Building Leadership Skills

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019|

Being a great leader requires more than getting a promotion. Every great leader has a unique mix of skills – wisdom, courage, humility, analysis, empathy, among others. As a manager, you can cultivate and improve yourself as a leader. No matter what field you’re in, what role you have, or what your team needs from you, some principles of exceptional leadership are consistent across time and disciplines.

In 2009, the author William Deresiewicz delivered an address to the plebe class at the United States Military Academy at West Point on the topic of leadership. Specifically, he focused on what differentiates great leaders from the rest, and how leaders can learn to buck convention and groupthink and to trust the wisdom of their minds and hearts. The speech has become a classic among those who aspire to the timeless attributes of powerful, holistic leadership.

Deresiewicz’s ideas can help you accomplish your goals, help your team surpass its own expectations, hone your perspective, and make the most of your innate leadership ability in any situation regardless of team size and structure.

Cultivate Focus

To focus means to set aside time for difficult challenges and deep work. It requires eliminating distractions, honing in on what matters, and tackling your biggest challenges head-on. It means learning to apply mindfulness not just as a practice of self-improvement, but as a way of approaching all your important tasks and responsibilities.

Deresiewicz says, “it’s perfectly natural to have doubts, or questions, or even just difficulties. The question is, what do you do with them? Do you suppress them, do you distract yourself from them, do you pretend they don’t exist? Or do you confront them directly, honestly, courageously? If you decide to do so, you will find that the answers to these dilemmas… can only be found within – without distractions, without peer pressure, in solitude.”

Learn To Be Alone

Indeed, the central topic of Deresiewicz’s address is the importance of solitude. The only way to lead others is to get comfortable with being alone.

“I started by noting that solitude and leadership would seem to be contradictory things,” he says. “But it seems to me that solitude is the very essence of leadership. The position of the leader is ultimately an intensely solitary, even intensely lonely one. However many people you may consult, you are the one who has to make the hard decisions. And at such moments, all you really have is yourself.”

Whether you’re an introvert, an extrovert, or something in between, it is essential that you take time alone with your thoughts and feelings to better know yourself and build trust in your own counsel. This will give you the true bedrock confidence that will let your team relax and know you know what you’re doing. Whatever responsibilities you have as a manager and a leader, perhaps the greatest is to take the time and space you need for yourself.

Build Relationships

Solitude, according to Deresiewicz, “can mean introspection, it can mean the concentration of focused work, and it can mean sustained reading. All of these help you to know yourself better. But there’s one more thing I’m going to include as a form of solitude, and it will seem counter-intuitive: friendship. Of course, friendship is the opposite of solitude; it means being with other people. But I’m talking about one kind of friendship in particular, the deep friendship of intimate conversation. Long, uninterrupted talk with one other person. Not Skyping with three people and texting with two others at the same time while you hang out in a friend’s room listening to music and studying. That’s what Emerson meant when he said that ‘the soul environs itself with friends, that it may enter into a grander self-acquaintance or solitude.'”

As a leader, you must build a network of peers, mentors, and friends who want the best for you, who can see opportunities for you that you can’t, and who can engage with you in infinite games and deep, honest, fearless conversation. These are the relationships that most matter.

We’re All Creatives Now

Technology is changing the structures of business and society at a dizzying pace. We can no longer rely on the safety of convention. Managers and leaders must embrace the necessary skills and mindsets of creativity. We must innovate, improvise, think differently, and think positively.

The essence of creativity is courage. It’s not just for capital-C Creatives anymore. As a leader, you must be free to explore, have the intellectual honesty to critique your own ideas, and have the guts to defend them. That’s the sort of bold, compassionate leadership today’s team needs and wants.

At Artisan Creative, we have decades of experience helping leaders build winning teams and winning mindsets. Contact Artisan Creative today to start the conversation.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 541st issue of the a.blog.

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.

New Hire Onboarding Best Practices

Thursday, September 20th, 2018|

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.

Best Practices For Writing Job Descriptions

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018|

 

Writing a concise, precise, and compelling job description is an essential skill for managers, recruiters, HR professionals, and anyone with similar responsibilities. A good job description should be widely visible, narrow down your applicant pool to the most qualified, and inspire those top-tier candidates to follow through with their applications.

