The Crazy One

Ep 36 Listener questions: When do you ask for a raise, making remote teams work and valuing creative talent

April 16, 2017 Stephen Gates Episode 36
The Crazy One
Ep 36 Listener questions: When do you ask for a raise, making remote teams work and valuing creative talent
Chapters
The Crazy One
Ep 36 Listener questions: When do you ask for a raise, making remote teams work and valuing creative talent
Apr 16, 2017 Episode 36
Stephen Gates

Answering listener questions about how you can pick the right time to ask for a raise or promotion, the best way to negotiate your raise, how you can get remote teams to work together more seamlessly, and a discussion of how companies should value and hire creative talent.

SHOW NOTES:
http://thecrazy1.com/episode-36-listener-questions-when-do-you-ask-for-a-raise-making-remote-teams-work-and-valuing-creative-talent/
 
FOLLOW THE CRAZY ONE:
Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook 

Show Notes Transcript

Answering listener questions about how you can pick the right time to ask for a raise or promotion, the best way to negotiate your raise, how you can get remote teams to work together more seamlessly, and a discussion of how companies should value and hire creative talent.

SHOW NOTES:
http://thecrazy1.com/episode-36-listener-questions-when-do-you-ask-for-a-raise-making-remote-teams-work-and-valuing-creative-talent/
 
FOLLOW THE CRAZY ONE:
Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook 

Stephen Gates :

Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, or at least those that are old enough to figure out how to subscribe to a podcast. Welcome to the 36th episode of The Crazy One podcast. As always, I'm your host, Stephen Gates. And this is the show where we talk about creativity, leadership design, and a whole host of other things that matter to creative people. So today, we're gonna do another listener question show, and I do the show to try to help the creative community I try to give back I want to share some of the knowledge that I've gained over the years and I just don't feel like there's a whole lot of people talking about the things that I feel like need to get talked about. Now at the end of every show, I asked you to go out and give the Facebook page alike or to reach out to me over social media if you have more questions if there are more things you want me to talk about. Now I don't just do that for marketing and I don't just do it for my ego. I do it because I generally want to engage with you. I want to make the show a living thing I want to share more answer more questions make this more of a dialogue than a one way communication. So this week, I want to answer three more questions that came in from listeners. Before Before I do that, I also want to make this an invitation. If there's something that you want to ask if there's something that you want to find out about, go to the Facebook page, go to social media and ask me, the ones that are the quick and easy ones, I'll answer, right? They're the ones that I feel like maybe they deserve. Well, they probably deserve a bit more of an explanation than what I'm gonna be able to type up there. Well, then those are the things I'm going to put into these shows. But in either case, the reason why I want to be able to do this through social media, is I want the discussion to be out in the open. I want people to be able to participate to learn so that we all can learn and it's not just a bunch of one way communications that are trapped in emails. I believe that with the way that I work, I believe it here. So like I said, this is an invitation. If you have one of those questions, feel free to write in and I'll be happy to answer them. Let's jump into the show. The first question comes from the two hosts of the high resolution podcast, who are Bobby Groeschel and Jared rando. Now the one thing I'll say is that if you're going to listen to one other podcast besides this one, make it there's because I think I made the choice of my podcasts that I didn't want to do an interview. series, I didn't want to go out and talk to people because I felt like there are a lot of other people that were doing that and they were probably doing better than me that for this one, I had a point of view that I wanted to convey. But I think that what Bobby and Jared are doing is exceptional. And so what they've done is they have gone through and picked out 25 what they think are the best design leaders that are out there doing right now. And they've gone out and interviewed them to try to get their, their take their perspective, their insight on a whole host of different topics. And a lot of this are people that I deeply, deeply respect. It's the Scott Belsky 's of the world. And just a ton of other people that I think are really really great leaders at companies like Spotify and Facebook and Microsoft and Uber and on and on. So the thing that I'll tell you is that if you want to go follow one other podcast, if you find this one valuable, I guarantee you, you're going to find this valuable as well. Also because coming up in Episode 15 yours truly will making an appearance in that series. So this is not a shameless plug. I guess it sort of is but it is a plug for this show because I think whether I was on it it or not, I would recommend it. I think that's the best thing that I can say about it. But it really is one of those things where you can learn a lot from it from a lot of other perspectives besides just mine. So go out and do yourself a favor and give that a look. But they wrote in and the question that they had was, was simple, but I think again, it was one that deserved the time and attention I wanted to give to on the show. So what they asked was, how can designers time asking for a raise properly? And what's the best way to negotiate? Now this is an interesting one, because I think in a lot of cases in the past, you've heard me talk about how designers need to learn business, probably more than they need to learn a lot of other things right now. But I think that this is a long standing problem that creatives have had this is a long standing problem. Because the reality is, is that I would say that asking for a raise, probably arguably just like all of your career management. It has to be strategic. It has to be thoughtful. It has to be a business case that is put behind this and I think that's not the case. For nearly enough people. And so I think that for me, whether it's my career management raises, promotions, anything like that, I've tried to be very thoughtful and strategic. But let's start with how do I see most people do it, because I've also run creative teams for a really long time. So I've had the benefit of both perspectives, I have the benefit of someone who wants to get promoted, who wants to get raises, just like everybody else. But I'm also somebody who is then in control of those things. So I can see kind of both sides of the house. So here are two ways not to do it. I think that one of