Organizational Artistry LO12209

JC Howell (
Sun, 26 Jan 1997 21:12:26 +0000

There is an idea that I have been playing with for a while that just won't
go away. I though I would toss it out here and see what others think.
This is the idea of organizational artistry.

An individual is drawn to a field of endeavor for whatever reason. That
person learns the basic conceptual foundation and the technical aspects of
performing in that realm. Once technical competence is attained,
technical mastery is sought. Once technical mastery is achieved, the
technical methods and tools are applied creatively to address problems
which arise in that area. This is the focus of most organizational
training and development programs. This produces excellent technicians,
but not artists.

An artist seeks to gain conceptual mastery, not just technical mastery.
In fact, technical mastery may not be desired, just technical competence.
Once conceptual mastery has been achieved, those concepts go on to become
a part of that person's essence. They process these concepts without
conscious effort. They begin to create and innovate. They express their
innermost ideas and ideals through this medium. They also continue to
grow and develop in that area ... because they have to. This continues
regardless of the vocational context they encounter.

We usually think of an artist as one who draws, or sculpts, or plays
music. I think the term artist can also be applied to managers,
technicians, professionals, secretaries and office managers.

What do you think? Am I out in left field here? Is there room in the
typical organization for artistry? In a Learning Organization? Is
artistry desirable?


Clyde Howell

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