The best job descriptions do much of the hard work of recruiting, before you communicate with any candidates in person. When you learn to write effective job descriptions, you will build a stronger team and make better use of everyone’s time.

Writing high-quality job descriptions relies on an understanding of how communication works in the era of the internet and an appreciation for what your company does including why specific roles matter. If you write job descriptions, keep these best practices in mind.

Know Whom You’re Looking For

The better you understand your role, and what sort of candidate can best fill it and create success, the more effective job description you’re likely to write.

To draw the most qualified candidates and find people you will love to work with, start picturing your ideal applicant and what success looks like. Be as detailed as you can, addressing all the specifics of background, skills, experience, and attitude. Then, write your ad in reverse, as a description of that person.

When doing this exercise, it may help to use some of the formulas that marketers apply to crafting a “buyer persona.”

Regarding requirements and qualifications, make sure you distinguish between those that are truly “required” and those that are simply “nice to have,” or can be learned on the job. You may find a less seasoned candidate who makes up for it with an eagerness to learn.

Soup Up Your SEO

The majority of candidates who respond to an online job listing will discover it using search engine technology. Therefore, in order to communicate with people, you must first communicate with the robots and algorithms that drive online search.

Do some keyword research and make sure you’re using the most common and descriptive terms in your industry. Spend an hour learning the basics of SEO, and it will pay off in much wider exposure for your job ads and attention from more qualified applicants.

Be Mindful of Mobile

More and more people are searching for jobs using mobile devices, and this worldwide trend will only continue.

Therefore, when crafting your ads, make sure that you employ mobile-first copywriting techniques. Keep it short, break information up into small chunks, and place the most important information near the top of the description.

Also, be sure that your postings look good on various browsers and at various screen sizes. The web is constantly adapting, but it always pays to check before you put your job descriptions out into the world.

Stand Out

Considering the immense volume of job listings a typical job seeker is likely to see, your most crucial challenge when writing a job description is to be eye-catching and compelling, and to spark enthusiasm with your ideal candidate.

At Artisan Creative, we have over two decades of experience in matching top-tier creative professionals with opportunities they love. Contact us today to take the first step toward making your ideal match.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 465th issue of our a.blog.

Actioning Your Goals

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018|

Now that you’ve set your goals for the year and created your vision board,it’s important to devise a plan to stay on track and act on what you’ve set your mind to do.

In his book Triggers, Marshall Goldsmith says; “We are superior planners and inferior doers!” So in order to take action, we have to develop new habits, a razor-sharp focus, and be undeterred.

Below are some tools to help stay organized and focused and apply action to the plan at hand.

  1. Make the commitment! If they are truly important to you, then you owe it to yourself to commit to them. You set these goals for a reason.
  2. Keep to an organized calendar and protect your time. Great tools such as Toggle or Trello can be a huge benefit in managing your to-do list.
  3. Focus on the important matters. Urgent matters have a way of creeping in and taking over if you aren’t focused.
  4. Breakdown your to-do list into bite-size steps that need to happen daily or weekly for the goal to be accomplished.
  5. Add a timeline or date for accomplishing each step.
  6. Broadcast your goals and let your co-workers, friends, and family know so they can be your accountability partners.
  7. Ask for support where you need it. Delegating some tasks can open up your calendar to take care of the goals you have set.
  8. Know what you have to stop doing and be aware of your triggers, so you can adjust your mindset and offset any roadblocks. For example, let’s say your plan is to set workout routine 3 times a week. If you already know that you have more energy in the mornings or mid-day than after work, set your routine and go to the gym to work or during lunch. The temptation to skip a workout after a long day may be too easy if you are already tired or hungry.
  9. Celebrate every win. Every small win is a step in the right direction. Don’t wait to accomplish the goal until you celebrate.
  10. Forgive. Every so often, we all stumble. It’s ok. Just get back to your routine and the new habits you are trying to create.

Wishing you a great start to the new year.  If you are looking for a new career opportunity this year, or looking to hire your dream team, please get in touch.

