When I was offered training to support my role as studio manager I jumped at the chance to go on the Level 5 Operations/Departmental Manager Apprenticeship course. I thought it was a great opportunity to ensure that I was doing the best for my team.
The course covered a lot of different topics including; leading people, managing people, communication and problem solving to name but a few, and each module was supported by a workbook and workshop. The workbooks contained theories and tools that you could apply to various situations as they arose. However I found the workshops more valuable as I was talking to other people in management positions who were having similar challenges or who had already seen success after implementing one of the theories or tools.
One of the first things we looked at on the course was time management and I’ve been applying the 4 D’s (Do, Delay, Drop, Delegate) to my workload ever since. The whole studio has embraced the mantra ‘eat that frog!’ which essentially means you should tackle the job you’re least looking forward to or you’ve been putting off. then you will be more productive for the rest of the day. Getting a handle on time management meant that I had time to assess what the studio was doing well and what changes we could benefit from.
The studio is a great team of creative minds who are always eager to learn more and develop their skills. I wanted to apply some of my own learning from the course to bring structure to my team’s personal development. I set about introducing bi-monthly one-to-ones. What I have found is that by having a structured hour long catch up, the team felt they had my undivided attention and it gave me the opportunity to just listen to how things are going, hear about any concerns they might have, and highlight some objectives (we call them 3 must wins) for the coming months. This feedback is invaluable to find out how individuals feel they are doing, how they feel the studio is working and what we are doing well as an agency. This feedback helps with personal development and helps to feed into operational and strategic plans for the agency. Having that time away from people’s desks and the face-to-face sit down I have found to be both a morale boost and motivational. It also means that any concerns or issues can be dealt with swiftly before they become bigger.
Based on feedback from the one-to-ones I wanted to introduce 6 month training plans with the studio. FIG has always championed and encouraged training but in a busy studio it is something that can slip by the wayside. Again having dedicated time set aside for training and a clear plan with set objectives, a specified time frame and how that learning could be applied to their role proved very useful. We’ve seen even from just the first few training plans people have learnt new software, developed photography skills, learnt how to animate flat artwork and keep up with industry trends and best practice. It has also been great listening to the team share their knowledge and findings with each other.
Being able to apply the tools I have learnt on the course and see how they have benefitted the team has been a real motivator for myself and I’m so glad that not only did I get something out of the course I feel the studio has got something out of it too.