The Monet Analogy

Have you ever gone to an art gallery to see a great impressionist picture in the flesh, one of the great Monets in the Quai d’Orsay or the National Gallery for example. If you’re lucky enough to see one of his great works without the crowds, then it’s sometimes hard to decide whether it is finer when standing close to it or standing back to get the whole picture. Close up the artistry of the brushstrokes is evident, the granularity and workmanship is evident. When standing back and half closing your eyes the effects of light stand out, the effective impression created by so many dots and strokes to give such a work of art. Of course both make the picture great. Looked at from any angle or in any way, whether you like Monet or not, it is a work of great skill.

So what has this got to do with performance management? I would like you to place yourself in the position of the artist as manager. To manage to create that picture, you must have a clear idea of what you want to paint. Not only that but the style in which you want it be painted, the way you do things, the way that makes your pictures different. Then you must get all the brush strokes to go in the right places, with the right colours, hue and blend. A painstaking task, taking many months.

Somewhat similar to what many managers have to do to run an operation. Bringing individual people together and aligning them to deliver great service. Only their brushstrokes have a mind of their own. Clarity of the results required must be communicated and fine-tuned as the picture develops.

This article is going to give a view of the techniques in performance management, the brush strokes as it were.


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