The Creation of Adam from the Sistine Chapel Ceiling, by Michelangelo, 1508-1512 (Wikipedia - public domain)
We all appreciate attention to detail.
Teams and individuals who can spot errors and root out issues are valuable assets, saving us from embarrassment and headaches later on.
But without a clear and compelling vision — without a well-communicated plan — they’re going to be aimless.
Michelangelo’s work on the Sistine Chapel is the perfect example.
He created sketches to guide his work, which helped his assistants understand the enormity of the undertaking and how the frescoes would tell a larger story.
While we’re used to seeing single panels or even a zoomed-in shot of one panel, when we look at the work as a whole, it’s even more impressive.
|Sistine Chapel - virtual tour|
When we know that we’re part of something bigger than the portion we’re working on individually, it gives purpose to our work.
I’m reminded of this essential part of leadership every time I drive down a local street.
Every year in the more rural areas of this road, crews have to cut back the overgrowth of trees and other foliage encroaching on power lines. It’s a necessary process, lest the lines get tangled or have the potential to be taken down by wayward limbs.
I have to imagine that the instruction is very bare bones: clear the branches away from the lines.
And the work follows that instruction to the letter, producing work like this:
But if we zoom out a bit and look at the trimming as part of the bigger picture, we see that while the team did do what they were specifically asked to do, they didn’t create something that blended with the local landscape.
That is, they missed an opportunity to create something artistic as well as functional.
The power lines may be safe, but the sight lines are painful.
When you help your team understand your vision and the broader goal, they’ll be in a better position to achieve greatness.
Thanks and I’ll see you on the internet.
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