Tina Roth Eisenberg, founder of Creative Mornings and owner of SwissMiss design blog and studio, was one of the speakers at Adobe MAX this year. She talked about some of the values she bases her companies on, her approach to being a leader and her favorite interview questions. She is genuine and inspiring and has a unique way of building fun and creative work environments.
Tina was trained as a graphic designer in Switzerland and Germany but had a dream to go to New York City. She recalls the business owner who hired her for her first job in NY and continues to show gratitude toward him.
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” — William Arthur Ward
Becoming a mom inspired Tina to pursue other dreams she had in life, such as starting her own design studio and her own blog. She says, “I’m a better boss because I’m a mom and I’m a better mom because I’m a boss. Both of these roles force you to really think about what you stand for and what your values are.”
She was convinced there is a right way to run a company, but what is it? She didn’t study business in school. She claims she knew nothing about what she was doing, and tried to learn from reading books and talking to others. It was then she discovered there is no one right way to run a company. A blueprint for success does not exist. Instead, as a founder or manager, you create an environment influenced by your personality and then you make sure you hire people who will thrive in that environment. In Tina’s case, her environment is loud, colorful, fun, and with lots of feelings. She puts people over growth. She puts doing the right thing over profit. She has fun finding the right people to fit into her environment. Questions she asks when she interviews help her to learn the candidates’ personalities and values.
• “Tell me something about yourself that I can’t find on Google.”
• “Do you consider yourself lucky?”
• “Who do you admire?”
• “What if we were surrounded by radical generosity?”
• “When was the last time you went out of your way to do something nice for someone else?”
• “What do you do when you’re not working?”
• “What do you miss most about your old job?”
• “What is something you’re bad at but wish you’d be good at?” “Are you doing anything to get there?”
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” — Anais Nin
Enjoy where you work and who you work with. Build community within your workplace. Some of the following activities Tina has incorporated into her office do just that.
• Monthly salad club where each team member brings something to contribute to a salad bar.
• Weekly 5-10 minute check in to share one good thing that happened in the past week and one negative thing. It can be personal or work-related.
• Friday “wind down” where they all stand on the fire escape outside their building and wave at people walking by, welcoming the weekend.
• Monthly happy hour with everyone in their building to hang out and have wine and beer. They invite speakers from the community to give a 5 minute talk on a recent project.
• One time they hired PuppyParty.com to bring puppies to the office for an hour.
• There is a drawer in the office filled with confetti simply because sometimes you need to celebrate with confetti.
There is a lack of kindness and empathy in the work place. Do something nice for someone. Fill a drawer in your office with confetti and don’t be afraid to sprinkle some once in a while.