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If you hire a driver, let him drive.

Collaboration makes creating better. It finds flaws and lets the best ideas rise to the top. But collaboration must stem from a genuine need. It cannot be forced.

Many folks buying creative know this and give creators the trust required to get outstanding results. These clients leave final decisions to those doing the work, letting the full weight of responsibility fall on the shoulders of those they hired. It’s what we do with the musicians, photographers and coders we hire, and it’s what we suggest to those who hire us: “Sit back and enjoy the ride.”.

But there are plenty of folks buying creative who mistake dictating changes for collaboration.

It’s usually out of good intentions, but this kind of heavy hand is a death grip for a project. The project will still get done, just not very well, because it isn’t given the room it needs to grow into the best results. Usually, the client doesn’t realize they are doing this and are just trying to help. But even small changes dictated without trusting the creator to make the final decision causes reverberations that diminish quality, eat up time and worse of all take away the vision from the creator. It’s like hiring a driver in a city you have never visited to take you to a location and then telling the driver where to turn. Everyone ends up lost, and the driver gets blamed.

Rightly so. It is the driver’s (creator) responsibility to listen to the passenger (client), so the passenger will end up at the location they need to be on time. But the passenger must trust the driver to do this. If the passenger continues to call out directions, it is the driver’s responsibility to politely insist they sit back and enjoy the ride. If the passenger cannot trust the driver, then it is the driver’s responsibility to stop and let the passenger out at the bus stop.

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