In-house Issues: Under Siege Ups The Ante

It can be really challenging to work as a creative in a semi or completely dysfunctional company. One of the few positive effects this can have on an in-house team is what Ori and Rom Brafman, in their book “Click”, refer to as the siege mentality. Much like a platoon of soldiers in combat who form strong personal connections regardless of their backgrounds or personalities, a group of designers struggling with difficult clients, bureaucracy and inept or uncaring managers can also end up establishing tight bonds among themselves.


Unlike designers and art directors in ad agencies or larger design firms who are either intentionally or thoughtlessly put in situations where they are competing with each other for recognition and advancement, designers working in a corporate environment more often band together and support each other against the common challenges that a corporate culture can batter them with. This can lead to a nurturing, collaborative environment – an oasis or refuge – that actually enhances the team’s performance.

While this isn’t the ideal way to establish camaraderie in a creative team, if the opportunity exists, it is probably best to exploit the circumstances and mine at least some benefit from a bad situation. The trick is to not use the challenges as an excuse to sink into the morass of an unending banter of complaints and nastiness but rather to use the difficulties as impetus for supporting others in the group and triumphing against the corporate craziness by creating great design.


One thought on “In-house Issues: Under Siege Ups The Ante

  1. Deb Budd

    I completely agree… It is difficult to shield your team from a toxic, dysfunctional corporate environment. But you are correct about the bonding that occurs among creatives united against their own employers; and that “let’s show them how we rise above their BS” desire can translate into award-winning work. Not my preferred choice of motivator, however… I hope you aren’t writing this from the perspective of one IN such a situation (been there, left that). If you can nurture positive behavior in the face of outside negative forces, you are a better man than I am, Gunga Din. Focus on the team and the work, and hope for an improved economy and resulting positive shift in management behavior.