Researching and writing about the changing world of work and the future of the labour market, one tends to forget about the past. Now here is a great reminder about mastery and craftsmanship via the painter, Vincent Van Gogh.
Vincent van Gogh worked as an artist only for a decade. In those 10 years he managed to produce 840+ paintings and 1000+ sketches having almost no formal training as artist at all. How did he manage to be so productive and at the same time reach an extraordinary level of mastery? We are lucky that Van Gogh also wrote a lot of letters of which 900+ are still available today. These letters shed a light on his way of working and show how Van Gogh approached his work, the struggles he faced and how he managed to overcome them. Ger Driesen did in depth research on these letters to come up with 7 principles that Van Gogh used to develop his ‘art of work’. These 7 principles are still very useful and applicable today.
– a podcast with learning and development expert, Ger Driesen
In this fast-pacing world, leaders have to be on top of their game. There is a lot of advanced technology helping us in delivering our promises to customers and being there for team members. Yet the more we use technology, the more the rest of our work will change. Could there be some lessons to be learnt from a 19th century artist, who was working in a very different context and environment?
On the WorkLife Hub podcasts we discuss quit often the notion of “servant leadership”. The greatness of leaders shining through when they are there for others, and their organisations to thrive. And how can they do this? What could be some parallels from Van Gogh’s mastery to today?
Humility for one. CEOs and leaders don’t have all the answers. Being a master at anything today requires constant learning and up-dating ones knowledge and skills. Don’t assume you know everything. Solutions and innovation may come from the unlikeliest of places sometimes. Inspiration can happen in the ordinary. Just think of Van Gogh’s paintings of his every day surroundings, like his shoes, potatoes, sunflowers.
When we imagine success, or rather successful CEOs, we often associate their success to the rock-star moments of product launches, Ted talks or IPO moments. What we don’t see is the tedious, the repetitive, the mundane, all of those aspects of their work, that contributes to building a solid foundation and a sustainable company. And this, even in the 21st century requires a lot of time.
Staff won’t acquire new skills in a 1-hour webinar, knowledge won’t be acquired and mastered unless we have the time to invest in learning, practice, making mistakes, repetition and perfecting.
So what is Ger Driesen’s advice to leaders? Look at the future and don’t discard the past. Find inspiration from the history and legacy of their companies; use the resources that are already there, and combine them with the opportunities offered by our hyper-connected world.
This is where you can reach Ger Driesen: www.cld.academy
Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/gerdriesen
Meet him in Cologne at the HRM Expo! 15 September 2015, 10:15 am, Forum 6 | International – Hall 3.1
About the author
Agnes Uhereczky is a social entrepreneur, lobbyist, podcaster and workplace transformer. She is the co-founder of the WorkLife HUB. Agnes is lobbying both at EU level for a more optimal policy and legislative environment for organisations to be ready for work 4.0, and also helps organisations directly on their transformation journey by identifying current and future labour market, industry and workplace trends.