them, which you see a lot is that people just we'll simply pick an arbitrary time, some life event, they had a good project, like something, they decided just kind of gave them the courage to be able to go and say, Okay, now is the time to make a stand, to get that raise to ask for more money, and I'm just going to be able to kind of say, okay, now's the time. The other one that I see a lot are people who think that raises and promotions should be based on how long you've worked someplace. And without one, there's one thing that I can tell you is that, to my knowledge, the only place where the amount of time you put in actually means for anything is prison. And we're not running that what we're running as a business. And we're running a team that is based on contributions. What we're a part of is a business. This is why I would say that you need to learn business, because you just simply need to understand, how does this stuff work? Why does the random approach or why does kind of saying, Look, I've been here a long time not work, why does that get you pushback? And it kind of blows up and doesn't quite work the way you think it does? What are we able to understand that I think you just again, you need to basically understand business. How does the promotion work? And just the basic mechanics of it. What it's going to be is that if I'm your boss, you're going to come to me and you say, Steve, I want a raise. Steve, I want a promotion. And we'll say for right now that I agree with you, I think you should get one. So there's a process that I then have to go undertake because what I need to then do is I need to go sell my boss on this because We're gonna get to a time of year when you get to a point in time, whenever all of direct reports are going to come together, and we're all going to make the case for why our people should get promoted, why should our people be the ones that get that position that we spend more money on? Because that's ultimately what this comes down to. And we've talked about this in past shows, but it's the case that every business will try to get you for as little money as they can. That's why it's called a business. Because that's their point is to keep cost down. So raises are an increase in cost raises have to be justified and promotions have to be justified. What that often then means is that I need to be able to go and make your case. My boss needs to know your name. We need to have tangible examples of things that you have done that prove why you're worth this extra money. Why aren't you worth this bigger position? But that's what it is, is I have to go and then make that case. This is really something that is a long standing business tradition. I think this is The one place where being creative doesn't actually deviate from the norm much at all. Because this is the way it's always done every business lower cost, every person wants more money, the push and pull between the two is where it gets interesting. But that's the reality. Does my boss know your name? Can I cite tangible things that you've done that support my argument? It can't just simply be, oh, this person wants a raise. And I agree with it. It's just it's not that simple. It's not that easy. There's work that I have a boss have to do to go and get that sold. And I think that the reason why I bring this up, the reason why I think it's important for people to understand this is that you have to understand when do you work with the system? And when do you fight against it? We spent a lot of time on the show talking about internal teams talking about leadership, talking about creativity, which often tends to focus on how do you fight against the way most things are done? How do you fight against the fear, the apathy, the feeling that nothing's going to be able to change the futility of things like that's the stuff that we'll talk about all too often. But the business reality is one of those things that probably isn't that hill to die on. Because it's just there's a business reality to the fact that businesses want to keep cost down, you're not going to be able to change that. It's not a fight that's worth the political capital, the time the sanity and the resources it would take to fight against that. So that's what we're not going to challenge here. We're not going to challenge that business reality. But what I do want to talk about is how do you make that business reality work in your favor? How do you tell your story? How do you do so many of these other things? And so we talked in Episode Six. And if this is a topic that interests you, I would highly encourage you to go back and listen to that episode. Because what episode six did was it talked about personal branding, and how you need to be clear about what is it that you want, and you need to be clear about who you are. Because in moments like this, you have to be able to express that. You have to say, this is what it is I want, and here's why these are my skills and why these are the things that I've done. Because if you can't do that, then you're in trouble. And this is where I think a lot of people get tripped up because a person A brand isn't just for when you're hunting for a new job. A personal brand also helps you every single day in the job that you're doing, get to where it is you want to go. And so the way that I've always approached this first off is by having a clear idea of where it is I want my career to go. Where is this pointing? What is the next step that I want to take? And wherever I have that clear in my head, what I then want to do is I want to set clear goals. And I want to set very clear expectations with my boss. And too many people don't do this. They're afraid of it. They feel like oh, well, you know, if I have that conversation, if I say what I want, my boss needs to tell me what they want. My boss needs to tell me where they want me to go. And don't get me wrong. That's part of this conversation. But I think it's also that each side has to hold the other one accountable. Yes, absolutely. My boss is going to have things that they want me to accomplish projects that they want done, growth that they want to happen and I want a boss who wants that. If you have a boss that doesn't have that. That's a bigger concern we'll talk about here in a But if they're going to have that expectation of me, if they're going to ask me to do that, well, then I guess I feel like I have an equal rights. Since this is a relationship and there are two people in this relationship, well, then I have an equal right to have these goals and expectations that I'm going to ask of them. Because the reason why I do it is that I want to be able to measure success. I want to be able to measure accomplishment, and I want to do it in a way that we both agree on. And that's another key part of this is it's that we both agree on this. Because ultimately, what is going to happen, what I want to have happen is that whenever I achieve those goals, I complete those projects I do whatever those things are