I recently completed the book “The Accidental Creative” by Todd Henry. It is not a self-help book; at least, that is what I am telling myself to feel better about loving it so much. But it kind of is a self-help book for those with creative pursuits, specifically in the advertising business. The author has a background in agency business and it felt like he was talking directly to me and only me, the experiences and stories were so dead on. And, I am a not a “creative;” I work in account management.
As the readers here know, based on an epiphany and an encounter I had in April, I have taken on a mission to recreate the account management department at our agency to act, and be perceived by their peers, as more than notetakers and communications conduits between clients and creative teams. There are a lot of aspects to this shift, but one major piece is that the account managers have to think of themselves as creative and thereby contributors to that creative process and output. To quote the book:
“While a designer will solve a problem visually, a manager may solve it by developing a new process. But they’re both using the same creative tools and wrestling with many of the same obstacles.”
I have been doing a lot of work against this effort, mostly in the form of research and notes, without much implementation yet. I believe this book can explain to my team how important their creativity is, that they are all creative, and they just need the right attitude, approach and plan to be creative in their contributions to the agency, their teams and their lives. To that end, I am going to ask everyone on my team to read this book. (Don’t worry, I’ve learned none of them read this blog, so I am not spoiling any surprise for them by posting it here. Although, if my boss wrote a blog about our business, I would definitely be reading it regularly. Perhaps that is a post and vent for another day.)
The book starts by walking through the hinderances to creativity, especially those in an ad agency. Then, it takes the reader through recommendations for overcoming those obstacles. I am not going to outline them for you here, you have to read the book. Some of the recommendations seems so obvious, but none of us our doing them, making the time to even attempt to do them or thinking twice about skipping over the obvious steps to creativity just to check something else off our to-do list. Other recommendations are easy to accomplish, it is just a matter of setting out to do them and getting them on the calendar.
So, why is this book my new “life guide”? “The Accidental Creative” it also about leadership, team work, time management and life happiness. To quote the book again:
“It is more and more difficult in today’s world to segment your life into buckets like ‘work,’ ‘home,’ ‘relationships,’ hobbies,’ and so on. Every area of your life affects every other, and a lack of engagement in one area will quickly infect the rest. As you implement these practices, you will find that your newfound creative energy will infiltrate not just your work life, but other areas of your life as well. A rising tide raises all boats.”
This book is a definite recommend.