Creatives are a fairly feral breed. A lot of energy is devoted to corralling and controlling them. Chasing them down the street and trying to lure them back. Distracting them with shiny objects. "Hey look, is that the latest [insert music, video game, or technology reference]? Now, how about that presentation? Any ETA on that?" One jab step and the creative is completely off track and well into the next jurisdiction.
It's not really possible to contain "creative personalities." I use quotes around that because I know it's how the analytical agency folks see us. And understandably so, projects depend heavily on creatives being able to achieve focus. That, however, is not always easily attained between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM while combating constant distraction.
Maybe there's a better way to wrangle creative work constructively within deadlines. I came across this article from The 99 Percent. Their theory is to focus on results, not time. When managed correctly, I'd have to agree with this idea.
They've broken it down into three areas of importance:
1. Trust – When trust is evident, the wile creative is at ease. No need for welding gloves, tranquilizer guns, or extension nets. They can be safely approached. Who knows, maybe even unknowingly trained with stealth-reverse-psychology methods.
2. Emphasis on results not hours – One thing is certain, creatives are competitive. You don't have to throw down an official gauntlet, they hunt competition. Tell them what you expect and then retreat back to a safe viewing distance. Challenge them with results, and they will deliver on schedule. (Caution: Do not ever directly instigate creative against creative competition. Believe me, it's always understood. It gets ugly when it's spotlighted and prohibits team-building.)
3. Respect the creative process – It's somewhat elusive and cannot be forced. Rigidity leads to mediocrity. Take the anxiety-factor away and the process will develop better results. Teams collaborate and concepts strengthen.
You still have to make your deadlines, but on realistically-optimal terms:
"Of course, there is no short-cut for the perspiration required to make ideas happen. But the time required to complete a project successfully must reveal itself rather than be dictated. If you care about your work, you will do what it takes to get it done right."
[Post inspired by and quote taken from: Focus on Results, Not Time. by The Behance Team and The 99 Percent]