In almost any business, it seems inevitable that the creatives and the business managers will lock horns occasionally. When our company launched ICOSA Media, there were surely some misunderstandings when the creative team came on board. The parent company had run successfully for 30 years with business types who all understood one another, how they work and how they get results. Then suddenly there were video and graphics teams in the mix, who rely on inspiration and creative juices, and feel deadline pressure in a different way. You may have seen similar conflicts in your office, between the managers and the programming team. Have you considered that the conflict may be about how each group plans and uses their time?
I came across an old article recently, which explains the difference between "Makers"and "Managers". It goes back to 2009, written by English programmer and venture capitalist, and co-founder of the Y Combinator, Paul Graham - but the observations are as true today as ever.
Graham describes the Makers as programmers, but his theory applies as well to creative fields like graphics design, writers and video producers. Managers are the bosses, who view their day in one hour blocks, just like a typical appointment book. As Graham says, "When you use time that way, it's merely a practical problem to meet with someone. Find an open slot in your schedule, book them and you're done." Makers, on the other hand, prefer to use time in larger blocks, "... like half a day at least." says Graham, "You can't write a program well in units of an hour. That's barely enough time to get started." The same is true for graphics or video production. You can't always edit a video in an hour. It can take half a day, or an entire week, depending on the assignment.
That's why Makers hate meetings. When Managers want to meet for an hour at 2:00, it can throw off a Maker's entire day. Instantaneously, an afternoon of productivity is split into two pieces too small to really accomplish anything. Graham points out that if he has a meeting in the middle of the day, he's not likely to start on an ambitious project that morning.
Both types of schedules work great on their own. It's when they want to work together that things get hairy. Managers just want to "Grab coffee." Makers just want to be left alone. When a manager wants to make an introduction or bring in a client, a maker has two choices according to Graham, "We can meet with them, and lose half a day's work; or we can try to avoid meeting them, and probably offend them."
Again, Graham's observations were written five years ago, and I think the corporate world has made some progress in adapting to the varied schedules of Makers and Managers. But here's something to think about; do you consider the perspective of your co-workers when you plan meetings, or even pop in for a quick conversation? You might be throwing a wrench in their productivity. Can you adapt your schedule to work with meeting planners? Maybe you can request meetings at the end of the work day so you can work continuously through the day. How do you handle differences in workflow?