Creative Leadership

for creative professionals and those who work with them.

What’s the difference between creative innovators and, um… everyone else?

We live and work in a world in which creativity is the backbone to entrepreneurship and the key to happy differentiation from whomever we might consider the “competition.” Yet many creative people don’t succeed as managers, and many managers and leaders struggle to manage them. But don’t throw that baby out with the bathwater—not just yet.


There are leadership strategies that are considered highly effective in a business context that don’t seem to succeed when developing new ideas. Why is it that managing a team of innovators and artists is sometimes compared to “cat herding?” How do you create the context in which these people will thrive if you goal is to develop new products and services from within your organization, or if you’ve acquired a small company whose people and creative output are its main asset?


We live in a world of plentiful and sometimes wonderful ideas and concepts, and some of these have made their way into finished products and services that we value the most. As you learn about how these projects went from inception to completion, does it ever seem almost as if random chance played nearly as essential a role as hard work and effective planning? Learning to recognize what is working early in the process and quickly understanding what roadblocks need to be removed is vital to smooth execution later in the process, when many more resources are required and deadlines come into play.


in any successful venture, it is a singular human vision which must be reflected in the final work. When a product or project fails, it can often be seen, in hindsight at least, to be the victim of too many competing priorities that have led to approaches that clearly haven’t worked. Whether we call the leader of a project the director, designer, boss or braintrust, it is the responsibility of leadership to be the immune system of the project, continually rejecting what’s not working and insisting on what does.