Creative Team-Building Activities

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019|

In business, as in life, so much comes down to effective communication, coordination, and collaboration. When teams work together to solve problems in a fun environment, they can bond, connect, and learn to trust each other in ways that will help them navigate through difficult challenges in the future.

This explains the perennial popularity of team-building activities. Team-building exercises can take place inside or outside the office. They can be competitive and cooperative. Some are more fun and creatively galvanizing than others.

If you’re leading a creative team through a project or you’re a manager supervising creative professionals, it’s important for you to decide what team-building activities will best help your team to coalesce, cooperate, and put their best qualities into play.

If you’re looking for unusual team-building exercises to fire up the imaginations and problem-solving skills of your team, here are a few we suggest.

Escape Rooms

Escape room games have exploded in popularity in the last few years. They give your team a chance to work in concert and breakthrough to freedom, generally through solving a series of puzzles. As team-building exercises for professionals, escape rooms can reveal hidden leadership potential, teach colleagues new ways to support each other under pressure, and reveal issues that may need attention, all in an atmosphere leavened by storytelling, humor, and fun. Winning an escape room game can be a strong bonding experience, and even if you lose, you will gain valuable insights into how you can work better together.

Painting Parties

A painting party can give your team a chance to get moving, get their hands dirty, work their imaginative muscles, and share fun new aspects of their personalities, all in an environment emphasizing creativity, conviviality, and joyful expression. Kristine Griffith, owner of Paint ‘n Sip, a mobile paint-party service based in Los Angeles, describes a painting party as “a relaxed environment and a non-competitive activity that releases stress and facilitates conversation on a level above workplace politics. Bonding ensues.”

Storytelling Games

When you encourage your teams to tell stories about themselves and their work, it can help them develop a sense of structure, better appreciate their shared values and mission, and see their challenges by fresh and more useful lights. Such “inside games” draw on skills ranging from recalling shared memories to strategizing and mapmaking, and can incorporate the tools of brainstorming, authentic relationship-building, and improvisational comedy. You could even make a deliverable, such as a parody music video. Such games can be great standalone team-building activities as well as wonderful ways to break the ice before meetings.

At Artisan Creative, we have many ways to support managers in helping their teams reach their fullest potential. Contact Artisan today to get started.

Impacting Workplace Culture

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019|

Most of us spend significant chunks of our lives at work. How we experience our jobs, our workplaces, and our professional cultures is a big part of who we are and shapes who we become. Therefore, all of us – HR and management, creative professionals, all of us – have much to gain from becoming more actively invested in our workplace culture. We deserve it.

As you become more aware of your workplace culture, how it works, and how to make it better, here are a few things to keep in mind.

All Culture Is Designed

Workplace culture rarely happens by accident. It is the result of values, whether spoken or unspoken and of actions, whether conscious or unconscious. When we act more mindfully and communicate our values more clearly, we grant ourselves more agency to collaborate and create the sort of workplace culture that better serves our needs and helps us achieve our goals. When we have a strong, supportive workplace culture, we can take pride in nurturing that culture and living in tune with what we really care about.

Know Before You Go

Recruiting and onboarding should include clear communication of the values, priorities, and expectations of the workplace culture. Before you join a team or take on new members, make sure your workplace culture is made explicit, and that it’s something everyone involved can proudly uphold and celebrate. It’s going to be a big part of your life – make sure it’s a good fit from the beginning.

Keep the Paths of Communication Open

If you don’t know, don’t be afraid to ask! Workplace culture is everyone’s business. A healthy one will encourage curiosity, new ideas, and positive contributions. As the millennial generation of workers and entrepreneurs rises in influence, its values of transparency and mission-focus can make it easier to ask useful questions and have important conversations about workplace culture.

Little Things Matter

Seemingly minor details – color schemes, layout, and organization, or whether a workplace is dog-friendly – will compound in importance over time. When you can turn small elements of your workspace or your office culture to your advantage, you make a powerful investment in your long-term success and happiness.