We hope you enjoy the 457th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 

How to Achieve a Winning Mindset

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017|

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

– Michael Jordan

It’s easy enough to feel positive and optimistic when things are going well. However, to prevent burnout, turn setbacks into opportunities, and build a strong and reliable business, career, or life, we must develop a resilient winner’s mindset. This is crucial for those who are in the job-hunting or interview process.

Whether you’re currently up or down or experiencing success or setbacks in getting to the next level of interviews, when you internalize these core principles, you can be like Mike, a person who learns from mistakes, profits from adversity, and grows stronger and wiser over time.

Respect the Body-Mind Connection

Taking better care of our body can dramatically increase the strength, endurance, and potential of our minds. The stress of the job hunt can take a physical toll, which makes body health awareness and appropriate self-care all the more vital.

Along with increasing our strength, longevity, and life satisfaction, regular exercise can improve our brain chemistry. When we overcome inertia and achieve our fitness goals, it inspires us to meet our commitments and handle our responsibilities in other areas of life.

Our bodies turn food into energy. When we consume a healthy and balanced diet, our bodies convert it to a much-needed energy that helps us stay centered, steady, and optimistic through difficult times.

Get Good Information

Just as we must be mindful of what we eat, we must pay attention to our diet of information and intellectual stimulation.

Diversions and light entertainment are fine as long as they are balanced with useful and well-informed content. We should make time for educational and technical material that keeps us up to date, inspirational stories of those who have achieved important breakthroughs, and difficult work that broadens our minds, and challenges our assumptions. .

We don’t exist in a vacuum – cultivating the right environment is tremendously important to thrive and succeed. If you replace negative input with enriching and positive media, you will find that your thoughts follow suit and so will your perspective.

You don’t need to spend all of your time just reading the classics – practice critical thinking about what you read and watch. Ask yourself, “what is the frame of reference here? Why does it exist, what assumptions are baked into it, and what can I learn from this that will help me build a winning mindset?”

You will gradually find yourself focusing more on work that reflects your values, and getting more optimistic as a result. And you will certainly be sharper in interviews, in meetings, and on the job.

Keep Things In Perspective

We cannot be defined by our mistakes and setbacks – as long as we stay in the game, we will ultimately benefit from challenging experiences and the learning opportunities they give us.

Likewise, we cannot let winning go to our heads. Every small victory should be celebrated, as it gives us the courage to reach higher goals. As we celebrate victories, we must remind ourselves that there is more work to be done. We cannot adequately prepare for the future if we rest on past achievements.

Stay proud in defeat and humble in victory. In this way, we can avoid the fate of the “one-hit wonder” and always play the long game, in the job hunt as in life.

A simple, daily mindfulness practice can be a tremendous help in maintaining the equanimity we need to stay agile and not let our good or bad experiences define us too strictly.

Move Beyond Zero-Sum Thinking

Many of our games and rituals are based on the notion that, for us to win, someone else has to lose. This represents a “zero-sum” or scarcity-based mentality, wherein we are competing for limited resources. In reality, things rarely work this way. We can usually get what we want without hurting others.

Our most pressing challenges and greatest opportunities lie in increasing the overall wealth and resources available to human society. We can disrupt old structures and cultivate new ideas from the assumption that everyone can benefit from our work, including those we may see as competition. We have our differences, and our best thinking springs from a willingness to better provide for all of humanity.

When we do our best work with the intention to do what’s right, everyone ultimately benefits. When we transcend zero-sum thinking and adopt an abundance mindset, we open a wealth of opportunity for ourselves, our communities, and the world at large.

Be Grateful To Everyone

To psychologically ground ourselves and maintain a balanced perspective, nothing is more important than a regular practice of gratitude.

This is easier said than done, particularly when many factors seem arrayed against us, in a job search or other endeavors. But no matter where we are personally or professionally, we must take stock of the many advantages and privileges we have.

If your job search has been challenging, try a simple “loving-kindness” practice. Be grateful to yourself, and slowly extend that outward to your loved ones, to strangers, and to the entire world. Just by giving it a try, you will open your mind to abundance and generosity, which will help you cope with any problems that come your way.

