Creativity: Let it Flourish

Above all, what skill do you think a leader should master?  I’ll let you guess.  Any idea?  No?  Cue crickets chirping… 

Alright, alright — your silence is killing me so I’ll just tell you.  Creativity.  (Hence: dfs CREATIVE concepts.) Creativity is a powerful skill which needs to be cultivated and coddled by leaders. Creativity needs to bloom like a bright yellow sunflower on a hot summer’s day — or, in DFSCC’s case, blossom like a bubble-gum pink rose outside of our office steps.

And FYI — productivity and creativity do not have to clash. In fact, the two go hand-in-hand. By withholding your creative thinking, you are holding back potential discoveries.

So… As a leader, how do you manifest organizational creativity?  

This time I won’t wait for your response — I’ll give you the answer right now. That’s how sweet of a blogger I am. At DFS, we’re sweet as sugar. Yes? Yes. Okay, I’m getting sidetracked.

Manifesting Creativity: A Brief Guide Presented By Yours Truly

1.  Create a work environment in which new solutions and ideas can flow.  Provide clarity about which direction your workers should aim their creativity towards.
2.  Define strategic concepts.  And by that, I mean aim creative thinking towards the goals of your organization and the customers you serve.
3.  Spread art on one slice of bread and commerce on the other like you’re cookin’ up a mouthwatering PB & J. Don’t be creative for creativity’s sake — focus your creativity towards commerce.  For example, how will your new idea make your clients a profit?
4. Provide a space for collaborative expression. Creativity is a social culture, one that is founded upon collaboration. There should be a place in which co-workers can bounce ideas off each other like players at a ping-pong tournament (Yes — those do, in fact, exist).
5.  As a leader, you should act in a way that your role is to guide but not fail.  Does that make sense?  Basically, creativity needs structure to flourish — but it also needs to not be constrained.

Phew, that was a lot.  I hope my advice made sense — because if you embrace creativity in the right way (which we do at DFS, whoop whoop!), your organization (and clients, more importantly) can truly benefit.

Becoming a Better Boss: How to Communicate

I had this boss once who never quite understood how to articulate his thoughts properly. It wasn’t his fault, necessarily, he just wasn’t taught how to communicate.  Let’s just say, it made working for him a challenge. I became stagnant in my job, started to care less and less about the work I was doing, and eventually I quit.

Turns out communication skills are a necessity when you’re a boss. Otherwise, your employees are left in the dark without a match, a flashlight, or a pair of night-vision goggles…And that can cause problems. That can cause people to bump into walls or stumble and fall.  

So, how can you improve your communication skills as a boss? Take it from someone who works for a (Girl)boss. I’ve got a few tips for you based on my new experiences.

1. Be straightforward — let your employees know if they’re doing a good job.  And if they’re not, well, let them know that, too!  How else will they be able to make improvements?  Employees should know where they stand — be as transparent as you can.  Like a glass door, a floor-to-ceiling window, a clear umbrella, a — okay, you get the point.  Be open and honest.

2.  Indeed, you should give your employees feedback. But you should also allow them to provide you with feedback. Good communication is a two-way street. Everyone deserves a voice, yes? Yes!  And take your people’s input into account — don’t just blow off their suggestions or concerns like you would an old friend from high-school. (At DFSCC we all communicate and value each other’s thoughts no matter if it’s about weather, advertising campaigns, marketing collateral, or shoes.)

3.  Don’t be like a distant boyfriend or spouse who constantly travels overseas for work.  As the leader of your tribe, you should physically be present at the office.  Be available to your employees. Side note: We actually love our time together. That’s what building a great team is all about. You WANT to be together.

4.  Show some recognition for your employees every once in a while.  Let them know they’re valuable — it will give them warm-fuzzies inside. Praise keeps your team motivated to keep up their good work. Everyone deserves a pat on the back for a job-well-done. #WordsOfAffirmation

Now. . . Go forth and communicate (effectively)!

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What Separates Goals We Achieve from Those We Don’t

2 words, 8 syllables.  Delayed gratification… What exactly is gratification, how does one delay it, and why is doing so beneficial?  Yeesh — do you have a headache?  Me too.  Let’s break it down.  

Take this example.  

Instant gratification: picture yourself pulling up to the Starbucks drive-thru with a crisp $5 bill in hand.  You buy yourself that new overpriced S’mores Frappucino you’re mid-afternoon brain is telling you you need now now now!!  You take a sip and all your fears and worries melt away and you drift into a sugary bliss.  But your $5 is gone.  Spent. Tossed into the hands of a barista.  Yikes.

