Some agencies tell me they have an accountability problem– that creatives don’t complete their work by the deadline a PM assigned. What these agencies are really describing is …
… a management-style problem.
The example I see most often is when traffic or project managers instruct creatives on what to work on down to the hour throughout the day.
Creatives then share with me that they feel they don’t own their own schedules, so they wait to be told what to do next.
Their spirit has been broken.
In other cases, I see creatives simply ignoring a PM’s strict schedule.
They don’t report to the PM, so they focus on their own priority, which is creating great work.
The result: PMs say creatives aren’t accountable– that they don’t have a sense of ownership for their work.
Now, this is not the fault of the project manager or creative. They’re operating in the best way possible within the structure that’s been built for them.
For team members to feel accountable, they need to develop a sense of ownership over their work. To develop a sense of ownership, they need to be the ones to commit to deadlines vs. being told.
You won’t produce ownership by telling people what to do. That’s controlling behavior and no one wants to feel controlled.
This is all too common in hierarchical org structures that use silos. These structures unintentionally foster defensive inward thinking rather than team-based thinking focused on delivering value to clients as quickly as possible.