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How is Leadership Art?

We’re so happy you asked.

According to a dictionary, art is skill. It is a display, application or expression of creative skill and imagination. Art produces works to be appreciated for their beauty and emotional power. (Oxnard English Dictionary)

Here are our 5 reasons why Leadership is Art

You are the leader – you are the artist. Regardless if you retain a formal title or are simply driven to have an impact on the lives of others, you are an artist. Artists are highly skilled in their area of focus and for you that’s people. In order to master this skill, you must first master who you are. Answering the very basic question of why you lead is not always easy. It takes uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. It is only then that we can uncover our raw, authentic and genuine answer. It is that answer that holds the key to unlocking the potential for so many.

The making of a work of art…is a strange and risky business in which the maker never knows quite what he is making until he makes it.

R.G. Collingwood, English philosopher, The Principles of Art, 1938

We do not lead widgets – we lead people. The beauty truly lies in the differences of our individuality. However, what provides beauty also provides it share of challenges. As leaders, we must find a way to connect with each person individually to ultimately understand what value they bring. Knowing the best mode to connect is an art in itself.

Art is the unceasing effort to compete with the beauty of flowers – and never succeeding.

Marc Chagall, Russian-French artist, remark, 1977

There are three lines you must know. First, the organizational lines, in everyday terms these are sometimes referred to as the “organizational politics.” Regardless of what you call it, it is how an organization functions when the dynamics are in full play. Secondly, you must know your team’s lines. The people you lead and supervise each have their own limits and boundaries and to be highly effective as a leader – an awareness of them is not optional. Finally, you must know your own lines. What are your personal boundaries and limits? Without this knowledge, you risk being unable to sustain your performance and then nothing else matters. Once, you know these lines then you can artfully strategize how to navigate them to manifest change.

Art is harmony.

George Seurat, French painter, Letter to Maurice Beaubourg, 1890

The root cause for the miscommunication epidemic plaguing organization and teams is assumptions. We naturally as a culture assume way too much. We assume so much that we’ve even given our assumptions a generic term, common sense. The work environment has proven to be a true breeding ground for assumption. We assume that people know what is professional attire. We assume that people know what is proper office etiquette. We assume that people know when to ask for help. All assumptions that we see being made everyday in organizations. The only way to combat assumptions is to establish expectations. Creating expectations that withstand perceptions is an artform. Not to mention the artful tactics needed to hold individuals accountable to them.

Ideas alone can be works of art….All ideas need not be made physical.…A work of art may be understood as a conductor from the artist’s mind to the viewer’s. But it may never reach the viewer, or it may never leave the artist’s mind.

Sol LeWitt, American artist, “Sentences on Conceptual Art,” in Art and Its Significance, 1994

Can you see it? Can you see the vision? Can you articulate what it looks like, sounds like, feels like? If you can’t, I am going to guess that your team can’t. You must see the vision. You must believe the vision. It is only then that the organizational vision has any chance of possibly becoming a reality.

To evoke in oneself a feeling one has experienced, and…then, by means of movements, lines, colors, sounds or forms expressed in words, so to transmit that feeling—this is the activity of art.

Leo Tolstoy, Russian author, What is Art? 1890

Learn About Our Approach

Why Do I Need a Creative Collaborator?

We often hear:

“Why should we hire an Organizational Development consultant? Why wouldn’t we fix our problems on our own? It’s our business, and we know it better than anyone.”

It’s a reasonable question. To understand why you need an outside collaborator, let’s take an in-depth look at their role.

What do Organizational Development (OD) Professionals do?

OD professionals identify and address underlying causes of organizational problems. They help management and employees process their discovery. And OD professionals create an action plan to improve the organization’s skills, knowledge, and understanding of how to do things better.

What are the benefits of hiring a Leadership Arts Associates Creative Collaborator?

Business professionals face a lot of demands from upper management, co-workers, and customers. It’s easy to get fixated on appeasing those individuals or meeting your goals. In some cases, that narrow focuses causes structural chaos with inefficient processes and wasted time and money. Our Creative Collaborators are a breath of fresh air for your organization in these scenarios. They look at how you do things without any outside distractions, and can tell you where you’re losing money and wasting time.

You are not alone. Plenty of organizations struggle to improve their performance. This may be the first time you are face to face with a hurdle. Our Creative Collaborators bring their experience. It’s not their first time; chances are they’ve worked with another organization in a similar situation.

Big changes and improvements require time. Your time is already consumed by your existing responsibilities, and adding anything on top of that is impossible. Our Creative Collaborators take on the extra work and tasks associated with diagnosing barriers and keeping everyone on track.

In some cases, you already know what you need, but you don’t have the necessary talent on your existing team. Hiring one of our Creative Collaborators gives you access to the skills you need without having to hire new employees.

When you work in a challenging environment every day, it is easy to get lost in the office emotions and politics. You have relationships with the people you work with, and it can be difficult to put those aside to make the hard decisions. Our Creative Collaborators don’t have those existing relationships. Their unbiased approach makes it easier to pinpoint the root of the problem and create an action plan.

Our Creative Collaborators show you how to be a better organization. When you take their direction, your organization delivers better results. Consistently delivering better results generates loyal customers, more revenue, and better profits.

Organizational Development professionals support your organization and show you how to be better, perform better, and grow successfully.

Numbers to Noodle

  • In 2014, 61% of companies did not see themselves as creative (Adobe & Forrester).
  • In 2014, 69% of the companies that consider themselves as creative or embracing creativity reported winning awards and national recognition for being a "best place to work" (Adobe & Forrester).
  • A Columbia University Study shows the difference between a 13.9% and a 48.4% turnover rate is culture (Siu).
  • According to the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick, happy employees are 12% more productive (Siu).
  • Unhappy employees cost American businesses over $300 billion every year (Siu).
  • Not addressing low engagement can result in a 33% decrease in organizational operative income (Siu).
  • The bulk of employees worldwide -- 63% -- are "not engaged," meaning they lack motivation and are less likely to invest discretionary effort in organizational goals or outcomes. And 24% are "actively disengaged," indicating they are unhappy and unproductive at work and liable to spread negativity to coworkers (Gallup).

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