The more grateful you are, the more “luck” you are likely to have, as others perceive you as a source of goodwill, strength, and comfort in their own tough journeys.

At Artisan Creative, we help creative professionals at all levels of expertise build rewarding careers by sharing job search best practices and interview tips. Contact us today to learn more.

 

We hope you enjoy the 450th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 

How to Improve Your Presentation Skills

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017|

Great presentations communicate information that audiences can retain and act on. As a presenter, it is crucial that you capture your audience’s attention for as long as it takes so your message can resonate.  Many people have to present at some point in their career–whether its for a client pitch, an internal presentation, a job interview or a presentation to your team, it’s critital to be engaging, be articulate and memorable.

As you plan your presentation, there are several key steps you can take to make sure that it’s engaging and “sticky” throughout. If you use slides, they should be stylish, eye-catching, and appropriate for your presentation’s content and tone. (If you are not an experienced presentation designer, collaborate with one – contact Artisan if you need help in this area.) Here are more tips that professionals use to make their presentations engaging, entertaining, and effective.

Plan Your Presentation in Ten-Minute Chunks

In her essential book 100 Things Every Presenter Needs to Know About People, Susan M. Weinschenk, Ph.D., claims that the maximum amount of time a presenter can assume their audience will stay engaged is about seven to ten minutes. And, that’s if they’re interested in the speaker and the subject matter.

“A typical presentation is longer than seven to ten minutes,” Weinschenk writes. “Presentations are often an hour long. This means you have to find ways to make changes at least every seven minutes in order to get people to pay attention. It’s easy, as the presenter, to forget that your audience’s attention may be waning. As the presenter, you are having a very different experience than your audience: You have adrenaline flowing because you are on stage, you are in the throes of a performance, and you are physically moving. The members of your audience, on the other hand, are sitting in chairs, and their minds are easily wandering.”

In order to work with this tendency, plan “mini-breaks” into the structure of your presentation, at 7-to-10-minute intervals. These could be pauses for Q&A, stretch breaks, interactive activities, games, or transitions, such as stories or noticeable shifts in tone. If you plan for natural ebbs in attention, work with the nature of your audience’s minds, rather than against it.

Be Unusual

People are naturally bored by the expected and routine. Our brains are designed to tune out familiar signals so we can focus on what’s new, relevant, exciting, important, and even potentially dangerous.

When your audience sits down for your presentation, they do so with certain expectations. To get and hold their attention, try to confound those expectations in whatever way is appropriate for the setting and material.

This could mean experimenting with your format and structure, explaining your material in a novel way, using personal stories, displaying vulnerability, or working in jokes and humor. (If you don’t think you’re a comedian, you should know that being funny is a skill you can learn and practice. Books such as The Comic Toolbox: How to Be Funny Even If You’re Not by Jon Vorhaus and Step-By-Step to Stand-Up Comedy by Greg Dean can change your professional life, even if you don’t plan to take your act to the Catskills.)

Read the Room

One of the most important skills of a stand-up comedian is the ability to “read the room,” or call out situations that are happening in their surroundings. This disarms potential distractions by making them a part of the show, rather than a competing stimulus.

For example, if the room is hot and everyone is hungry, it won’t help to pretend these things aren’t true. Instead, make a joke out of them, or relate them to your material somehow. Anything that is already on your audience’s minds is a source of material. Being explicit about it breaks the tension, goes against expectations, and may even get a laugh.

Keep It Simple

Even if your topic is very complex or abstract, your presentation must be simple. If you overload your audience with information, they won’t retain any of it. They will pay more attention when they are confident they will be able to digest the material.

In your slides, use short, simple sentences and lists with numbers or bullet points. Communicate in pictures, sounds, and feelings. If there is too much material to effectively cover, provide a URL for those interested to do more research and get the longer version of the story. (If you use a special “tracking URL,” this can also be useful for digital marketing purposes.)

Being a compelling presenter isn’t just for politicians, rock stars and TED Talkers – it’s an important skill for every creative professional. Fortunately, almost anyone can learn it. If you want to also improve your public speaking skills, you can contact Toastmasters for classes near you.

