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Direction for Creative Directors, 10 Guiding Principles

Image Credit: Unsplash  "My Life Through a Lens"  by  @bamagal

Image Credit: Unsplash "My Life Through a Lens" by @bamagal

10 Guiding Principles for Creative Directors

A Creative Director's job is simple, provide the focus and intention for our teams to create great work that in turn creates customer and business value.

Simple, right? Perhaps.

In an effort to help other creatives I've cultivated 10 guidelines informed by my time as a Creative Director over the last 10 years. Think of this as pothole prevention for those of you just coming into a Creative Director role and or aspiring to be. For experienced Creative Directors please let me know if you have additional guiding principles and or comments on the ones provided below. I would love to hear your thoughts.

1. We are the first ones in and the last line of defense for our teams. Be prepared to lay down in traffic for them.

2. Your team is your client, you work in service of them, not the other way around. 

3. Provide focus and intention with clear roles, goals, and plans. Hint: Start by knowing your audience and writing good creative briefs that your team can work from. 

4. You must have done and or be prepared to do anything you ask your team to do. 

5. Listen, be selfless and kill your ego, whilst propping others up so they can one day take your job.

6. Hire smart creatives, don't suffer a**holes. Your team culture, written down or not, is determined by the worst thing you allow.

7. Travel often and read fervently to stay current while not succumbing to ephemeral trends. 

8. Your team isn't your second pair of hands. Our job is to inspire them and be a catalyst for their great ideas, not to give them prescriptive direction.

9. Deadlines aren't literal. Please, please, bring and encourage levity. BTW if your team makes fun of you, while in front of you, that's a good sign. 

10. You should hold the bigger picture in your head. Understand the continuum of the customer experience and the business methods employed along the customer journey; strategy, research, marketing, sales, customer service, account management, media, etc. "Creative" is just one small part of the experience but is informed by all the other moving parts.

Lagniappe A.K.A. A little something extra

11. Don't go after awards. Just like money, if that's your goal it's less likely to happen. Awards happen as a result of chasing down good work, not the other way around.

Those are my rules, what are yours? please share in the comments section below.