that we've set that we've agreed is the threshold that will trigger a raise the threshold that will trigger the promotion, then I know that I've a solid foundation to ask for it or quite frankly even demand that that happened because we had an agreement that for me to get the promotion from designer to Association Director, associate creative director to creative director like, whatever the change would be. whenever that happens, we have an agreed upon standard that we've both said, Okay, this is gonna be the threshold. And when that threshold trips, then I feel like I have a very solid foundation to go and ask that. And the reason why I came to this, quite frankly, was because I think I was one of those people for far too much in my career. That made the mistake of just arbitrarily asking or even worse and more disappointing and more frustrating, expecting that my boss would recognize my talent expecting that I would be the one who would be seen who'd be called out who'd be recognized for the great talent that I was. Scott Belsky always told a really interesting story about this that I think is very relevant here. He told the story about an experiment that happened. And what they did was they took Joshua Bell who is probably the world's greatest violinist. They gave him probably one of the world's most expensive violence, a multimillion dollar violin and they stuck him in the side And had him perform I think the night before he had sold out Carnegie Hall. Well, then the next day, they had him perform in the subway just in street clothes with no fanfare, no announcement just had him stand there and play. So you have the world's greatest violin with one of the world's greatest violinists performing down there. Without the fanfare without the goals without the setup. without all the hype, I think he made like $30 for the entire day, sold out Carnegie Hall the night before. So the lesson in this is that I think even the greatest talent with the greatest equipment, without the right expectation without the right setup doesn't get recognized. And I think that that's really an important part here because I spent too much of my career thinking, Oh, well, they see the good work I'm doing, oh, well, they know that they should give me this. Well, even if they know that there is still once again, the business reality of having to raise cost. And so too often in my career, I've had to take my promotions, I've had to take my raises by force of getting to the place where I would say look I've accomplished a lot, I don't want to leave this team, I don't want to get to a place where I'm going to have to walk away from this. But there's a certain point where I need to know and I do know my value. I know what I bring to this team, I know the business impact that I've had. And that needs to be recognized. And that there's a certain amount of time where if that does not happen, it will force me to action. And that action is not going to be some big temper tantrum, I'm not going to come in and throw things around and scream that I quit and pack up all my shit and walk out. I'm not going to do that. But no, that'll be done. And that slowly, mentally in other ways, I'm going to start packing and I'm going to start looking for that next position because there's not the recognition here, and that you have my boss have a responsibility to help me reach that next level. And if you aren't willing to do that, then quite frankly, I'm gonna go find another boss who will, because it's just too many times in my career. advancement was debatable. It was discussable just like creativity. Had I really accomplished enough to be able to get that done. Or then oops, all of a sudden, well, no, actually, there's a A whole new set of goals that you need to accomplish, and then we'll have that discussion. I didn't want that anymore. I was done with it because too many times I had a boss who wouldn't commit to those goals. And then I realized one of two things. One was, like I said before, it meant that either I needed to find a new boss, or I needed to find a way to holding them accountable. And I think that's what it does is so sitting down having that conversation about what is the mutually agreed upon things that need to happen to trip that conversation? As far as I know, that's the best way to get that done. Because I just like I said, I think that it's just fair that if they're going to ask that of me, I'm going to ask that of them. And if they refuse, if they don't want to do that if you meet those goals, and then that raise or promotion isn't tripped. And I also think that's a very, very easy, very clear way of managing your career because you know, then that you're going to have a really hard time advancing at that company if it's going to happen at all. Because we sat down we agreed upon it. You gave me your word. I gave you my word and You know, I've been in that position enough times where something has happened, the economy crashed, we change CEOs, like there was something that caused that to be delayed. But at that point, I could still acknowledge that the person hadn't met that threshold. And that that we would just simply work around whatever that new business problem was the new boss, the new leadership, the new direction of the company, whatever that was, but their value to the team hadn't changed. And so they would still know that it was recognized, they could still understand that I valued that. And we could have an open conversation about when was that going to happen? So again, they weren't getting fed up. They weren't going away and getting mad. But I think that allows you to be able to have that conversation with that. Now, the negotiating part, which was the second question, the second part of Bobby, and Jared question, was about negotiating. So the only thing I would say is that you want to go back and listen, really to the episode first about setting your value. The last listener question show that I Did had a big question about how do I know how do I set my value? How do I know what it is that I'm worth? So I would start with that just so you have a ballpark of understanding where am I just kind of in general in the industry. It's also i, whenever I talked about, you need to understand where your salary sits in the market, but you also need to understand where it sits really inside of your company, that for your position, there's a band of salaries that you know, is the the top end and the low end and that where do I sit inside of that? So that I also understand where the guardrails if we'll say that I'm sitting at $60,000, and I want to go to $100,000, but my particular salary band stops at 80. Well, then obviously going and asking for 100 is going to be unrealistic off the top, it doesn't mean that maybe don't go ask for 85 and then try to negotiate back down to 80 and sit at the top. But then you also know that I need to couple that question about a raise with a promotion. Because we'll say if all of a sudden I sit at 80. I'm sitting at