Thursday, May 2, 2013

Just move it to the left: the real effect of poor creative feedback

This article by Jordan Cohen in the Harvard Business Review, called "Stop telling your employees what to do", made a lot of sense to me.

I regularly run workshops for marketers and account management on how to evaluate creative and more importantly, how to give constructive creative feedback. 

There's a common circular refrain that I hear often:

"Creative don't listen to us so we have to tell them how to fix the work".
"We are upset because they give us what we asked for, and not anything better".

Well, I talk often about the 'creative tap'. 

It can be open (good) or shut (not good). 

Why not good? 

You pay the same hourly rate whether creativity is gushing out the spout or whether a single drop of murky water squeezes out.

As a team working with creative, whether you are the marketer or the account manager, you should really want the tap open on full blast, because that way you get the best value for your money, and of course the best work, which should make you more money.

And if you tell them how to fix it, rather than ask them to recommend how to address what's bothering you, you get tap shut. Over time of course.  The creative process is usually optimistic, and usually tries to do what's right, until it senses there is no hope. That's when the tap is truly shut and the approach becomes 'whatever, just get it out'. 

So in this article in the HBR, it explains the neuroscience behind the rather simple tap story. 

It turns out there is a scientific reason why employees are less effective when tasks are dictated. Amy Arnsten, a neuroscience professor at Yale University, studies the importance of feeling in control. In an interview at her Yale Laboratory, Arnsten explained that when people lose their sense of control, such as when tasks are dictated to them, the brain's emotional response center can actually cause a decrease in cognitive functioning. This perception of not being in control, whether real or imagined, would presumably lead to a drop in productivity.

This mirrors the work done by Daniel Pink, in his book "Drive, the surprising truth about what motivates us":
Drawing on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does—and how that affects every aspect of life. He examines the three elements of true motivation—autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

So, by reducing autonomy, by disempowering through "getting the job done right", what you land up with is at best a loss in productivity, and at worst, lost innovation, lost creativity and a reduced chance for your brand to be noticed. 

No comments:

Post a Comment