Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mentoring

I just found out one of my first mentors passed away. The sad thing is that it happened in November of 08. Life gets in the way and you lose touch with people you shouldn't. The world is definitely a lesser place today without her.

She was one that was always smiling, regardless of how late we had to work. She always had encouraging words to say. And she always wanted you to push the boundaries as a creative. She made it fun, but made sure you accomplished what you needed to. She also had a great naming system for her copy files, like "stupid stuff 1". It always cracked me up. 

As I reflect on this, it reminds me of why I've always taken mentoring so seriously throughout my career. It is a crucial part of what we do as creative thinkers and managers. We all know how a fragile a bunch us creatives are. We are in constant need of encouragement, gratitude and the feeling that we have the opportunity to push the boundaries.

She taught me many things that I have carried forward and used to mentor others when given the opportunity. I think too many people and businesses in the creative and marketing industry forget to do the simple things for their staff, employees and clients. I've come up with a list that I believe everyone should follow as they are put into a position of management and mentorship. I hope you find this helpful and you get to see just how important it is and the impact it makes on younger creatives. And, how simple it is to execute.

1. Encourage all to push the boundaries - because the farther you push, even though they (those clients of ours) always bring you back, you can usually get one step farther each time.

2. Offer opportunities for growth - seminars, expos, new projects… Because all creatives want more!

3. Say "Thank You" to someone that works for you or with you EVERY DAY! You'd be amazed at how far these two words go.

4. When critiquing, give guidance, but not answers. This allows them to think differently, to provide a new solution or approach if necessary. It also gives them the ownership and confidence when successful.

5. Leave the door open - ALWAYS. Communication is paramount. Anything and everything should be discussed. But set some guidelines so you can get your own work done.

6. Leave the politics to the politicians. Too many people in this industry, and any industry for that matter, want nothing more than to advance and will do anything they can to accomplish that. Everyone has to get up and go to work. It shouldn't be in an environment where we constantly have to look over our shoulders. Especially with the hours we put in.

7. Be honest. There's not much more that can be said about this.

8. Have fun. What other industry do you know that is as much fun and laid back as this?

9. Be nice. It makes working with/for you that much more enjoyable.

10. Sit back and watch. You'll be amazed at the change in attitude and the improvement of creative output this will create.

Hope you all have a great day.

- The Brand Man

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