the top of my band, I'm now stuck. I can't go any higher than where it is that I'm already at because the band doesn't go any higher. And they do that. Just for fun. Quality across the company. So what I need to then do is to trigger the conversation about a promotion, that if I'm doing so, well, if I'm getting a raise, if I'm sitting at the top of that band, well, then what do we need to do? What are the extra things that need to happen for me to trigger the promotion so I can move up to the next salary band, so that my salary can continue to grow? But I think that's the thing is that what I want to do is I want to negotiate, I want to understand where do I sit? How much room Do I have, I want to have a good head on my shoulders, a good business strategy going into this. Because the thing really here is that just there are certain business realities that No boss is gonna be able to get you out of, and that band is one of them. And if you have any questions about this stuff, if you're not sure what the bans are, if you're not sure what the salary ranges are, I'm sure that you can go sit down with any HR person who can walk you through this. It's public information. It should be something your company doesn't hide, but you can get an understanding of just the basic facts. You know, you're not asking them to say whether you should be promoted or not like don't walk down that road, but just simply the facts. How much am I paid? What percentile does it sit in? inside of the band, what's the top and bottom of the band, just some of those that I have that basic business understanding. But from there it is negotiating, which is business, not emotion. And it is a business deal. And this is where I think that obviously since it ties to your personal well being, it affects where you live, it affects the car you drive, the type of food you eat, the vacations you can go on, there is the temptation for emotion to come into this because people can take it very personally as a judgment on their worth, which it is. But at the same point, this is a business deal. So don't get overly emotional. Because whenever you do that you lose your leverage, you lose the ability to be the business negotiator who can be effective, because that's the sort of thing is what I said is I want to be able to go through and I really want to be able to make sure that this is going to work. I want to make sure that, you know we're really going to make sure that I'm going to end up where I want to. And so the best business association tactic is to have an idea of where your target is have an idea of what's realistic and ask for slightly more than that. Because the reality is that you it's a negotiation Which is art and science together. But ultimately what's probably going to happen is one if I ask for a little bit more, and I get it great, I got more than I thought I would. But also they come back and push back against it. It gives me a place where I can compromise a little bit. Because the best thing that I've discovered about negotiation, whether it's about salary, what's whether it's about a business problem, whether it's about anything, is I never want to make it a black and white issue. I never want to make it up or down. Yes, or no Coke or Pepsi cats or dogs, right? Like, I don't want only the extremes. I need a gray area in the middle. I need a place where I can negotiate. Because if it is just the extremes, it's yes or no. Well, I'm backing people into a corner. Either they're gonna give in and then feel like, well, I wasn't really a team player. I tried to kind of bully them into it. And maybe I'm not somebody that we really want to invest in. Or I'm going to provoke a reaction of them calling my bluff saying we're not going to do it. And now all of a sudden I'm in this fight for now I'm not only trying to get a raise, but I may be trying to keep my job. So just don't make this negotiation, a completely black or white yes or no sort of thing. Always make sure there's room to negotiate, that they can give on some things, you'll give on some things, but that there's room to be able to do that dance. Because that's really written negotiation is because if it's just a yes or no thing, that's a hostage situation. And that's not what you want. And that's why I said is that's true of your day to day business dealings. It's true of leadership. It's true salary negotiations, that just mentally stay away from those extremes, because they force people into extreme reactions, and everybody will react differently. But it's that room for compromise that both sides feel like they won. That's the art of a great negotiation. But it's also very important, and I've seen this again a few too many times. That when you negotiate, don't Bluff, don't lie and Don't bullshit. If you're going to come in and you're going to tell me that you have an offer on the table from another company. You damn well better have one. If you're gonna come in and tell me that you made half a million dollars last year at your last company. You Be able to make sure that I can call an HR person who will verify it. Because once again, that's not a negotiating technique that's lying. And you know, there's a place for bluffing, there's a time to be able to kind of hedge that a little bit about what it is that I want, like, you know, bluffing hedge on your start date, because you want to take an extra week of vacation, like do something else. But at the placement, it comes down to this that will blow up in your face almost every time. Because here again, I'm dealing with actuals if you say and you're gonna try and hold me hostage and say, oh, there's another agency who wants to be for 50,000 more. Great. Show me the offer letter 98% of the time, those people are gonna go oh, I don't actually have in writing. They just said they're interested in me. Great. That's not an offer letter. And now I know that you're willing to lie to me in a really critical moment, and I probably don't want you on my team. So don't bluff. Don't say something you aren't prepared to do. Don't say something that you can't actually back up in that negotiation. Because again, you'll lose all your leverage. And then they have the upper hand. It's not a dance anymore. And that's why I said there is an art and a science to this. So set your goals, do your research, know what you're worth and keep your career progressing whenever you do that, and don't leave it up to happenstance time or these other just kind of clumsy techniques. So hopefully Jared and Bobby that answered your question. If it didn't feel free to write back in, and I'll talk some more about it. But let's move on to the next question. So, the next one comes from Ayumi Katana Anderson, and she wrote in to me on LinkedIn, and she asked, our company designers are all spread out. If you have any success stories of collaborative efforts from remote locations that you can share, I'd be very interested. And so I do I think, you know, I currently right now run multiple design studios