Only the weak shall blame
It’s one of many things we as creative people need to navigate in our careers.
We have to dive under it when it lurks in front of us, we have to avoid it when it’s thrown towards us - and at times we have to face it head on and absorb it.
Especially when it hits us where it hurts. That place deep inside. You know the place. That place where our own personal truth exists. Where our secrets live.
When blame hits us there, it can be debilitating because we know — we just know — that we played a part in this dance between our business and our clients. Between our love for the work, and what ‘they’ think.
It's such an easy thing to throw but such a difficult thing to catch.
In our careers as creative leaders, we navigate this territory precariously. We review work that we may not personally like, we create work that our clients may not like themselves. We lead teams of people with a range of personalities and peculiarities. People who all go through, normal, complicated and complex stuff like everybody else.
Normal people like you and I.
We work with people that are difficult to manage whilst others are a dream — partners not employees. Friends, not colleagues.
We run businesses that have the ebb, flow and heartbeat of a living, breathing being.
In this multiverse of creativity, there are both wonderful things and there is also this simple and very dangerous thing.
A molotov cocktail. Cheap and easy to make — and anyone can wield it.
As a creative person in the business of creativity, you traverse narrow paths where blame can be thrown your way quite easily and I urge you to be careful
The weak client will blame you before she takes responsibility for the brief she wrote for you. Which made less sense than a five year old's thesis on the theory of relativity.
The weak Creative Director will blame you for his weak ideas and his ability to flip, flop, flip, flop, flip, flop on what he actually wants you to do.
The weak employer will blame you for all manner of things that are out of your control.
The weak colleague will create an environment that surrounds themselves with enough protection for their own weaknesses that you'll be left in the middle of the Sahara desert, alone and with sunscreen or shade in sight if you're not careful.
Weak people blame when the lose — stronger people get on with the business of winning.
Weak people look for excuses, anything, anywhere to lay fault when instead, stronger people look within and ask themselves "what can I do differently next time?"
Weaker people are confronted by change and lay blame on it, rather than embracing it and acknowledging that change is in fact a normal part of creativity.
A normal part of business.
A normal part of life.
Creative people navigate this minefield of blame every day — and it wears us all down unless we do something about it. We have to create processes in our work that ensure we're both accountable for the outcomes and manage equal responsibility with our clients
We have to ensure that personal preferences are left outside in the cold, along with any egos that might infiltrate the work we're doing.
We also have to ensure that we're leading with empathy and understanding the pressures, constraints and risks in the work we do, and the work our people are doing.
It’ll be thrown around like wildfire.