As a company on a mission “to organize the creative world to make ideas happen,” Behance focuses a lot on the challenges that creative teams face when actually executing ideas. Often times, the jumping from idea-to-idea-to-idea syndrome gets in the way of focusing on one particular idea enough to make it happen. Other barriers like staying organized and accountable are also likely to get in the way. But sometimes, for the few creative teams that actually make their ideas happen, another problem can come up: success.
A very interesting dilemma emerges when a creative team encounters success: they are asked to keep doing exactly what they are doing rather than focusing on new things. In some companies with especially successful teams, this is known as the darker side of becoming a “cash cow” for the business. If your team is making a lot of money, you may be asked to stop being creative and maintain the status quo. This lofty price for success can damage morale and turn an especially creative team stagnant.
Especially in a delicate economy, companies often don’t want to risk tampering with what works. Leaders in such businesses must remember that the source of their success is a group of motivated people. Continuous challenges and new projects help keep people engaged – especially in creative teams. While the near-term prospects of switching things up in a successful department may seem discouraging, the long-term need to keep people engaged is real.
If you find yourself in the enviable position of being part of the super-profitable department of your business, make a case for the ingredients that got you there. It is these ingredients that must be sustained above all else.
***This article is adapted from the research and writing of Scott Belsky and the Behance team. Behance runs the Behance Creative Network, the Action Method project management application, the Creative Jobs List, and develops knowledge, products, and services that help creative professionals make ideas happen.