Check-In With Yourself

Even when you’re working hard, give yourself the time and psychological space you need to know your own mind, listen to your heart and gut, and be aware of how your workplace culture is resonating with you. The tools of mindfulness can be helpful with this process – more than a style of meditation, mindfulness is a set of habits you can adopt to develop a more perceptive and grounded take on the world. If those at all levels can become more mindful of workplace culture and dedicate themselves to nurturing and improving it together, it can be an enormously positive influence on team cohesion, productivity, and overall well being.

At Artisan Creative, we love to see creative professionals and businesses thrive. Contact Artisan today to start the conversation.

WE hope you’ve enjoyed the 545th issue of the a.blog.

Cool Job Perks

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019|

Whatever you do for a living, you’ll be spending a good amount of time on it. Thus, it’s important to choose jobs, gigs, and careers that are aligned with your values, your strengths, your goals, as well as with your sense of adventure and fun.

When you’re job hunting or looking for a new creative career, simply picking an opportunity with the largest salary attached may not lead to as much happiness as you might be expecting. Take some time to look at the whole picture, including job perks that will make your job and the workplace you’ll be spending 8+ hours a day in uniquely welcoming and rewarding. And, if you run a business and you’re hiring talent, consider offering enticing and unusual job perks to help attract the right team that can take your entity to the next level.

Here are a few job perks to consider, from the common to the quirky, to the cool.

Flextime: The ritual of working regular shifts Monday through Friday, 9:00 to 5:00, is based on an old industrial model of workplace efficiency that is not necessarily applicable or useful for all modern businesses. Flextime gives workers and their managers the opportunity to collaborate and create slightly offbeat schedules that may better accommodate the circumstances and needs of everyone involved.

Remote Work: As the capabilities of workplace technology improve exponentially, entirely remote teams will become more and more common. It’s how we’ve been working at Artisan Creative since 2009, and for us (and a lot of our clients), it’s working quite well.

Unlimited Vacations: American workers are notorious for their relative lack of long vacations, but things may be changing. Some top companies are no longer doling out small allotments of PTO and sick time and are switching to something more like an honor system, granting their employees full freedom to vacation as they will and trusting them to do so responsibly.

Fitness & Health Perks: Many employers are becoming more focused on the overall health and wellness of their talent, providing yoga sessions, bikes and other perks that help them feel good and develop good habits, inside and outside of work.

Dry Cleaning: Hate doing laundry? Need to be spotless and wrinkle-free for client meetings and presentations? Consider a job that will steam your pants and tumble-dry your whites, on the house.

Nap Rooms: Naptime may have felt like punishment in kindergarten. Now as a hardworking adult, you could probably use some R&R on the clock. More companies are providing small sanctuaries for meditation, contemplation, or simply catching a few Zs.

Life Coaching: At Artisan, we believe creating the right career is about aligning all aspects of life to orient yourself toward your true values. So we’re entirely in favor of getting a gentle push from a qualified life coach, especially when it’s part of your job.

Ax-Throwing Lessons: Then again, some people need more aggressive catharsis than others. If you want to release some tension and be prepared to kill your own food if necessary, there are job perks out there for you, as well.

Together with our top talent and world-class clients, we’re helping to shape the workplace of the future. Contact Artisan Creative today and discover better ways to work.

We hope you enjoy the 522nd issue of our a.blog.

 

 

Pet Friendly Work Environments

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019|

The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mahatma Gandhi

This week is National Pet Week! There are many ways in which you can celebrate and assist our animal friends, companions, and colleagues.

Consider a Pet-friendly Workplace

Over the years, many American corporate environments have become more casual. This has led to more companies, including some of the hottest companies around, to create pet-friendly work environments and extend Take Your Dog to Work Week into a year-round culture of animal inspiration. Pet-friendly offices can be a good incentive for recruiting, as well as providing moments of levity and stress relief when work gets intense.

