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difficult.’ I didn’t say anything. They said you have to real careful around her. I walk into
the meeting. She looks up from her desk, sees me and runs over, hugs me and says, ‘I’m
so glad you’re on the job.’ It was just figuring out that the one thing that this person
needed and it was not to be kept in the dark. Which a lot of time creative directors don’t
want people to know too much because they don’t want them to change their idea. My
attitude is that it’s their video—not my video.”
Chris Bilton, director of the Centre for Cultural Policy Studies at the University of Warwick in
the United Kingdom, attributes the often confrontational management and creative divide to
a compartmentalized educational system with separated disciplines. He suggests a
restructuring of the creative industries to foster “creatives who can manage and managers
who can be creative” (Bilton, 2011, p. 39). Carol, possessing both management and
creative expertise, is able to bridge corporate and crew negotiations with greater ease.
Your Value In The Workplace is Relational
What makes someone valuable in the workplace transcends professionalism and meeting
deadlines. It is about the ability to create a space for meaningful, relational dialogue that is
absolutely essential to collaboration. Often we do not have the skills to change the
conversation from accusatory to exploratory. When engaged in a work conflict, we often
don’t think of asking a simple question such as, “What kind of improvements would you like
to see from me?” With a simple reframing, there is the possibility of learning something
about our perceived demeanor and continuing the conversation in a more meaningful
fashion described by Gergen as “relational valuing.” In Relational Being, Ken Gergen
demonstrates how a growth-oriented conversation thrives when we ask relationship-
centered questions such as, “What is it about our relationship that is valuable, that gives it
life, that brings forth our best work? What do we see as an ideal for our relationship, and
how might we more fully achieve this ideal?” (Gergen, 2009, p. 342).
Carol respectfully invites input from management and coworkers and then she makes an
informed decision after listening to relevant partners. It is when individuals consciously
create a space for collaborative dialogue that the discourse changes from “me” to “we” --
and that is when real “conversational partnership” begins (S. Bava, 2005).
What Can I Do For You?
After sitting with Carol for a day, I took her “what can I do for you?” approach to heart. She
states, “’what can I do for you?’ has to be freelancer’s attitude in regard to the end client,
the immediate client, the crew people, and the actors. That’s where the Tibetan Buddhist
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