone’s introduction of the colors: “A message of happiness supported by fortitude, the combination of PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is aspirational and gives us hope. We need to feel that everything is going to get brighter – this is essential to the human spirit.”

Environment-first approach

2020 required many to stay indoors, so it’s only natural that desire for the outdoors has influenced packaging and graphic design. A focus on natural patterns with flora and fauna will have an impact on design.  A deeper connection with mother nature will continue in 2021 influencing improved trends in sustainability.  Be ready for softer hues, muted colors, and more organic fabrications will be everywhere from interior design to graphic design.

Playful

3D graphics, Shapes Textures, Patterns, and Illustrations will have a huge impact in 2021.

The continued rise in gaming, as well as AR & VR, also requires the use of 3D graphics and software to be realistic, engaging, and eye-catching.   Especially in the e-learning space, where keeping engagement and elongating the attention-span of kids is needed for hours at a time, the intelligent use of 3D graphics becomes critical.

Look for 3D emoji designs, cartoons, illustrations, textures, and patterns to have a big impact on graphic design and animation. These all evoke emotion, capture attention, bring about fun, optimism, and a playfulness that consumers crave.  Look for animated logos as a continued design trend in 2021.

What’s your Type?

Typography rules have been pushed and we’ll now see bold and disruptive usage in 2021.  Patterns, optical illusions, 3D, as well as Inkstyle drawings and word-only logos, will be popular this year.

We’ll see a fun use of geometric shapes, experimental typefaces, and a plethora of handwriting typefaces fonts that have been distorted, elongated, and condensed, giving recognition that our world has indeed changed.

What new design trends are you seeing in your business?

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 580th issue of our weekly a.blog.