In the modern world, we are used to dealing with machines and the fickle whims of technology. We approach most things as though they ought to work to satisfy us and be completely reliable and predictable. Gone are the days when a city boy like me depended on animals to get things done. But the lessons I'm learning from my two buckskin geldings, Dakota and Casey, have the same steep learning curve as an Iphone might have for you. They also carry some interesting information about creating good working relationships with the human beings in our lives.
I'm hoping that a few of the lessons that have tried my patience and have on occasion caused me pain are worth sharing. A little horse sense can serve a man pretty well in the modern world as he tries to work well with others.
1) Unreasonable fears can cause real problems. My horse Casey took a shock to the nose from an electric fence. Now he's afraid to go through gates. How many of us find ourselves dealing with the unreasonable fears of others?
2) You've got to have more time than the horse. To move past Casey's fear of gates, I've spent days just standing or working with him, to ease him past this "fear barrier" so he can see that there is no danger. How many times do clients react to creative ideas with this kind of unreasonable fear?
3) Leadership requires earning the trust and confidence of others. Dakota spooks pretty easily. I've spent a lot of time with him earning his trust with calm handling and steady riding. At times I have to push him past obstacles that scare him so that we can move forward together. How many times as creative talent, do we get frustrated when a client backs away from our direction? Sometimes you've got to take time to learn what bothers a client and stay constant with some gentle pushes to work through it. These challenges also force me to stop and reconsider what I'm doing. Can I take responsibility and find an innovative answer to the problem?
4) Losing control. When I get irritated with a horse, I often lose the initiative and trust I've worked hard to create. I've had to remind myself to be a calm, firm leader to get us where we need to go. As soon as I lose patience, I lose control.
My modern, by-the-clock mindset is often the trouble here. Horses don't wear watches. So again, takng the time to understand the problem and see the solution is more productive than simply getting mad. How many times have we let some bit of creative frustration hurt our progress with a good client?
5) Reward. We usually look to results alone as our measure of success. This is clearly important in business. But we work as a team with people who call on us to serve them. It's important to recognize and congratulate our creative partners for their work on a job well done. Sometimes we have to give a little to get more done.
Fresh carrots or apples seem to work for the horses.
A sincere, "Thank You, you did a great job on this." might work better for us and our working partners.
You might have some horse sense of your own to add to my list of suggestions for dealing with people in the creative process. I hope you'll share what you've learned.
The Production Room was founded in 1995 as one of the first full time digital commercial recording facilties on the central coast of California. We started with 4 stereo tracks, 16 mb of ram and a 250 mb hard drive. A lot has happened since then. Today we're focusing on ways to serve clients who are creating web based media content. This includes strategic planning to integrate the benefits of traditional media, web design and IT solutions into new programs produced especially for on-line consumers. Join in the conversation. Throw rocks at glass houses. Share your vision of the future. This is the most progressive time in the media arts since Johannes Gutenburg invented movable type!