Soft Skills 4 – Dealing with Colleagues

How to play your part

The workplace should be a place of harmony, but all too often it is not. Deciding how you play your part is a vital skill for survival.

You will need to work with different kinds of people, make decisions and resolve conflicts, where your communication skills will be tested.

You will need to share knowledge, encourage patience, and read others better than they read you.

See the topics I cover in my course here: Dealing with Colleagues

Soft Skills 3 – Looking Outward

Facing the world

How do others see you and how do they value you? The way you look and interact is vital; make the most of what you have.

You need to be a regular high performer with whom other people want to work: understanding that skill set is crucial to success.

Interacting with others and recognising differences, evaluating their opinions without having your own ignored.

See the topics I cover in my course here: Looking Outward

Soft Skills 2 – Looking Inward

How well do you know yourself?

A dispassionate self-evaluation is hard to do, but if you are serious about success you will need to know more about yourself and what you are expecting from work.

What are your internal drivers, what are you good at, and where could you improve?

How do you value yourself, and are you the pro-active type, or would you rather take a back seat?

See the topics I cover in my course here: Looking Inward

Soft Skills 1 – The Bigger Picture

Looking at the bigger picture

With a sound life plan and a few soft business skills, success should be guaranteed.

The challenge is in the life choices you make at the start. What things should you consider and what should you ignore?

What should you do when things don’t work out? And how do you juggle all the elements for success and remain calm, rational and professional?

See the topics I cover in my course here: The Bigger Picture

Creative Skill Set 4.4 – Supplier Partnering

Improving two-way communication and streamlining workflows

It is not unusual to hear suppliers say that their clients just won’t let them help them. At Town & Town we know exactly what they mean, as clients often fail to give their suppliers the opportunity to contribute to the marketing process. More often, suppliers are simply on the receiving end of difficult jobs with impossible deadlines.

Busy marketeers are unlikely to have the time to sit down with their suppliers and listen to their suggestions for improving quality and workflow, but creative suppliers often have a unique understanding of the client’s business and can offer useful comparisons with the working practices gained from their other clients.

Similar issues arise with workflow, where internal systems are inadequate to handle ever-increasing volumes, and are clearly not ‘fit for purpose’.
As good listeners, unbiased in our views and with the time and skills required, we are well placed to develop better working relationships and more efficient workflow systems for our clients.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…Supplier Partnering

Creative Skill Set 4.3 – Brief Building

Translating requirements into actionable tasks for creatives

The single most difficult task for marketeers is good briefing. Creative briefs must avoid suggesting the solution, yet not be so vague as to be unfathomable. When the person giving the briefing does not have an advertising or marketing background, it makes the task doubly difficult.

Problems can also arise when someone at a senior level has to take an active part in the creative process, or when someone from outside the creative environment is asked to manage a major project. These circumstances have a habit of arising at times of tension within an organisation when major changes are afoot and good decisions are vital.

We help clients get the brief right by using appropriate language to communicate key fundamentals so that the creative supplier is able to deliver what the client requires and fulfils all aspects of the brief.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…Brief Building

Creative Skill Set 4.2 – Service Selection

Advising on selection of appropriate creative services

The way in which creative services are acquired often influences the quality and effectiveness of the work produced by suppliers. Clients generally veer towards one of two extremes, either seeking out the company with the brightest reputation within the industry for their creative work or, at the other extreme, concentrating solely on cost and looking only at the most competitive providers.

It seems unlikely that an organisation would make that kind of mistake, but often we find that the selection process can be subtly diverted from its true course and this is how it ends up.

By setting out in detail the organisation’s requirement for creative services, sensible criteria can be agreed and all supplier applicants measured fairly against it.
At Town & Town we regularly manage this process for clients, and in situations where confidentiality is required, suitable applicants can be selected and shortlisted whilst shielding the client’s identity.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…Service Selection

Creative Skill Set 3.4 – Supplier Mentoring

Create value by improving supplier productivity and attitude

Creative service suppliers are no less important in the supply chain than others, and their impact on the organisation can be significant. Sadly, they are frequently overlooked by those outside the creative arena who fail to understand the potential benefits of the working relationship.

Recognition of the involvement of this group in the supply chain has several advantages for an organisation, including security of supply, continuity of service and ownership of collateral materials produced.

Town & Town provide the skills needed for managing greater creative supplier involvement and so enable organisations to reap the benefits of a better disposed and motivated supply stream.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…Supplier Mentoring

Creative Skill Set 3.3 – Supplier Assessment

Evaluating suppliers’ current capabilities to meet changing demands

Good supplier relationships are built and strengthened over many years, and an active supplier will endeavour to adapt to their clients’ needs through investment in new technologies and the learning of new skills.

In order to make sure the relationship is as beneficial to the organisation as it should be, periodic reviews of creative service suppliers should be undertaken to take advantage of new practices and more efficient processes in the production of creative materials.

As an independent arbiter, Town & Town are uniquely placed to assist organisations in this process, leading to improved relationships and an efficient, cost-effective supply chain.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…Supplier Assessment

Creative Skill Set 3.2 – Motivating Creatives

Matching appropriate skills and attitudes to the task

Clients can be forgiven for failing to differentiate between creative tasks. After all, these can range from the highly original to the mundane and repetitive, all under the guise of creativity.

‘Creative types’ often have high energy levels and a disproportionate influence within a team, and if this energy is not directed to an appropriate task they can prove disruptive. While most team members can keep themselves busy, underutilised ‘creative types’ can be a distraction and can take up a disproportionate amount of management time.

At Town & Town we match skills and attitudes to the appropriate tasks within creative services, leading to a more effective and focused creative team that produce better and more consistent results.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…Culture Management