I'm currently the Director of Creative at Game Taco inc. Managing and directing my team has been an incredible privilege and a role I take quite seriously. I've been fortunate enough in my career that I've worked with several great Art Directors whose leadership, mentorship and friendship have helped shape me into the Director I am today.
My Management Philosophy
Work life balance is more than important - it's everything. Crunch culture sucks. It lowers productivity, reduces job satisfaction, and produces lower quality work. I strongly believe that having reasonable work hours is beneficial to everyone. That's not to say that an occasional, one-off long day can't happen, but I strive to make sure that it is not part of my teams culture, and the company culture as a whole.
Personal Connections Matter.
I've found over the year that it's the personal connections (in addition to interesting work) that form strong working relationships. Everything comes easier - giving difficult feedback, forgiving mistakes, collaboration when we make the effort to form genuine relationships with our teammates.
Like many things, I learned the importance of forming relationships when I made the mistake of not fostering one. A year and a half ago, our studio started working with an art team in Kiev, Ukraine. While the artists were talented, I was having a difficult time getting them to produce work at the level that I know they were capable of. I felt like there was this barrier that I couldn't get past. Until one day it occurred to me, I'm the person who swoops in once a week - tells them what they're doing wrong - and then flies away. This was not the relationship I wanted to have with this team. So, I started scheduling 1:1 time with them. We didn't talk about work - I asked them about themselves, their families, interests etc. and in turn they started asking about me. All of the sudden, a door opened... and over time, they started reaching out with questions about work. I noticed a more positive attitude in meetings and the quality of work improved.
We all work better when we work together. Working with others for feedback, problem solving, brainstorming etc makes for a stronger team and product. Collaborating is the key to continued learning and growth both personally and professionally. I don't believe that top-down management creates the best outcomes - great ideas can come from anywhere. Putting ones own ego aside and working together across the organization creates investment better outcomes than going it alone.
Hire Great People
Hire great people, trust and empower them and they will make great work. Bonus points if they have a skill set I don't have, gives me the opportunity to learn something new.
Work my team has created while I was Director
One of the projects I'm most proud of my team accomplishing is what we've dubbed "Operation Sunshine". After Sparcade was taken down in 2016, much of the app was repurposed for the WorldWinner app. But, without the arcade games and fans the app ended up dark and heavy and 50 shades of blue. After several years it started to feel pretty dated as well. And thus, Operation Sunshine was launched to bring our app back into the light.
Operation Sunshine was made a reality by
UI/UX Manager Stevie MacLeod &
UI/UX Designer Cynthia Farruggia
Spades Showdown Redesign
Art and Animation by Bryan Walton
Art by Bryan Walton, Animation by Bryan Walton and Charlie Roode