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Creative Start-up, Part 4: Assessment and Planning

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In-House Business Startup Journal Part 4
The first task I undertake when starting a new creative services leadership job is to assess the situation. After about a month I typically have a good understanding of what’s going on, and can start putting together my big plan for the department.
While I want to be careful not to over-generalize, I can still pretty much categorize any current state of affairs into one of three scenarios:

  • The current creative services process and infrastructure is working, but needs to be fine-tuned to best serve our clients.
  • The current creative services process and infrastructure is not working and needs a top-to-bottom retooling.
  • There is no discernable creative services process and infrastructure, and one needs to be established.

Each of these scenarios provides it’s own unique challenge and any plan I put together will absolutely require buy-in from my boss, my team, and our clients, in order to be successful. But if there is one thing I’ve learned over the years, you can’t change too much, too fast. Sure people say they want change, and leaders have even recognized change is needed. But things have been working a certain way  – good, bad, or otherwise – since before I came onto the scene. So change can end up being disruptive, destructive, and counter-productive, if handled in a cavalier manner.
While my gut tells me we need to flip a switch on Monday and have things work in a new way, my experience – and observations of human behavior – tells me that change really needs to be incremental or I’m at risk for clients getting things done the way they used to, undermining the new process and potentially compromising the company’s strategic plans.
Sometimes when developing a change implementation plan, dialing it down from 11 to 6 is a good thing.
I will be at the InHOWse Managers Conference this June 21-23 in Boston. Won’t you join me and other in-house leaders to share stories and learn from each other? Early bird deadline extended to April 30. Details here and register here.
I’ll also be leading the InSource roundtable on Career Paths for the Creative Leader in conjunction with the HOW Design Live! events. Pre-register now to hold your seat. Details to follow.

Written by Andy Brenits

Andy Brenits is Principal of Brenits Creative, and President of the Board of Directors of InSource. An experienced mentor and teacher, Andy has taught undergraduate and graduate classes at Pratt Institute, Rowan University, The Art Institute of Phoenix,, and most recently at Columbia University. When he isn’t proactively managing his to-do list, he’s busy cooking and taking photographs of his cactus flowers and family.

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