and multiple locations around the US. And that's a challenging thing. And that I think there are really three things that I focus on whenever you try to get remote teams to work together, especially in a creative process because creativity, absolutely benefits from being in person it benefits from the wonderful magical happenstance moments of running a brainstorm having Phone call doing whatever it is walking back to your desk, scribbling something down seeing something thinking about over lunch and coming back and continuing that conversation. Well, geography then prevents that. And so too often things tend to fall into this very formalized, structured sort of way of creating and collaborating, which is a problem. But I would tell you to focus on three things, which would be process, culture, and tools. And we'll talk about each one of those a little bit more, so I can explain what I mean by each one of those. The first one is process, right? Because I think that no matter how good the team is, it really is the case where if you aren't in the same location, it's not going to come naturally, it's hard. I'm much more prone to talk to people who are in the same room as me who are in the same location as me, as people who are elsewhere. It is a natural thing, especially when you're first starting out when you're trying to overcome this. And this is one of those places and I rarely will preach this or promote it, but it's one of these few moments where I think process can help because of what you need to do. You know, you really need to go through and figure out okay, what are the stages in gates that we're going to require? What are the places where we're going to mandate that people talk to each other? And how do I make that simple? How do I make it a place where I can start to develop the muscle memory, so that all of a sudden people being remote and in separate locations, all of a sudden, isn't that big of a deal? You see some companies who do this insanely well, like I'm constantly blown away and incredibly impressed with the way that envision runs. It's a prototyping company, they have a great prototype tools. If you don't know him, go check them out. But it's one of these things where their entire company is remote, which is a fascinating prospect to be able to say, Okay, look, we're gonna go with the best people, I don't care where you live, but then they can craft a culture, a craft a way of doing things where all of these people run and work seamlessly. And I think their process is part of it. And you can do things like a daily video call that's for your stand ups or, or other things we can start to start to force that communication. But really what I would say is that to think about the process As part of this just as training wheels, how do we again, how do we build the muscle memory? How do we get people to start to communicate to get used to that to make that part of their process, but do it through process so that there is a formal expectation that they do do it? Because too often people just simply say, Oh, you should be talking to other people. Yeah, no, no, no, I will, I will, well, then they don't. And it kind of the team is working on very separate lines, they are talking, they're working together. And especially like I said, around creativity, this becomes a huge problem. But that's the thing is I want to become part of the culture of the team, where people can work remote, there can be people in separate locations, and it still is seamless. So like I said, think about processes a starting point. But a bigger part of it for me is culture and to make that a part of your culture that it is fine. We embrace this problem. Instead of running from it instead of kind of like shutting it off in the corner not shining a light on it. ignoring it over looking at we're going to embrace this and say we are a team who isn't separate locations. We're going to come together as one. And we're going to be able to really be able to make this the norm for people to follow so that it's expected of the team and it isn't out of the ordinary. Because once again, expectation can be an incredibly powerful thing, that if I make that a part of my culture, if I say these are the things that we believe in that, yes, we're going to embrace each other, we're going to talk I'm going to set up constructs. And like I said, part of this process, part of this is culture. But to make sure that if I have designers in multiple locations, that they're also just simply talking about the craft of design, how do they come together to bond over more than just a project? Because I think that's what the culture part of this really looks at. It's what it focuses on, is how do I go beyond process because processes for the projects? culture is for the team? So how do I bring the team together? How do I make people more than a job description? And a title that I see on an email? How do I make them people? How do I get them to buy into each other, believe in each other, do so many of those other things, so the more ways and the more places I can bring them together to build trust, do a lot of those things. Well, that then becomes hugely important. I think there are a lot A lot of techniques that I've talked about for how to do this that are very obvious and very subtle in some of the early leadership episodes. So I'd also encourage you to go back and check those out. But I also think tools is a big part of this. Because you have to give them the tools to make this this possible. It could be Slack, it could be Google Hangout, it could be FaceTime, HipChat, tons and tons of other tools, but a way that makes this communication really easy, really seamless, that it's not something where it is a real chore to be able to go in and do that every time I talk to somebody, I have to get a conference number I have to set up a WebEx I have to start a screen share and I have to be able to get everybody on there and make sure they have the right dial in and then they like that's not easier. That's actually a lot harder. So take a look at that and saying okay, if I'm the leader of this team, what am I doing to help facilitate this to make this easy? I will say this is once again why I think envision is doing a fantastic job in this area with their suite of tools. Because as a remote company, I think they generally understand this but if you look at what they're doing around collaboration around, presenting around prototyping around a lot of other things works really well for remote teams because I can be able to go in, I can do a group whiteboard. And what that allows me to do is that I can go in and I can pull it up like for me, I can pull it up on my iPad, I can start to sketch, what I want people to do, other people can start to sketch on that. But then the output of that actually goes into the sketch file that goes back to the designer. So if I had five people in five different locations, it feels like one team, it feels like we're collaborating, we're all sitting