I said a couple of weeks ago I was going to try to incorporate more music into the screed. Today I thought I’d bring in one of my favorite artists who is also (apparently) a management guru to answer a question: Is managing a business and other people an art or a science?
I suspect it’s some of both. There are data points and studies over time which point towards the scientific method: we tested a theory and this is what we found. There are scientific journals devoted to management which report on best practices and help managers to operate in a sound manner. Science at its best.
I happen to lean the other way, and it’s because of a quote from that great businessperson Bob Dylan:
“The highest purpose of art is to inspire. What else can you do? What else can you do for anyone but to inspire them?”
I believe that’s how one manages as well. Businesses can be inspirational and I’ve worked for people who have been as well. This notion is a lot more obvious when we’re talking about motivating and guiding a staff. Sure, sometimes we have to use “scientific” methods to make that inspiration real, but I’ve found over the years that the best moments happen when we just stand at the head of the line and pull the folks behind you along via inspiration. It’s art.
Many businesses are becoming involved in the Corporate Social Responsibility movement – giving back to the communities and people who support them and taking responsibility for the company’s effects on the environment and impact on social welfare. That can be inspirational as well (assuming it’s not faked) and done well it’s art too.
Where do you come out on this? Art or science? While there is no “right” answer, do you think trying to inspire is part of a corporate credo?