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Let's say you're a designer or art director who's eager to move up, but you're being told you don't have the business chops to be a creative director. How can you get your nose out of the art department and make it happen?
In some circumstances it may be possible for you to move over and spend some time as an account executive. This will develop your sense of how the business works, and you'll get to use your people skills in a quantifiable way -- when you do the job right, you win a sale and make the client happy.
If your employer isn't wild about this idea, you may have to consider whether you need to move out in order to move up.
The advise is sound and excellent, however, not many creative people are also sales people. And most sales people are not creative (although some like to believe there just as creative). There are talented people with leadership qualities in art departments biting at the bit to move up to Art Direction and Creative Direction positions and fully capable of doing the work for those positions but just not cut out to do the cold sell. They can handle themselves, the projects and clients and drive the focus on target but aren't cut out to make first contact or have the thick skinned emotional barrier and be confidence with savvy charisma of most good account reps. Those types may best be helped by a mentor type Executive Creative Director or Advertising Director priming them through projects they can learn from and business practices they can become comfortable handling over time. Maybe not practical for the smaller agencies in which case they may need to go through the struggles, rejections and discomforts of being outside there element just to say they understand that end of the business and get the knowledge base they need.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|