Occasionally I notice that everything that happens around me focuses on a single topic. This confluence of events seems to be occurring right now…focused on how the arts can improve management skill. Since I have always been a strong proponent of the value of liberal arts and fine arts as the best way to improve creative and strategic thinking, I find this intriguing. It is in direct opposition to government mandated quantitative measurement as the way to grade the success of education.
Quantitative measurement of education leads to teaching to the test, to replacing creativity of thought with rigidity of structure, to group think.
And art, what does art bring?
Art brings eloquence in communication. Managers everywhere spend large amounts of time talking or showing PowerPoint presentations but little time actually communicating. Art is all about communication…and sharing your story. It’s getting your message across in ways that people understand in their gut. Managers who are skilled storytellers become leaders, leaders who are able to explain not only the technology but also the meaning.
Art brings innovation. Managers spent all too much time living in the past and repeating what went before while artists start each day creating something new. They exercise their imagination and train their hands and bodies to express their ideas in paint or sound or movement. Managers who are skilled innovators learn to lead not force.
Art brings willingness to take risk. Managers often do all they can to ensure they banish all risk. But growth and creativity are risky. Artists push the envelope, try new things, learn to use what they know to leap into areas that are unknown. Knowing how to assess risk and use it wisely leads to managers who rally their people forward into new heights of success.
To paraphrase Lilly Tomlin, Art? Business?, Business? Art?