Why are Senior Executives Not More Like Van Gogh?

Aug. 15, 2016
oil painting

I am sure your first question is, "What does Van Gogh have to do with leadership turbulence?" Simple. A recent study by the National Autonomous University of Mexico discovered that the turbulence you can see in the Starry Night painting by the Dutch master has the same deep mathematical structure of turbulence in nature. It is remarkable that an artist, granted a pretty genial one, could get to understand turbulence so well to capture it in one of his paintings.

And then it hit me -- should we expect our best leaders to better understand turbulence just like Van Gogh did? Seems far fetched, yet many of our leaders are today paralyzed by turbulence or at best trying to stay afloat.

I was speaking at the annual Corporate L&D Institute conference recently and I had a great opportunity to meet with industry experts from Alcatel-Lucent, Cigna, MetLife, Ogilvy, Emirates, and other companies. What was clear in my conversations was that the way in which many teach leadership and strategy today is still anchored to frameworks and models that worked when the pace of change and its unpredictability were not as pronounced as they are today.

Shouldn't we prepare our leaders differently? I think so, and I would dare to say that the answer lies in new ways to organize and develop our leaders.

What do you think?

Image Courtesy of Pexels