Contact us to learn more, and find out how enhancing your presentation skills and getting the right people’s attention can supercharge your career.  We hope you enjoy the 445th issue of our weekly  a.blog.

 

6 Questions for Coaching Your Staff

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017|

Concepts proven to be successful at the top levels of the business world are often just as effective throughout every level of the organization. To make the most of your team’s engagement and growth as well as improve retention and morale, we’re sharing a few models from the world of executive coaching.

When he works with high-powered executives, well-known and in-demand business coach Marshall Goldsmith, uses a “six question” model, which he summarizes in a Huffington Post article. His model works equally well when helping employees maximize their potential and determine how they can best fit with their team and help drive the company mission.

Use these six questions in your coaching or review sessions to empower your staff.

1. Where are we going?

Each member of the team has a unique perspective that lends itself to specific, valuable insights on how the company can evolve to better meet its objectives. Asking team members for their observations and insights on the company at large can generate useful ideas for growth and change. It also makes them feel invested in the company’s future and lets them know that their perspectives are valued.

2. Where are you going?

Many job interviews include questions such as, “where do you want to be in three to five years?” As employees become tenured and experienced, it is important to maintain that conscious focus on the future. Change is the only constant, for organizations and individuals alike. Check in on how individual team members are changing and growing, and how that relates to the company and their roles within it.

3. What is going well?

Share where the employee is excelling, then allow them to point out, celebrate, and take credit for their strengths and achievements. This will help them focus on what they do best and continue to build their strongest skills. It helps set a positive tone, so that any challenge can be tackled with optimism.

4. What are key areas for improvement?

Start this section with their suggestions for self improvement, as it’s important to ask the employee to commit, via greater self awareness. Everyone has areas where they could be a bit more effective. Gently drawing attention to these areas of potential growth casts a light on them and makes it easier to improve through mindfulness, effort, and diligence.

5. How can I help?

As much as you may foster an atmosphere of collaboration and inclusion, some employees may feel isolated, left out of important decisions and discussions, or insecure about asking for the resources and guidance. This question lets them know that they have your support and opens an opportunity for dialog.

6. What suggestions do you have for me?

This brings the conversation full-circle. Just as team members may have revealing perspectives on the company as a whole, they might also be able to provide insights that can help their supervisors and hiring managers grow. Let them know that you value their feedback, and you also appreciate opportunities to strengthen your skills as a manager, and create an atmosphere of mutual respect.

In our 20+ years of connecting creative talent with top clients, we have gained knowledge and built strong networks.  Contact us today to discover how we can apply our expertise to help you build your dream team.

We hope you enjoy the 442nd issueof our weekly a.blog.

Tips for Employee Engagement

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017|

Creating a strong, engaged, efficient and successful team results from diligent recruiting, targeted hiring, effective onboarding, and ongoing training. When properly orchestrated, this process can lead to higher retention, attracting fresh talent while keeping your existing core members engaged.

According to recent statistics, nearly half of American workers leave their jobs within a year of being hired. More than 40% leave within their first six months. Numbers vary across industries, but clearly, in all areas, there are opportunities for organized, mindful, and emphatic practices to improve staff retention.

Keeping the right people happy and engaged for the long haul makes all the difference. At Artisan Creative, some of our greatest satisfaction comes from watching teams connect and grow over time.

To that end, we’d like to share a few guiding principles to help hiring managers select and retain top talent.

Set Expectations

Whether you’re onboarding new talent or working with tenured team members, it is crucial to be as transparent as possible. Each position has its own challenges and responsibilities that may not be immediately apparent and may shift over time. 

Communicate goals, responsibilities and expectations early and as needed.  Include the team in the big picture so they understand why a specific task is being requested.

Foster an all-pervasive atmosphere of transparency, and trust, in order to retain the talent you need to succeed.

Share Feedback

Many employees report leaving their jobs due in part to a lack of appreciation, understanding, and feedback. As a hiring manager, best practices include holding regular check-ins and creating buddy systems. 