In most corporate or creative businesses, this trend mainly applies to dogs, although “retail cats” remain fixtures in bookstores and bodegas across the land, and can coax in new business through their online popularity.

If you want to make your workplace pet-friendly, take into account these considerations:

 

  • Will the animals be comfortable and safe? If they need to run around or use the bathroom, will they be able to do so easily enough?
  • What do the humans think? If your team is full of animal lovers, they may be enthusiastic. If some of them have allergies, or don’t want dogs around, a pet-friendly workplace may not be right for you at this time.
  • Do pets fit in with your brand and your company culture?
  • Will their presence make your team more productive and happy? Will their need for companionship be more of a distraction or an inspiration?
  • What are the applicable rules and logistical concerns that apply to your workplace?
  • Should you offer other animal-related perks, such as pet insurance?

 

Other Ways to Help Animals

Whether or not you can accommodate pets in your offices, there are many ways to support animals this week and throughout the year.

Top San Francisco animal charities and top Los Angeles animal charities are always in need of donations (money and items) and volunteer power. These include shelters, rescue groups, and organizations that promote animal welfare. You can use Charity Navigator to determine which animal charities in Los Angeles or San Francisco you most want to support with your money or your time.We love and support NKLA which is working hard to make Los Angeles a no kill city.

You might consider organizing a team volunteer outing to help such an organization. Giving aid to more vulnerable creatures can open our hearts, teach us a lot about ourselves, and help teams come together to better understand each other

At Artisan Creative, our mission is to help build the workplaces, teams, and careers of the future. Contact Artisan Creative today to explore more.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 520th issue of our a.blog.  Follow us on social and meet the furry friends who keep us company at work. 

 

Creating Trusted Relationships

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019|

Trust….what does the word mean to you and how does it influence your business and personal life?

All relationships, whether interacting with a partner, co-worker, vendor, or family member rely on trust and will grow because of it, or falter due to a lack of it. As leaders, it’s important to earn and to give trust. Many people work hard to make sure they can be trusted, reliable and someone others can count on. For some, trust is given freely and blindly, until it’s broken. If that happens, they suddenly do an about face and stop trusting. For others, they start from a place of distrust and work their way to trust over time.

In his book, The Speed of Trust Steven Covey says that trust is a function of two things: character and competence.

Character is one’s integrity, intent, and motives. Competence is one’s skills, knowledge, track record, and results.

Both are needed to create and maintain trusted relationships. Covey attributes 4 core principles to building trust – both with ourselves (self- trust) as well as with others. The first two principles have to do with character and the latter two with competence.

Integrity

Do we say and do what we said we were going to do? Do we stick to our core values? Do we have integrity with ourselves? Are our morals and ethics aligned with our core?

Intent

What are our motives? Do we work towards a win-win outcome with ourselves, with our employees and vendors, with our family and friends?

Capability

Do we know how to do what we said we were going to do? Do we have the qualities needed to inspire confidence? Are our skills, attitude, and knowledge aligned so we can grow and establish trust as leaders in our company, family and community?

Results

This is all about getting things done – our performance and track record. If we don’t deliver on our promises, or never do what we say we are going to do, we lose trust.

The next time a situation arises where you get a distrusting feeling about someone or a situation, ask yourself whether it’s a matter of their character or competence?

If it’s a matter of competence, you can ask for data, for certifications, ROI, KPI, you can run assessments. From an on-going leadership and training perspective, it’s important to ask if someone has been given the proper training and onboarding to do their job well. Also, it’s good to make certain our expectations are clear, so they can do what is asked and expected.

If it’s a matter of character, you can check references, and conduct background checks. Julio Olalla of the Newfield Network speaks about the importance of not to assuming all breaches of trust are betrayals—be able to distinguish between sincerity, competence, and reliability.

The first step in building trusted relationships is to lead by example, be authentic, vulnerable and learn to trust. At Artisan Creative, building trusted relationships is one of our central core values. We look forward to connecting with you to build a new relationship.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 519th issue of the a.blog.

