I was recently speaking with a colleague about a severe ankle injury he sustained playing volleyball. He related an observation about how quickly a person can get injured yet how long the recovery usually takes.
It occurred to me that this maxim applies to creative team breaks and fixes as well. Once a project goes south due to a single mistake, it can take weeks and months to rebuild client trust. When a network goes down, even for an instant, and data and files are lost, hours and hours of work may need to be redone. One quick offhanded remark can cripple a working relationship that could take months to repair.
Preparation, practice and training are the primary ways to mitigate the risk of creative team injuries. Ironically, many in-house teams are so swamped with dealing with their breaks, they don’t take the time to proactively put initiatives in place that might have prevented the breaks from occurring in the first place. It’s a vicious cycle that can only be addressed with a clearheaded commitment to change.
I’m always surprised at how few hands go up when I ask audiences of creative team leaders how many have SOPs, track their time, engage in benchmarking and utilize performance reviews as developmental opportunities. Unless we as leaders actively engage in these and other business and team sustaining practices, we’ll continue to suffer injuries that cost more than the preventative tactics would have and pay the price in poor performance and morale.