Boosting Productivity in a Creative Environment
Insights, advice, and perspective from Cuker CEO.
Productivity is important, but it’s not always easy to come by in a creative environment. We sat down with our CEO, Aaron Cuker, to answer your questions on how to increase productivity within the workplace - both as a team and as a leader.
Q: How do you inspire each individual team member to maximize their productivity?
AC: I like to think that accountability leads to productivity. When it comes to completing project deadlines, we’ve learned that hitting the ground running right away is not an effective way to utilize our team members. We've developed a philosophy over the past 11 years that focusing on our strategy is critical to our success.
Making everybody who is involved in a project a stakeholder has not only motivated our team members to be more productive, but has in turn produced better work for our clients. Spending more time on the strategy aspect of each project (discussing the objectives, mission, creative, brand communications, analysis) has led to more productive work, makes it easier to hit deadlines, but most of all, gives each team member involved a sense of importance and makes them feel valued.
Q: How do you motivate team members to be more productive?
AC: I personally like to reward smart work, not just hard work. As a leader, it's important to reward effectiveness over hard work. Too often is there a tendency to praise a team member that worked hard or worked late. While it's great to acknowledge this, the issue lies in having your team focusing on working more hours rather than working smarter. Working smarter means optimizing processes, leveraging the technology and resources available to them and thinking strategically instead of just more 'doing.' A team that believes working more will lead to success will only get burnt out, diluting your company's productivity.
Q: Your agency specializes in digital for your clients - but how does digital play into your internal efforts and success?
AC: A huge proponent for improving productivity at our company has been digitalizing our work processes. We’ve refined the 'structure' aspect of our work environment by completely digitalizing our processes - that means everything from our creative briefs, to deliverables, to checks and balances all run through a digital system. By constantly refining our digital structure over the past eleven years, we’ve been able to boost productivity by making everything easily accessible anytime, anywhere. In turn, our team has a clearer understanding of what needs to be achieved and communication has improved as well. The digitalization of our work has streamlined our process and enhanced our team members' work for our clients.
Q: How does health in the work environment impact productivity?
AC: We promote a healthy work-life balance to maximize the effectiveness and productivity of each team member and of our agency as a whole. We incorporate active breaks, surf lunches and walking meetings to create a stimulating and rewarding work environment. Providing healthy snacks and promoting overall well-being in the office has boosted productivity and keeps our team members engaged and fueled throughout the day.
Q: What is one unique way in which you’ve helped increase productivity amongst your team and agency as a whole?
AC: One way we’ve boosted productivity is through turning repetitive tasks into software. Since we started, we've made a connective effort to build a software platform that has digitalized the tasks we saw ourselves doing over and over again, making our processes more time-efficient and reliable. This allows our team members to focus their time on more demanding tasks, leading to more productivity as a whole.
Q: What is one piece of advice you’d give to other leaders out there who are looking to sharpen and improve their team’s productivity?
AC: My number one piece of advice would be that attitude reflects leadership. If you're in a leadership position and strive for your team to be productive, it's vital to take a step back and evaluate whether you're setting the right example for them. As a leader, you should be working twice as hard as your colleagues. Setting the bar high for the future leaders at your company will only increase the overall productivity and success of your company now and in the future.
Thanks for reading our Q&A! If you have any questions of your own for Aaron or our team, feel free to contact us.