Managing Designers: The Bright Light at the End of the Fourth Quarter

Do you work for a manager so engrossed in the day-to-day grind of cranking out projects for the folks in marketing, R&D or sales that nothing else seems to matter?

GASP! Are you that manager?bright-lights-len-dela-cruz

Look, I completely understand. There are times when the collective force of in-house agency contributors must focus on simply getting the job done (and done well) in the midst of rapidly changing deadlines. Just about every in-house leader I know is trying to keep his or her head—and the heads of each member on their team—above water as we enter the fourth quarter of 2016.

The last quarter of the year can feel like the proverbial floodgates have swung wide open, and clients have lost their minds with both reasonable and unreasonable yearend project requests.

Let’s step into their shoes—as scary as that may seem—and consider what they are grappling with for a moment.

If their budget dollars aren’t spent before the end of the year, many of our clients can hear the accounting department sharpening their knives to slice funds from one department budget and reallocate them to another or cut those funds out completely. Fear can set into the minds of many of our clients (and in-house managers who govern a budget, too) who envision the impact of losing that money now and well into the future during the following year’s budget planning process.

The thought of losing the ability to fund an important initiative can be a tough environment for everyone employed in the corporate world, especially the folks who work internally for marketing communications.

Operating under those very real pressures coupled with being a member in the constantly evolving advertising and design industries can be challenging to say the least. But, this time of year presents big opportunities for internal agency leaders and their team contributors to leverage advantageously. There is no better time of year to showcase your in-house team’s value, strategic alignment and strong business partnerships than in the fourth quarter.

Throughout the year, internal creative teams work hard to perfect and maintain their workflow management processes, digital asset management systems and creative prowess.

It’s in the fourth quarter—when projects are dropping like atom bombs—those processes, systems and talents are well tested as teams navigate through each hot assignment.

In-house managers will learn very quickly if their team has been successful by the feedback received from clients during project debriefs. When clients leave debrief meetings with expectations exceeded and scratching their heads wondering why they don’t use internal creative services more or reassured that their decision to entrust the internal creative team with delivering an absolutely stellar solution was the right one to make, that’s a great feeling.

If only the world were populated with magical unicorns and amazing clients with rainbow halos floating over their heads! What if your team isn’t successful in the fourth quarter and unfortunately is still recovering from missteps earlier in the year that’s caused an omnipresent backlog?

During the fourth quarter of the year, in-house teams can’t afford to let professional development and morale fall by the wayside. The entire team must double down and advocate for finding and funding resources that will educate, inspire and ignite both the technical and creative passions within them. These resources can lift the team out of backlog hell through targeted education and inspiration.

One of the best resources that can spark career-building motivation is HOW Design Live.

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With its practical educational how-to sessions delivered by the marketing and design industries’ brightest stars, this conference is known not only as the largest in the industry but the best conduit for aspiring creative ideas. Attend one conference and in-house teams will discover that HOW Design Live is worth every cent.

If you’re looking for professional development on a dime, consider registering for HOW Design Live. Make the case internally before those valuable dollars are reallocated or worse, lost in the flurry of the project avalanche in the fourth quarter. Provide your team with a bright light they can focus on at the end of their workflow tunnel, plan now, in the fourth quarter, for that light to be HOW Design Live.

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