I was recently reading Scott Belsky’s book, Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality (amazing read by the way) and thought I would share a few points, as we’ve all encountered this obstacle of leading a creative project (or any project, really) in our respective fields, whether Creative Director, Art Director, Brand Manager, Photographer, etc.
This reinforces the ongoing theme I develop in my work philosophy: empowering ourselves to develop those leadership skills and how Climbing, Arts and Entrepreneurship can all get us there. I found that the Creative Leadership topic developed by Scott Belsky was worth sharing:
« CREATIVE JOURNEYS all begin with a spark in one person’s mind. From day one, the challenge is to get others to understand and support the idea as though it were their own. But leadership is not about making people do things. Leadership is about instilling a genuine desire in the hearts and minds of others to take ownership of their work on a project. Only then can we act together, motivated by a shared purpose. »
This emphasizes the importance of leadership in all creative endeavors (whether an artist, photographer, creative or art director, brand director, …) and there is no doubt that good leadership is hard to attain. In order to get there, it is all the more necessary to be at peace and clear with our motivators, whether in a job, project, or career, … and to know WHY we chose this path (or job, or company, or career). In the middle of challenges and difficult moments, this is precisely when those reasons allow us to think clearly about the obstacle, and enjoy the process rather than just focus on the outcome. This is exactly what lead climbing taught me, and that I want to touch upon in the next article (for the outline of this piece, you can head here).
Belsky continues with:
« Across industries, I have found much in common among creative leaders who are able to consistently motivate a team to push ideas to fruition. These admired leaders are able to share ownership of their ideas, operate amidst adversity, and identify and develop high-potential team members. Through your own experiences managing others or being managed, you must develop your capacity to manage a creative team through the long, challenging pursuit to make ideas happen. »
Making ideas happen, and bringing a vision to existence, is something that I am sure we have all struggled with at some point. It is true of building a brand, creating a new marketing project for a product, launching a company, or making the photographs that will capture that vision perfectly.
While there are many good ideas, it is execution that matters most. And being able to have a team work smoothly together, with each member bringing its best contribution to the project, certainly requires good creative leadership. Beyond that, it also requires to be able to trust the process once you set yourself (and your team) in motion. Without spoiling the future articles about this particular point (which I will develop again here), this is also something you have to learn and nurture, whether in climbing, or any sports, arts, or starting a company.
Sometimes the best discoveries and creations reveal themselves in the process too…