To make sure employees have the support they need to succeed, provide specific, honest, and constructive feedback on a regular basis. Depending on your company culture, team size, or location of your team members, you may have to define what a “regular check-in” means to you. Marshall Goldsmith, a leadership coach and author of several management books recommends at minimum to set quarterly meetings.

Acknowledge that team members have lives outside of work and do what it takes to make sure their jobs support them through any significant life transitions. Be prepared to work with them to strengthen the professional relationship through whatever outside forces may arise. Holistic support builds ironclad loyalty.

Reward Success with Opportunity

When employees adapt to their responsibilities, accept their challenges, and make their jobs their own, they have earned opportunities to build on their success.

Make sure that all employees can clearly envision a path to advancement, whether this comes through promotions, increases, or other rewards. As with any relationship, it is important to maintain the sense of optimism with which it began. Make sure that no one ever feels taken for granted.

When employees find that more focused effort reaps richer rewards, they will reciprocate and make the most of your shared opportunities.  Building success is a marathon, not a sprint.

 

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years, we have worked with a range of creative talent and clients. Our experience gives us the tools and understanding to help professional relationships thrive. We would love to share that with you and your organization. Contact us today to learn more.

We hope you enjoy the 441st issue of our weekly a.blog.

4 Effective Meeting Formats

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017|

Although many in-person meetings are still held in offices or conference rooms, try leaving the office behind where possible to promote flexible thinking and energized collaboration.  Managers are creating playful and unconventional environments to help their teams think differently.

Some innovative companies have found that fresh and powerful insights can emerge when they challenge conventional notions of how meetings are conducted and bring people together by holding different meeting formats.

Here are four meeting formats that startups and large corporations have used to bring colleagues together in new and refreshing ways. If you want to treat your team to a dash of the unexpected, give one of these meetings a try!

Walking Meetings

With the popularity of standing desks and on-site gyms, it is clear that creative professionals and companies prize fitness and physical activity. Incorporating exercise into routine activities has been proven to increase creativity.

Walking meetings are a part of this trend. Instead of sitting in a conference room or office, many teams have found that moving their muscles, getting their hearts pumping, getting fresh air and experiencing a change of scenery can be more fun and productive. Harvard Business Review has some best practices for walking meetings

Active Meetings

If everyone in your group is up for breaking a sweat, you might try a meeting that entails additional physical activity.

In Fast Company, Stephanie Vozza shares unusual meeting formats from twelve cutting-edge companies. For example, Genera Games, holds meetings on the basketball court. Such a meeting can drive nimble thinking, allow players to indulge their competitive streaks, and, in the case of Genera, helps put employees in the mindset of the mobile gamers who use their products.

Creative Meetings

At Plum Organics, team members are encouraged to hit the books – coloring books. As they meet and discuss business matters, they engage “right-brained” thought by using paper, colored pencils, and crayons to jog neurons that aren’t often in play in such settings.

According to Innovation Director Jen Brush, as featured in Vozza’s piece, an activity such as coloring promotes active listening, an important workplace skill that suffers when employees are “multitasking on something like email.”

Brush holds coloring meetings every Thursday and says they have been an important factor in developing new products.

Gamified Meetings

Another example in Vozza’s article is Darrell Ghert, a VP at the Inqusium division of Cvent. In the past, the quality of Ghert’s meetings suffered from chronic lateness – some team members consistently showed up ten minutes behind schedule. This problem was a stubborn fixture of the office culture, not something he could fix by making threats.

Rather than getting frustrated, Ghert came up with a fun idea to help team members modify their behavior. Anyone who is late to one of his meetings is now required to sing. “We’ve heard the national anthem, happy birthday, and nursery rhymes,” he says. However, these performances have become more rare, as almost everyone now shows up on time.

This sort of gamification is a step beyond the traditional rewards and demerits of the workplace – it is a system that improves processes while also itself serving as an example of creative thinking and problem-solving.

At Artisan Creative, we are deeply engaged with the changing culture of the workplace and want to help our world-class creative talent and clients do their best work, take advantage of new opportunities, and mine crucial insights that can change the world. Contact us today to learn more.

We are celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years, we’ve learned a thing or two that we’d like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 438th issue of our weekly a.blog.