Delayed gratification: you forego the Frappucino and instead brew a cup o’joe at home or work.  You shove the $5 in your piggy bank to put towards your BMW savings, throw a Splenda into your home brew, sip, and smile. 

So basically, the gist is this: do you want a little now or a lot more later?

By delaying gratification, you can save yourself a lot of cash, boost your willpower and more quickly achieve your long-term goals.  Specifically, delaying gratification is a great skill to acquire when working towards career objectives.

But…How do we stick to our goals?  How do we deny ourselves that sugary, caffeine-filled 16 oz cup of Starbucks deliciousness?  

Number 1: Factor in fun when choosing how you plan to achieve your work-related goals.  If you enjoy the task you’re doing, or the work environment you’re in, you are more likely to stick with it in the long run.
Number 2: Sprinkle in a few immediate benefits whilst in pursuit of long-term objectives.  Listen to music while working, nibble on some fruit snacks, or scribble in your planner in 6 different shades of pink pens.
Number 3: focus on the positive.  Reflect on the good, throw out the bad.  Make your work experience as positive as it can be.  Your situation is all about your mindset.

All in all, don’t make your life horrible just for the sake of achieving a long-term goal.  While delaying gratification can lead to prosperity, the here and the now is also important — reaping benefits immediately doesn’t always have to take away from your future ambitions.  It’s all a balancing act — so, instead of wasting $5 on that Frappucino every day, treat yourself once a week!  Or, in my case, treating myself means running by the Village Grind for an iced americano on the way to work at DFS Creative Concepts.

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What I Learned My First Week as an Intern

We have all been the new girl (or guy) at work before. You’re a little afraid and excited, and at the same time you stayed up a little too long the night before as you let your nerves get the best of you… sound familiar? There is an eagerness to learn and be helpful, but you also are stuck trying to navigate those workroom norms while somewhere in the back of you’re head thinking — what have I gotten myself into? Well, that was me about a week ago as I entered DFSCC’s doors.

If you have ever walked into DFSCC, then you know it’s fashion forward and has an aesthetic that radiates good vibes and class. I mean, what is not to love about that zebra rug? But those “good vibes” are not just seen in the multitude of colors, it is an attitude that has been adopted by all who work here. I recently read an article which spoke in detail about ‘the leader’s dilemma’ in which employers struggle to balance the amount of stress they place on their employees with the high results they expect out of their employees’ work. I found this article interesting as I am often left speechless in trying to describe to family and friends my super positive experience of working at DFSCC as an intern, but I think I have a better grip on it now. From observations and conversations I’ve had at work, I have compiled a list of thoughts and actions seen daily at the DFSCC office which combat the leadership dilemma and aid in building a fulfilling work experience.

Self Care

We often use the phrase “When you dress well you test well” and I find this so applicable here. When you feel your best, you radiate confidence all around you. All of us here at DFSCC have our own unique style that we showcase in different ways. Self Care does not just refer to hygiene and personal presence, but in making sure that our mental health is as strong as our physical health. For some, this may be working out or reading a book to get some peace of mind after a long day of work. But in regards to the work place, having an honest discourse between everyone and transparency regarding all work matters leads to ease and more productivity.

Expanding our Boxes

In life there are some things we are good at and some. . . not so much. In that same regard, there are some things we like to do and some. . . not so much. One of the things we are able to do here at DFSCC is explore both sides of the spectrum. On my first day of work Dorothy told me something that really resonated with me. She noted that we are often placed into boxes depending on age, race, gender, etc. and that because of that the tasks we are ‘good’ at often become the only tasks we are allowed to do. Many times we become trapped in this cycle and may never really experience our full potential. From writing to designing to working on event days, we are able to dip our toes into a little bit of everything here at DFSCC experiencing what we love in a new context, and usually finding something else that we are ‘good’ at.

Feeling the Love

Whether it’s a shout out on our Instagram page or a one-on-one with Dorothy, there is plenty of love and gratitude to go around. I’ll be the first to admit that even though I’d like to think I am Wonder Woman, many days I find myself enlisting the help of my colleagues or Dorothy to complete a task. Though we are a super diverse crew, together we are family. And Dorothy reminds us all of this everyday.

As you can see here, I survived my first week. But, I can easily say that I didn’t just survive. I was able to thrive due to a work environment that allows for independence and creativity cultivated by the OG #GirlBoss Dorothy. So here is a shoutout to our fearless leader you inspire us daily. Thank you for pushing us to exceed expectations in our work, to keep calm in the craziest of of situations and to always add a little flare in everything we do.