around the same desk. And then whenever they go back, there's an artifact that they can work from. But I think those are the things that you need to think about is how can I make it as easy and as seamless as possible? Because the tools are really important because if I'm still using the same old antiquated tools, but I'm expecting a different result, it's not gonna happen, because I think that's why you see, the rise of this entire category in the creative subculture in the creative class, is because so many teams are so remote. Creativity is a team sport and it's a more global sport than ever, as you've seen near shore and offshore come into the process for agencies And in house teams, as you've seen more and more creative, scattered all over the world, but needing to work together leadership in one place teams and others. These are the ways that you need to be able to get this stuff done. And it's not going to be easy. But I think that if you focus on those three areas, it gives you a huge chance to get the results that you want, it gives you a huge chance to find out, how do you make this a part of your culture. But I think you also have to be open to the fact and be honest with everybody and set the expectation that we're all going to go figure it out together. But here again, the expectation is that everyone will figure it out together, we're going to go on this trip all together and be able to go through and figure out what's the best way to do this. And then we're going to get some stuff, right, we'll keep that we're going to get some stuff wrong, we'll lose that. Because the process also should be and all of this should constantly be a living thing that you're going back, looking at reevaluating, seeing what's working, what's not how can we improve it. It's great that we did our process we fixed 80% of it. 20% of it is still broken. How do we get after that, but to also build just into the team again. process, the culture, the tools that constantly re evaluates your process to look at what are the things that are going to work the best. Because here again, your team changes, you change, people grow, they change, your company is going to change your consumers are going to change, like everything is constantly about change. So again, don't do it so often that you're just constantly in a state of flux, because then that feels like chaos. But at the same point, don't go write this stuff on two stone tablets that come down from a mountain that can never be questioned. You have to be able to think about both. So finally, let's move on to the third question. And this one came from Matt Brown and Matt wrote in from Facebook this time, and he asked Stephen as a hiring manager. Why is it that brands we work on whether they're big or small define us as a designer slash director versus the work itself? More specifically, why are those with less exposure to huge corporate structures, considered to be less qualified? Well, it's always not the case. If you get someone in HR doing your initial screening, you will always have a pool of candidates. From far bigger brand work than smaller ones? Well, you've had much success with big brands in your career. I'm curious, how do you see other designers slash directors with less, quote unquote, big brand experience? You know, take them out of the corporate structure and focus solely on their talent. And so Matt, you answered this a little bit on the Facebook page. But I think I wanted to dig into a bit more because I genuinely think this is a really great question. And ultimately, for me, it's a simple answer. But like most simple answers, it's complicated. Because the simple answer is that I've always felt that people who are truly creative can be successful in any company of any size. And I think that we should value and I really, really believe this, that we should value how people think, how they work, how they work with a team and how they contribute to our culture, over anything else. And the reason why I say that is because I've done this long enough that I have seen some people with absolutely spotless pedigrees, who went to the best design schools worked at the best companies who whenever you bring them in You try to work with them, you talk about creativity, how do they have an idea? How do they actually work or lead or do some of those other things, you very quickly find out that all of that pedigree and all those big brands add up to the fact that they could not fall off a boat and hit frickin water. Because what they've done is they've been a product of a lot of really good leadership are really strong teams. But whenever you look at that, as an individual, when you strip them of that support system, they can't deliver on that pedigree. And so so often, some of the best designers I found have come from the smallest agencies, the smallest brands, they just simply didn't have the shot or the opportunity to be able to work on that bigger work. Because for me, creativity transcends, you can do amazing work on a brand that nobody's ever heard of, and you can do really crap work on a big brand that everybody has heard of. And, you know, the challenge here is the fact that I will openly say that I I very much feel that I'm in the minority who thinks this way. Because I even now even today, I'm somebody who is constantly struggling. by how easily I get pigeonholed. First as an agency guy, then as a hotel guy now as a bank guy. And somehow like, that's all I can do, like, Oh, you work at a bank, all you can think about is banks, or you worked at a hotel. That's all you can think of as a hotel. To the point like people are shocked whenever I change industries, they're shocked whenever I can go work on other things. And I'm sorry, I've just always been so profoundly struck by how small minded, idiotic and bullshit that thinking is. Because if you're creative, if I'm doing my career, right, if I am focusing on what I should be, which is my idea to deliver leadership, to deliver culture and deliver great ideas, the need for that is needed by every single company that's out there. I can take my process, I can take my empathy, I can take my entire model of working and I can adapt it to a new new industry to a new client to a new way of thinking, but to think that somehow people can't do that. Oh, because they work on a small brand. They can't work on a big one or anything like that I've never bought into and but I'll also say that I do feel like a huge part of the hiring process is just flat out fundamentally broken. The fact that there are too many people in HR who screen creatives who don't understand how to do it, like just the way that we look at so much of the way we hire turns into more of a personality contest, or it turns into who paid for the best education or who, you know, got the break to work with the biggest agency or the biggest brand. And I've always just thought that was ridiculous. And, you know, it's one of the things where this is broken. I want to kind of like, let's