Managing a Remote Team

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019|

Remote work is on the rise. Taking advantage of the increasingly robust connective and collaborative capabilities of digital technology has been statistically shown to reduce employee stress, improve employee engagement, and save time and money for companies.

It just requires an ever-so-slightly modified style of management.

Digital nomads will play increasingly important roles in the future of business. If you’re a manager, it’s time to prepare yourself to help foster success for employees and contractors who work mostly or entirely off-site. Here are some key tips for managing a happy and productive remote team.

Start With Onboarding

From your onboarding and training processes onward, make sure your expectations are clear and that remote work best practices are baked into the culture of your business and enthusiastically embraced and understood by your team.

Facilitate Transparency

When employers, managers, and professional collaborators can’t hold regular in-person meetings, clear systems for accountability and transparency are crucial. Make it easy for remote team members to track and report on their work and to reach out to others for help as soon as they need it.

Use Technology and Stay Connected

Even if different members of your team live in different time zones, they need to be able to communicate with each other, as everyone must feel connected. For example, Zoom and slack can help you hold weekly video meetings, even if they’re simply status check-ins. Use the most appropriate project management software to track responsibilities and accomplishments and to enhance off-site collaboration. Build a strong company culture, encourage your team to support each other and take pride in what they do together.

Hire People You Can Trust, and Trust Them

The people who are best suited to remote work are generally highly motivated self-starters. They take responsibility without too much guidance or external discipline. They communicate clearly, sincerely, and consistently.

Take extra care to only bring in those who can contribute their best efforts to your team without peer pressure, micromanagement, and constant attention. Then, let them work. When managing a remote team, instead of being a taskmaster or a disciplinarian, be free to serve as a resource and a positive example of how people can work closely together without the need for geographic proximity, cubicles, or Casual Fridays.

Artisan Creative runs on the efforts of a tightly bonded and highly successful remote team. We have been a remote workforce since 2009 and understand better than most, the unique challenges of managing a remote team and how the right approach can set you up for success. We’d love to share our expertise with you. Contact Artisan Creative today to learn more.

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 516th a.blog.

 

The California Job Market

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019|

California is home to the world’s fifth-largest economy, worth nearly $3 trillion per year. Much of its economic activity is based around Greater Los Angeles (the entertainment capital of the world) and the San Francisco Bay Area (home base of the tech industry).

If you’re building your career in design, technology, or a creative field – or you’re launching or expanding a business of your own – which of these two world-class cultural nodes is a better fit for your skills, goals, and temperament?

San Francisco: All Hands on Tech

The Bay Area served as the cradle for the personal computing revolution of the 1970s, the popularization of the World Wide Web in the ’90s, and the current dominance of giant Silicon Valley corporations such as Google, Apple, and Facebook in global commerce, communication, and culture. It’s the place where engineers and entrepreneurs first fully embraced the world-shifting potential of connected gadgets.

With record-low unemployment and plenty of San Francisco open jobs, designers, developers, marketers, and other tech-savvy creatives are still feeling the love in SF, even as the city deals with staggeringly expensive… well, everything, especially housing. The city has its problems, and it will need its best minds to put their heads together and think up unprecedented solutions – and that’s what the Bay does best.

Fresh opportunities arise at the intersections of tech with other emerging fields, and the tight-knit cultural communities of SF are ideal for the formation of these sorts of symbiotic relationships.

“The Bay Area has a history of bohemianism and sophistication that is now melding with a technology-driven culture,” says author and economic geographer Michael Storper, in conversation with urban studies theorist Richard Florida. “One hopes that the Bay Area will not become a one-horse town, but will retain the mix of culture, criticism, eccentricity, and hard-driving entrepreneurship that has made it so dynamic for so long.”

Los Angeles: The Show Must Grow On

Since the beginnings of film, LA has led the world in entertainment. Now, that’s creating new opportunities in technology and content as tools change, economic power shifts, and showbiz dramatically evolves.

