Beauty in Management

June 2013, by So-Young Kang

One of our favorite topics we work with clients on is “Designing Beautiful Organizations.” The word ‘beautiful’ often throws people off. What does that mean? The great news is that it means different things to different people. Often, the word ‘beautiful’ evokes wonder, joy, and brings a smile to your face. It also pushes people to think beyond the ordinary.

Today, we’ll talk about both intangible and tangible examples of beauty in management and how they can show up in your workplace. When we talk about intangible examples of beauty in management, it can look like a place, environment, or culture where staff really feel empowered and recognized; a place where their dreams can be fulfilled and where their potential is actually unleashed. This can all take place through good management, good (organizational) culture, and through a leadership team that really believes in their people and invests the time and the money to do so.

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On the tangible side, I want to share three different examples of how we at Awaken Group have used beauty in management:

1) Art, Design & Creativity – based on the idea of using art, images, drawings, photography, and film to evoke creativity, which we often use in workshops to tell stories of people and employees. They are also used to inspire creativity and new ideas. Sometimes, we even use theatre and role-play to train and to be able to get people to step outside of their box. There are many ways that art, sculptures, painting, and music can be used in very tangible ways, even in the workplace.

2) Nature – one of the ways in which we have worked with senior executives is, for example, I have literally taken a president of a company to the beach. Surrounded by the
beautiful ocean and blue skies really give the executive the time and a place to separate themselves out from the day-to-day and, as they are surrounded by beauty and nature, this helps them to self-reflect on who they want to be as leaders and how they want to lead their organizations.

Oftentimes, I find that the greatest times of inspiration I get in terms of for strategy comes when I am surrounded by beauty and nature.

3) Creative Collaborative Spaces – a practical way to allow for beauty to happen in the workplace through, for example, walls you can paint and draw on, having beautiful photos and art around the space, and physical spaces that enable collaboration to take place (e.g., not cubicles).

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So there are many, many ways to create beauty in management—how do you want to do it?