WORDS OF WISDOM

This guest posting on my blog will be the first of many from people I respect and have worked with in our wonderful industry. Leslie Edelman and I first met many years ago when she produced a project for me for GoRV with The Richard’s Group. She is a very dynamic person who can charm anyone to do ANYTHING………are you blushing Leslie…..:) I respect her because she comes from a fine art background and has been in our business for many years. She does not get frazzled and has a wealth of experience.

I asked her to post something that she felt passionate about, I think its right on and I truly appreciate this insight. Thank’s GURL!

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A creative methodology to consider

I’ve always liked the line ‘You’ve come a long way’s baby…’

But, as far as we’ve all come in our careers, I love a healthy reminder of how to freshen my approach or perspective. In this wee-post, Im going to make some assumptions; you are either a client, a crew member or a shooter. I think I can speak for most of us, because together, we’ve explored the nooks and crannies of this fine business, considered ourselves lucky to have these dream jobs, and found our place within it.

We’re successful in this industry because we all have something in common; we’re collaborators. The best part of us might be creative or technically gifted, but still we all have to be professional and amazing at building relationships. This recently struck home for me, as I was writing thank-you notes to a couple of photographers that were not selected for a campaign. They both wrote back that no one ever does that anymore..and the rep thanked me as well. A thank you note for a thank you note? Well, it’s nice to be validated, but, digging deeper, what’s going on here?

Sure, you could say its relationship building but, more than that, we’re role playing a commitment model. Im committed to working with top talent, and they’re committed to being top talent. For some it comes easy..we’re in the habit of working within the ‘circle of trust’ (I love it when De Niro says it!) As a re-fresher I thought it would be fun to un-pack this old model and lightly walk through the methodology.

First the we need to acknowledge that TRUST and CARE are at the center of any relationship, whether it is a client, friend or family – you have to CARE in order to build TRUST. Creating commitments that build trust are key to supporting each other in work or home. We have all experienced that TRUST can erode over time, and its making commitments to each other that continually builds healthy productive relationships.

Next, the commitment model has for phases
1) Request / Offer
2) Negotiation
3) Performance
4) Assessment

(see model)

I hope this doesn’t sound ‘gooey’ – because some of the language here can sound like we’re ready to walk down the isle…but, walking through each phase with clarity gives each client or performer a chance to express their needs. You can see the client often kicks off the project with a request, then its up to the performer to ask for clarity and negotiate. It make a big difference when you ask someone; what would make this job go perfectly for you? And always remember to ask – ‘by when’ if it isn’t stated – not knowing or assuming the conditions of satisfaction can erode trust.

As we move through the circle of completing tasks, getting approvals and thanking the weather-god for a ‘foggy day’ (yes, Im in San Francisco) we often move on to the next project before the the one we’re in has been wrapped up. We all need to ‘close the loop’ not only with the big jobs, but, with every engagement we enter. It’s critical that we remember to CARE for our colleagues, friends, by taking the time to assess and give feedback.

When we give feedback, whether you’re being supportive, critical or destructive, ask yourself – are you acting within the commitment model or stepping out of the model by eroding trust? When we come from a place of caring and empathy – we help each other grow and be our best.

Don’t we all expect the people we work with to be their best? Not every moment, but they should know when to shine…and how can they do that, if we didn’t trust them? Or if we didn’t care? We exist in a circle of commitment, every moment. And, because we’re creative in a creative industry it can be expressed in a myriad of wonderful and unexpected ways.  I know with Andy, I just tell him, ‘I’ll kick his ass next time I see him in SF & bring the Charmin!’ and he’ll be laughing thinking of all our bad jokes for days.

You know who you are; Thank YOU for the thank you notes, to my thank you – Im totally committed. Or after you’ve read this you probably think; committable.