Tip: Don't Allow it to Become "Precious."
Taking on more clients needing creative direction instead of artwork, I've started to develop processes more in tuned with working & leading teams. One of the tightropes that us creative types have to walk is the attachment we feel to the work and the things we create, coupled with the fact that our task is to create a solution and let it live. At some point we have to let it go. That process becomes compounded when you are woking as part of a team or even the dreaded "design by committee" approach. Many times, we don't have a choice in how we work as the parameters come down as a part of the project. So I have developed a very simple way to sway with the creative winds, in that very zen way; keep the ideas from being precious by giving them away before you become protective.
So what do I mean by "precious?" That moment—that time when you think your own idea is the greatest thing, including sliced bread. You hedge, you protect, you guard you idea more fiercely than Smaug and it becomes more precious that well… the "Precious" was to Gollum. Funny, but that's exactly how we creatives get. And I'm not only speaking of just the visual, but the creative direction, the writing, the project management. It takes a bit of bravery and humility, and it has to bravely take place long before you get those twinges of protectiveness. There is also the added benefit of authentic collaboration and communication because the idea—no matter the source—becomes a touchstone, something that everyone has touched and been in on from the beginning. In the end, all everyone truly wants is a seat at the table.
Below is the process that I have developed to ward off the monster that can become detrimental to the end-goals when working in groups or teams:
1. Develop the idea - It all starts with what you already know how to do. Do your work, and do it the way you do it best. That's at the core, you are still a valued professional and you must do your job.
2. Hand it off, willingly - Truly relinquish the work to another member or sub-group. Don't do it conditionally or begrudgingly. Willingly pass the work on—not for critique or opinion, but in true relay fashion to be actively worked on by another part of the team. Doesn't matter if its writers, art directors, production designers, etc. You put an idea into the pot, so let it stew.
3. Offer the same help to another - There is an old adage that says, "a watched pot never boils." So very true. Get away from your idea, don't look over your (nor their) shoulder asking how it's going. Turn your focus to the task at hand, which at this point is lending your expertise to another portion of the project or work.
4. Play nicely with others and keep the ball rolling - If, by chance, you happen to get the opportunity to revisit the nugget you sent out into the room, remember that now you enter at a point when the thing you began is now new to you. Continue to do your job, be that expert. Don't lament changes that may have happened. Roll with the task at hand and keep pushing that bolder over the hill.
5. Support the final product in full - Nuff said!