actually talk about this a bit more. I wasn't sure that I was planning on doing this. But I guess even to the point, Ryan, something that happened to me recently, that I think deeply, deeply underscores what this problem is, and why you know what, I'll tell you that I just think I think, Matt, your head's in the right place. I think that it is a problem. It's not one that is going to be easily solved or overcome. But just to kind of show you how deep some of this problem runs and how much I'll also say that creatives are a massive part of this problem. Because I approach hiring, I guess, with that bias, with the fact that it's great that you've worked at great places. It's Write that you have a great book. But time and time again, I find it to be insanely naive. If you think that what is in someone's book is 100% a representation of them even the best, most honest people, because again, creativity is not a team sport unless there's a project that for whatever reason, which again is a rarity that I did 100% on my own, the work that is there is not a product of just me. And too many times I have seen weak thinkers, we creatives, you know, weak designers or writers or whatever it is, end up with a great book because of the team that surrounded them or the leadership that they had. While as I look at them as an individual contributor, they cannot deliver on that promise. And I've also found a ton who can or I found ones you know, Matt, like your situation of people who, you know what, maybe they didn't have the biggest brands maybe they didn't have the most dynamic and fascinating work but you know what the thinking that was there was spot on and all that that person needed was a shot. They needed an opportunity they need Did somebody to give them a chance to work on that big brand to work on that big work, because they have the chops and they have the creativity to do it. So out of all of that, I really have developed a process that really looks at how do I weed these two groups apart? How do I not make an interview, just a personality test? How do I actually go in and say, can you deliver on the promise that you've said? And so out of that what I've done is developed a format that whenever my team's interview people, it's a two part process. The first is where well I guess it's actually a three part process if we're being honest. The first is that yes, we look at resumes we look at portfolios, as just the first pass to see is there potential there? Is there something there it's going through and talking with the team and spending the time to train them on how do you look for nuance and not just big names. But so out of that for the people that we feel like either have really strong books or have really strong potential, we call them in for what honestly is a bit of a different process and the start of it is actually very traditional because it's a series of one on one interviews, they can interview with the entire team, the creative director, they can interview with me, it kind of depends on the position, you know who's there, we don't want to hold up the process too much. But it's the traditional interview format, it's the same way that you would always do it. But the wrinkle that we put in which I find fascinating, which has become apparently incredibly controversial, is the fact that the other thing that we ask people to do is to actually do an exercise with us. Or on their own. Again, it just depends on you know, what the position is, and things like that. But what we want to do is we want to see how they think we want to see how they work. We want to see where the rubber meets the road. You come in, you say you can do all these fantastic things, have these great ideas have this big stuff. Great. Let's see it. If it's a leadership position, let's have you spent some time working through a problem with the team. If it's an individual contributor, let's actually have you solve a problem. Because what I want to see is I actually want to see in real time how you think I talked about this whenever we talked about the Career Development episodes because Again too many times I've seen people who are great storytellers, great at weaving the tail great at spinning the details. But whenever it comes to the actual work, they can't actually deliver. And the problem that is a leader, you have to get around, the problem that you need to get by is the fact that what I don't want, the last thing that I want is to find out that they can't deliver after I've hired them, I need to see that I need to know that ahead of time. So this is why we give them these exercises, or we you know, have these different kind of scenarios that we put them through. Now the reaction to this has been fascinating. Because for me, I generally want to look for creativity. I want to look for people who can work with a team I want to be looked. And also I want to look for people who are a cultural fit, who aren't going to be these divas, these rock stars, these people who think that they're better than every little thing because at least on my teams, everything's your job. I don't care how senior I don't care if it's me, right, like everything's your job. Nothing's beneath anybody. But we've done this we've gone through and sometimes we'll do it as an individual. Sometimes we'll do it as Super days. We have bunches of people come in But very recently, I ran one of these events and half of the people who had signed up pulled out of the event, whenever they found out that we were going to give them this creative exercise, citing a whole litany of reasons that either they were too good they were to experience they were above having to prove their skills, which, I mean, look, I don't know about them. I've never been above that. I've never, there's never been a job that I've gotten where I felt like me having to prove that I can deliver what it is that I say I can deliver is beneath me. And that's happened at honestly, every single one of the jobs I've had in recent memory, including my current one. And the reality is, is that I want to work for a company that wants to make sure I'm not full of shit. Because that's the thing if you just want to flow through this industry and you can do it without much work. And just go through and kind of just get by on what you say you can do go through go in not be able to deliver code for a little while, screw it up, wait for another job to come along and then go take that one. There are a lot of people I know who've done that very, very successfully and it is shocking to me how bad company These are background checks for the fact that like, I like I've never understood why do you just want to talk to the three people who you said I should talk to? And then it's like, wow, that's shocking the three people who I said you could talk to only gave me good reviews. Wow, who would have seen that one come in? Like, maybe there's the thought of maybe you actually should go back and whether it's solicited or not go back and talk to my last boss and