The Luxury of Reflection: A Personal Journey of Learning and Transformation.
To seek out and collaborate with those who share your prime interests at a professional level is both rewarding and inspirational. I’ve found that personal connections in every area I have worked have been as important as every other form of learning. Conventions, seminars, formal and informal meetings, advisory groups, social networking, all connect you with like minds (and dislike minds) and immerse you in the community of practice. Personal networks are critical on many levels as connectivity often results in unexpected opportunities and professional enrichment.
We live in an attention economy. Getting and keeping the attention of those we want or need to influence is a critical talent that takes a great deal of time, energy and skill to develop. Good presentation skills are essential in our visual culture for developing and giving formal presentations, pitching ideas, interpersonal communication, training, mentoring and competing for attention with the myriad of messages everybody is subjected to every day. It takes a great deal of practice to present well and develop clear and convincing arguments – as it does with the written word.
Nobody needs to be reminded these days that we live and work in a truly international work environment. In a world of competing creative centers and globally distributed production, the ability to understand cross-cultural issues in storytelling and art direction is a critical skill for developing universal content.
Even more demanding are dealing with “novel” business practices, production methods, corporate culture and organization, roles, responsibilities, language translation, social, political, religious, artistic, and historical influences as well as diverse cultural practices and norms. And layered on top are the technical challenges of communication across multiple time zones.
Working on several continents and in different cultures results in invaluable learning experiences as well as adding perspective and depth to one’s professional and personal portfolios. Creative personal and professional evolution often requires a rich pool of diverse knowledge and experience gained through a wide range of interactions and involvement with disparate people and events. These are not essential conditions for everyone and there are of course exceptions, but as a general rule creativity is energized by diverse connectivity.
I incorporated my consulting company, IMAGINA Corporation, in 1985 and it gave me additional industry and government related experiences that have been really helpful especially when I transitioned away from full employment in formal education a decade ago.