Studio Maturity Result

Here you can find your personal studio maturity scores and feedback

Reactive
Managed & Sustainable
Optimized

Overall studio maturity

Level
Reactive

While your studio has some real strengths, particularly in our category, we also identified several areas where we believe implementing some simple changes could drive greater efficiency for your studio overall.

Overall
point total
/ 0

Maturity Across Functions

Studio Leadership
Team Lead Collaboration
Technology
Ways of Working
Production Quality
Operational Insights
Business Integration

Studio Leadership

/15 points
Reactive

You've described your Studio Management as:

There is no single appointed leader overseeing daily operations.

There are often either delays in operational decisions being made due to dissenting opinions or team leaders making conflicting decisions (e.g., disagreements on project priorities, conflicting instructions).

Implementing changes often feels challenging and takes longer (and is more stressful) than it should be (e.g., resistance from staff, lack of clear communication leading to confusion).

Taking the next step

For your Studio Management to achieve Managed & Sustainable we suggest the following:

Identifying Potential Operational Leaders Studios should begin by identifying candidates from their existing teams who have the potential to succeed in a Studio Manager type role (this role can go by many names but we’ll use Studio Manager for simplicity). This person needs to have the skills to oversee the entire content creation process end-to-end, collaborate with stakeholders (such as the studio team leads), and ensure seamless coordination between different departments to optimize productivity and quality across the board.

Identifying staff with leadership or managerial potential can be challenging. An indication of readiness for a leadership role is when an individual not only excels in their current position but also extends their influence into other areas of operation (e.g. advising or collaborating with other teams, or offering mentorship, training, strategic insights, etc.).

To identify a potential candidate, consider:
  • Who in your studio is generally well-respected by other studio staff? 
  • Who in your studio do people often come to for advice? 
  • Who has a broader understanding of your creative operations beyond their team? Or even better who has intimate knowledge of the creative production process in your studio end-to-end?
  • Who often serves as a voice for the rest of the studio staff?
  • Who have you seen perform well in high-pressure situations?
  • Who often serves as a mentor to new staff? 
Answering these questions will help you identify someone with the potential to move into a role overseeing the creative production process.
Defining the Studio Manager Role for the Rest of the Studio Staff

There’s much to say about successfully onboarding a new studio manager in their role, but one critical step involves communicating the new role in the context of the studio’s operations with the rest of the studio staff. 

We suggest bringing together the team leaders and the new studio manager to define the studio manager’s role as it relates to the studio’s team leaders. During these sessions, some of the topics covered might include:

  • Are team leaders reporting directly to the studio manager?
  • Where do the responsibilities of the studio manager end and team leaders begin?
  • What are the explicit responsibilities of the studio manager?  
  • How will the success of the new studio manager be evaluated? 
  • How will the effectiveness of team leaders' collaboration with the studio manager be assessed?

Regardless of how the studio manager's role is defined, we recommend documenting the conclusions reached by the group. This approach ensures maximum clarity and transparency across the entire studio team. To help you get started, we have a Roles and Responsibilities template (Inspired by Gino Wickman’s Traction) where you can record the responsibilities of each role. We recommend sharing this document with the studio manager and team leaders so it can be referred to when needed. 

Establish Regular Check-Ins with Team Leaders

Studio Management should have both weekly one-on-one meetings with each team leader and a weekly management meeting with all team leaders in attendance. 

One-on-one meetings are an opportunity for studio management to gain greater insight into the challenges of individual teams. They also serve as an opportunity to build relationships between themselves and team leaders. As a rule, we suggest 20-30% of the meeting focused on personal catching up (How are they feeling? Are they facing any personal challenges they are willing to share? Personal successes? Upcoming travel plans? etc.) and the rest focused on operational topics.  

The weekly team leader meeting is an opportunity to bring the team leaders together to discuss any operational issues as a group. This meeting should be held the same time and on the same day each week. We used Gino Wickman’s L10 Meeting as an inspiration to create our own Creative Force Creative Ops Meeting Agenda template. It can be downloaded here.

Reflection Question: How often are studio management and team leaders sitting down for one-on-one conversations? What about as a group?

Clarify Expectations

Resistance can also be caused by a lack of clarity. People are often much more willing to follow a set direction (even if they don’t necessarily agree with it) when they’ve been explained why particular decisions have been made. Studio management must take the time to regularly and clearly articulate their vision, goals, and the rationale behind the direction of the business and operational changes. 

Reflection Question: When studio changes are made, how much of an effort is made to share the reasoning behind those decisions with studio staff?

Demonstrate a Willingness to Act

Effectively engaging with team leaders involves more than just listening; it requires demonstrating responsiveness to their feedback. It's essential for studio management not only to hear the input of studio staff but also to take actionable steps based on it. Proactively identifying opportunities to implement suggestions sourced from studio staff fosters a sense of collaboration and goodwill between management and team leaders and can help build up goodwill for when more challenging changes must be implemented.

Reflection Question: What opportunities exist for studio staff to provide feedback to studio management? And what evidence have they been provided that their voice is heard by those leading the studio?

Provide Context and Rationale

Change is often scary. Before announcing operational changes, it is important to prepare clear and transparent explanations for the reasons behind the proposed changes. Team leaders need to understand why the changes are necessary and how they align with the broader goals and objectives of the organization. When people understand the "why" behind operational changes, they are more likely to support them.

Reflection Question: When operational changes are proposed, are they communicated along with the reasoning behind those changes? And is it made clear the business goals the proposed changes hope to achieve?

Address Concerns Proactively

Unaddressed issues tend to fester, especially in high-pressure environments like creative studios. Studio management must anticipate potential concerns or objections from team leaders and other studio staff and address them proactively. 

At the onset of a change initiative, this requires addressing some of the anticipated concerns as part of the communication of the change. 

Throughout the change process, studio management must continue to gather feedback from studio staff and provide explanations, reassurance, and solutions to alleviate their concerns and demonstrate that studio management values their input. 

We suggest having dedicated communication channels (like Slack channels with only team leaders and studio management), as well as scheduled discussion opportunities during the week (such as during a weekly team meeting between studio management and team leaders) where concerns related to the change process can be raised and addressed.

Reflection Question: When implementing changes to your studio operations, how soon from the time an issue arises is it typically addressed? Are issues foreseen? Or are they handled only once they’ve caused operational or personal issues?  

Involve the Team in Decision-Making

People are much more accepting of change when they feel they are part of the change instead of feeling like the change is happening to them. Actively involving team leaders in the decision-making process whenever possible can help relieve some of the anxiety change may cause. This can include seeking their input, ideas, and suggestions for how the changes might be implemented effectively. When team leaders feel like they have a voice and a stake in the decisions being made, they are more likely to support the change initiative.

Reflection Question: When changes are implemented, would studio staff describe themselves as part of the change process? Or would they say change generally happens to them?