“We’re going through a renaissance at the moment because of the growth of entertainment and content,” says CBRE vice chairman Jeff Pion, in a Curbed exploration of LA’s growth in tech. “There’s a merging of tech and entertainment, and content is king at the moment. The potential for harnessing the existing entertainment workforce in LA immediately is incredible… Five years ago, a founder who wanted to keep their company in LA would get a lot of questions. Today, it’s like, why do I need to be anywhere else?”

Bay Area beasts such as Google and Facebook have bustling offices in Silicon Beach, as well. And SoCal is home to its own thriving breed of tech unicorns. With its deliberate and widely supported efforts to improve mass transit, build more affordable housing, and mitigate the stifling effects of its legendary urban sprawl, LA city is rising to the challenges of changing times. Los Angeles open jobs are more interesting and diverse than ever before.

“LA has had some hard economic times, but there is no doubt that it is an increasingly worldly city with an effervescent artistic and intellectual culture,” says Storper. What LA needs is to harness these advantages to better fundamentals: better and denser leadership structures, more connectedness among economic communities, more employment density, better basic education, and a focus on skills.”

Golden State of Mind

Los Angeles and San Francisco are both changing landscapes. Creative professionals and business leaders in both cities are defying outmoded stereotypes to nurture new ideas, build new communities, and help determine the futures of the places they love.

There’s much more to LA than great food and warm weather. And SF isn’t just for hippies and geeks.

Artisan Creative has many years of experience in the San Francisco and Los Angeles markets. We’re immersed in their communities, we pay attention to changes, and we see new opportunities as they emerge. Contact us today to start building your own California dream.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 515th a.blog.

Why We Love What We Do

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019|

This February we celebrate 23 years of being Artisan Creative. Twenty-three fabulous years of creating relationships based on trust and of teamwork, collaboration, and support.

Thank you for being on this journey with us. We couldn’t have done it without you.

To celebrate and in recognition of Valentine’s day, we asked our Artisan Creative a.team to share 23 things they love about what they do every day and why they love working at Artisan Creative.

  1. The Artisan a.team
  2. The impact we create every day in people’s lives
  3. Our core values
  4. Our life/work integration mindset
  5. Flexibility – working to live and not living to work
  6. Seeing life-changing opportunities through the work we do
  7. The amazing people we work with
  8. Ability to work from anywhere. Remote/Virtual office
  9. Building impactful relationships
  10. Connecting people to opportunities
  11. Supportive team
  12. Working for a company that finds jobs for artists
  13. Use of relevant and current technologies
  14. Being organized and efficient
  15. Interesting team building exercises
  16. Employee ideas are heard, considered and acted upon
  17. Learning from a dynamic and supportive team
  18. Connecting with great people and changing lives
  19. Building long lasting client & talent relationships
  20. Integrity, respect, and honesty of the team
  21. Making a difference
  22. Focus on personal and professional development
  23. Being a woman-owned business

Our core values were created by the a.team. To learn more about how we create impact, please connect.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 509th a.blog. Happy Valentine’s Day.

 

Favorite Books & Shows of 2018

Wednesday, December 19th, 2018|

As the year comes to end, we wanted to recap some of the fun shows, movies and books of 2018 that our a.team has enjoyed. We are clearly an eclectic group with a wide array of tastes. Hope some of these resonate with you too! What were some of your favorites?

Favorite Books of 2018

Favorite Movies/TV Shows of 2018

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 501st a.blog.  We wish you a happy holiday season.

 

Our Top 25 Blogs

Wednesday, December 12th, 2018|

We are thrilled to publish our 500th blog today. As we approach the end of 2018, we’d like to share some of our a.team’s favorite blogs.

These cover a range of topics from self-development and time-management to job search, hiring and much more.

We hope you enjoy this top 25 greatest hits compilation.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 500th post.  You can find plenty other tips, inspirations, best practices and advice on our a.blog.

We look forward to connecting.