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How to manage clever people

Artists, designers, and programmers are different, difficult, and – depending on your strategy – delightful.

When I tell people that I spent 13 years producing radio and TV programs and then another 15 years running software companies, they always look puzzled and ask: What’s the connection? The answer is simple: talent. Both industries depend crucially on highly creative individuals, many of whom can be eccentric, independent, and high maintenance. Success in both of these industries hinges on being able to manage and inspire talent.

I didn’t understand this when I started. I enjoyed highly productive working relationships with writers, actors, designers, programmers, and musicians for no other reason than that I adored them. I admired their talent, loved their spirit, and wanted them to be happy. But, on reflection, I’ve come to understand that there is slightly more to it than that.

Great talent is special and you should respect it. There’s a popular belief that creativity is inherently childlike, that creative people are infants who need to “learn” and not be spoiled. This is wrong. Trying to fit superstars into a box is counter-productive, perverse, and doomed. But don’t go to the other extreme and treat these individuals as though they’re made of glass. They’re tough – maybe tougher than you are – and know their worth. What they most want is respect.

…to read this article in full, visit leading US small business resource, Inc.

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