I’ve always been a big fan of Pointillism, an art technique first used to describe the work of French artist Georges Seurat and later Paul Signac. Becoming largely popular in the 1880s, Pointillism describes a technique of Neo-Impressionism painting in which hundreds of small dots or dashes of color are applied to the canvas to form images and landscapes.
When viewed up close, the painting looks nothing more than a mish-mash of dots strung together. But as you step back and change your proximity to the painting, suddenly the work of art, and all its intentional dots and their connectivity, materializes. The images are nothing short of breathtaking (click here)!
I am hardly an art connoisseur: I couldn’t look at two paintings and tell you which is from Raphael and which from Renoir. But I love discussing the concept of Pointillism because I’ve long felt there is a powerful lesson in this technique that can be applied to the business world—the idea of making one change to start seeing differently.
In business, we are overwhelmed with the volume of changes required to transform our organizations. All too often, we fail to realize that in making just one change we can start to march towards transformation. And that’s because change is hard! It forces us to admit something can be done better, asks us to look inward to accept responsibility and encourages us to try something new.
I’ve often believed that transformation starts with changing perspective—in pinpointing the systems and process improvements that need to be made today to help your business reach its desired business outcomes. For some businesses, that means taking the first step to automate a manual process that is causing their top talent to be stuck in the weeds, keeping the lights on. For others, that means connecting the dots between two disparate systems containing siloed data.
But for all companies, it means identifying and making the first change, and then another and another, to create momentum for business to innovate.
In theory, it all sounds so easy but, there are a number of factors that cause us to resist change. Some of my favorite excuses include:
My absolute favorite? “Our existing environment is good enough.”
But your current state is not good enough, especially if it’s riddled with broken processes, incomplete systems and bottlenecked workflows. And it’s certainly not good enough when you start to compute the cost of continuing to do business the exact same way you are doing it today.
Conversely, begin to think of the gains you stand to achieve if you start by making just one change. Does that first change allow you to reposition your in-house talent so they can get back to growing your business? Does another allow you to reinvest money back into the business by eradicating redundant, manual processes? Suddenly change can be exciting… in fact, it should be exciting!
When I studied Taoist philosophy and martial arts, I came across this awesome quote: No action is an action. Consider that for a second… how often do you let decisions, change and action pass you by? How often do you find yourself trapped in “the middle”—vacillating amongst choices, debating endlessly which way to go? How many times does this ambivalence get in the way of your ability to drive change, even when it’s imperative?
When we embrace change—and actively seek it out—we experience massive gain. We can improve business workflows, expedite processes, and work towards more positive business outcomes. And, perhaps more importantly, we create an environment in which complacency is never accepted.
It all starts with placing the first dot on the canvas or taking the first step towards change. It’s amazing when you consider the power of Pointillism in this context. A masterpiece is always hidden behind a seemingly chaotic, haphazard painting. But one small change—a few steps backwards—unearths the magnificent image that was there all along.
What masterpiece are you one or two steps away from?
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About the Author
Tim Hebert, CEO and Founder, Trilix / Chief Managed Services Officer, Carousel Industries
A perennial entrepreneur and innovator, Tim Hebert is committed to expounding on the importance of digital transformation, change management and the fusion of people, process and technology to derive positive business outcomes.