What Every Creative Needs- Permission

Featuring Scott Allen Posted on March 28, 2009

Permission? Yep, that’s right – permission. In working with creative people I have discovered a common thread in most every one of them. Creatives need to know that it’s OK to be a creative. I’m not referring to verbal permission. That usually comes across as condescending. Best case it comes across as awkward.

Creative permission is usually best expressed in seemingly intangible ways. Trust me, creatives are extremely tuned in to the subtle nuances of their work environment. Let’s talk for a minute about some of the ways that creative permission can be expressed.

1. RESPECT: A creative professional has worked and invested greatly to cultivate their ability. Treat them as professionals. Let them have a voice and freedom to express their thoughts regarding their contribution to the organization. They will only stay in a corporate box a short time if there’s no outlet for their expression.

2. ENVIRONMENT: This could be as little as a wall color or as big as providing a non-traditional workspace. Having a little freedom in their workspace communicates that the organization understands the creative’s need for inspiration.

3. PERSONAL EXPRESSION: Come on, does it really matter if they come to work with a funky haircut or dress more hip-than-thou? It does to them. If it’s not breaking a moral or conduct code, why not embrace the expressiveness?

4. TOOLS: Creative professionals need professional tools. Please don’t make the artist try to create something cool in MS Publisher – they need Adobe Creative Suite. Same for musicians and all of your creative people. If you value their contribution, give them the proper tools to represent you well. Which brings me to number five…

5. BUDGET: Creative professionals need to upgrade their equipment regularly to stay ahead of the curve. It can be an expensive proposition, but, like it or not, the budget that your creative teams are given communicates to them. It will either communicate that you appreciate their contribution enough to set them up for success or that they are the “back burner” so to speak.