see what their unadulterated opinion is. Talk to people on my team, like, do some actual research to find out if this person is real or not, and not just kind of go, Oh, the work is so pretty, they must be fantastic people. But that's the whole point of this exercise. But the number of people who have pulled out or refused to do it citing things like I said that it's beneath them, citing things like oh, we just want to steal their ideas, which again, I don't, you know, I tend to think that I am a fairly skilled practitioner in this industry. I don't know that I'm going to give you a billion dollar idea in 45 minutes or an hour, but let's just say that I could. There's also the assumption that like in the last one that we did, the exercise that we gave people to solve was to redesign the city mobile app using only bitmoji. s. I think that we're fairly safe in saying that for the foreseeable, if not the forever future city is not going to launch an app that only uses bitmoji as the interface. You know, there's a whole host of this stuff that happens, where people like they don't want to prove it. But then there's a smaller group of people who love it, who celebrate it, who embrace it, who say, Where has this been all my life? And it's just fascinating. It's fascinating to see all of this come to life, right? Because it's amazing how precious and how fragile and how overblown our egos can become. And I think that's really the point of all of this. Is that yes, companies don't understand what it is that they're looking for. But creatives also don't make that process any easier. Whenever we simply refuse to be tested. We refuse to Be able to kind of be a part of this process because the reality is for me is that ain't bragging if you can do it. I want people who are unafraid. I want people who will show up, who will put their skills on the test who will, like put themselves out there to be a part of this. And those who don't, will probably would not, and will not be somebody that I would never hire a one as a part of my culture. I don't need the Divas, I don't need the rockstars they're the ones that I feel like quite frankly, are fucking up this industry Far, Far too often, because they go out and give the rest of the creatives a bad name. Because it's all about them and their ego and what they've done. That's not how this works. This is a team concept. And for everybody who's disagreed me And trust me, there were tons most all of them not shockingly, were freelancers, who told me how absolutely out of my mind I was for doing this sort of stuff and how they would never submit to it. You know what, fine, because for me, the way that we work the way my culture is the way that our stuff is done. The way that I value talent is because I'm looking for like the maps of the world, for that undiscovered talent for that next year. For the ones that don't have the egos in the baggage that want to chase this stuff, but this is the thing where we all just need to stop and take a hard look at where this industry is at. Because the reality is, is that, and I think that Daniel burka wrote a phenomenal article this week, that if you haven't read it, you need to go check it out. It's on, I'll post it in the show notes. But it's also been on my blog and a couple other things. That's called everyone as a designer get over it. And it really looks at the fact that creativity has permeated so much of this industry that everyone does have a voice, any role in design, that if we're going to keep holding on to this precious notion that we are different are better or special than everybody else, and that nobody else can do what we do. We're going to be and hopefully you know what, honestly, hopefully, maybe those people who feel that way will become extinct. Because for us to affect the change that we need to do for creatives to take the place in business that we need to we have to become less precious we have to become open with our creativity we have to be allow people into it to question and to work with it to try it out. Break it, to reinvent it, to do all of these things that make it stronger and better and more powerful. Because the people who just want it to be precious, who are above the test who are above, engaging in business, who want to tell products and everybody else, how they don't understand what they do, hopefully, and my hope is that there isn't a big future for those people. And that's why I think we need to look at the way that we interview, we need to look at the way that we bring people into companies, we need to work with HR teams, and we need to work with our own teams to help develop that knowledge to not be blinded by the design of schools and the places that people have worked, but to actually look at their process to what they can contribute no matter where they come from, no matter what their background is. Because I think those are the people that do it really well. And the other funny thing that most people seem to gloss over is that all the companies who we all seem to fetishize the apples, the Google's the Facebook, the Nikes all these people that this is their process, and it has been for a long time that if you go and interview one of these companies, they're going to ask to see you actually work and so unless again, You want to stay a freelancer who's in the margins working on clients that you can big time with your amazing talent that's so unique. But if you actually want to do work at scale, if you want to make a difference, if you want to help influence a company, this is a shift in the thinking that we have to embrace. So that's it for these three questions. And so what I'll say is what I said before is this is hopefully an invitation that if you like the show, go like it on Facebook, just search for The Crazy One podcast. But if you have questions, reach out to me. I'm happy to try to answer this to make this as much of a dialogue as I can. As always, you can find the show notes the related articles that I mentioned, go over to podcast, Stephen Gates calm Stephen has STP he n done a lot of work to make those show notes into a lot better place than where they were before. If you like the show, the only currency I ever asked for and it really does make a big difference is to just go over take a few minutes. It's really all that I asked for. But please leave a review. Leave it on iTunes, leave it on whatever your favorite podcasting platform is. It makes a real difference. It brings more people to the show. It helps us all grow and evolve. As always the boys down Illegal want me to remind you that all the views here are my own. They don't represent any of my current or former employers. This is just me out here talking. And finally I say it every time because I mean it every time but thank you for your time. I know that time is truly the only real luxury that any of us have. And I'm always incredibly humbled you want to spend any of it with me. So whenever we're back next week with a new show, as always, stay crazy