Finding Art in Unexpected Places

The phalanx was an example of artform, of excellent teamwork.

The phalanx was an example of artform, of excellent teamwork.

Firegeezer posted a very recent article that reminds us art, as in beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.  I found this interesting, especially since I just finished writing this post as well and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect (and the image he posted I’m sure attracted a lot of curiosity as well).

While there are individuals out there who think that art is only art if it speaks equally to everyone who views it, there are those of us who see things differently and can see beauty and form in things ranging from a symphony to that of graffiti. It’s a matter of being open to what constitutes art.

Now before you think I’m one of those people who think throwing a bucket of paint on a canvas is art (I don’t),  I think there’s a quote that defines it very nicely, from my own perspective, of course: “Art should not have to be explained”.  There are individuals who think that anything is art, and yet, to me, if it is ambiguous and requires explanation, then it hasn’t conveyed any message at all.

Art in its most basic form, to me, has to send a message.  If you can examine a piece of art, even some of the most hallucinogenic pieces, and at least grasp the concept, or can see or smell or feel something about it (even revulsion, I guess, if that’s what you are trying to convey) then to me, you are creating art.  Whether I should have to FUND your wild-ass version of art, we might have a discussion about later, but I digress.

Just as a musician composes her artwork, or a painter his, or a photographer, or a chef, we as leaders should consider our masterpiece in people and in developing the synergy of teams.  We should have vision and an understanding of what it is we want to convey when others engage our artwork; we should choose objectives like colors and use those directions to define our artwork; we should compose our piece by insuring that the people, their output, and their interactions work together like colors and the perspective and the proportion work together.

Leading is an art form.  There are those of us who can appreciate a well-orchestrated, professional team and conversely, we can recognize bad art, that is, thrown-together, amateurish, and discordant “teams”.  Does your team reflect art or is it haphazard and lack thought?  Is it a free-for-all like a bucket of paint thrown up on the wall (that even my three-year old could do) or has it gone under the microscope and been honed into perfection?

Treat your teams like a masterpiece and appreciate what you can do if you take the time and refine your people.  Step back and take in what each part lends to the orchestra and realize that if you conduct it, and shape it, you can take even the most out-of-tune elements and weave them into a concerto that amazes all who behold it.  While not every element sounds in tune alone, together, and with the right synchronization, it can be plugged in to create greatness. When you can do this, others will see you as a true leader rather than one who just so happens to be playing along with the band.

1 Comment

  • Dear Mick,
    You are very right that leadership is an art form. It has a technical side, just like painting and sculpture or theatre, but there is still the inexplicable art-making side of it.

    One thing that gets overlooked in art–it is a lot about decision-making, mostly instantaneous. Some things are decided beforehand: it’s going to be a 4 x 6 canvas, for instance.

    What color next. What goes underneath. What the composition is telling you about what it needs in order to be superior. With teams, you will get this spoken, but also unspoken, the nuances, the comparison to the initial vision. You are in a dialogue with your team in a similar way that you are with an emerging work of art.

    Ann T.

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