In-House Business Startup Journal Part 3: All May Not Be What It Seems

All is not what it seems, but remember why you are here

By Andy Brenits, as originally seen on

After a few weeks on the job I have heard more airing of dirty laundry than I would have expected. But, this is actually par for the course at any new job, as people begin to get comfortable with me being on the scene as a colleague rather than as a boss or organizational leader.

People are telling me more about the deficits of talent, skill, or availability of the creative team than any strengths or examples of good work. And quite often I hear about the faults of the previous manager who held my position, or his boss who seemed completely unsupportive of design and brand.

It’s human nature, I guess, to interject into conversations the behind-the-scenes challenges that preceded my arrival. And it does help to build a little bit of context around the story of your department prior to you being part of it.  But all the negativity is enough to make me wonder if I’ve made the right career move, or if any of this can even be fixed.

So instead of getting mired in how things were, I focus on the task at hand – the reason I’ve been hired into this position – which is to make things better.

Good leaders are usually well aware of the situation that exists in the organization, and they recognize that someone needs to come in and fix it.  And if you ever get as lucky as I am right now, you actually get the support you need to set the ship on the right course.

I will be at the InHOWse Managers Conference this June 21-23 in Boston. Won’t you join me and other in-house leaders to share stories and learn from each other? Early bird deadline extended to April 30. Details here and register here.

I’ll also be leading the InSource roundtable on Career Paths for the Creative Leader in conjunction with the HOW Design Live! events. Pre-register now to hold your seat. Details to follow.

Andy Brenits has had the privilege of managing creative services start-up operations for four organizations in his 20 year career. The In-House Business Startup Journal is an amalgamation of his experiences leading creative services businesses and the trials and tribulations of getting things up and running to a sustainable state. Names have been changed to protect the innocent or those who should have known better.


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