We still pretend that tangible assets are most important when research shows us that intangible assets account for about 95% of the market value of many organisations. It’s not the bricks and mortar than matter, it’s the people. Specifically it’s the Knowlege assets, the Relationship assets, the Emotional assets, the Reputational assets and the Time assets that count. And behind each of these lies LOVE, TRUTH and BEAUTY.
In my new book “Cracking Great Leaders Liberate Human Energy at Work” I put forward the business case for Beauty. Here is an excerpt from the part on Beauty:
Many managers feel uncomfortable discussing beauty which is strange because many of our greatest scientists have understood its importance.
Paul Derac the winner of the Nobel Prize for physics in 1933 said: “It is more important to have beauty in ones equations than to have them fit experiment.”
Also, it was the search for beauty that drove Einstein. He believed nature displayed a beauty that was discernible. The characteristic feature of Einstein's beauty was simplicity. He used beauty as his most important measure of success. He always tested his thoughts and discoveries against a measure of beauty. Imagine his reaction if his famous formula (E=MC²) had had 20 factors. Max Planck wrote that in Einstein’s general theory of relativity “the intimate union between the beautiful, the true and the real has again been proved.”
I'm sure beauty is the source of much Greatness in business, yet we seem to be blind to it. As John Fitzgerald Kennedy said: “I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty.”
When I talk about beauty, I have in mind a combination of ideas like:
- Being of human scale
- Being elegant, simple and easy to understand
- Being life affirming
- Being in balance and harmony with nature
- Being close to the Godlike qualities that exist in all of us
- Being deep in the sense of universal truth
- Being close to the essence of the issue.
One of the great joys of taking up art was the way it forced me to look and be present. It was like wearing glasses for the first time; suddenly I saw shapes, outlines, colours, contrasts, negative spaces and depth that I had been unaware of before.
Managers also need to get into the habit of testing their thinking and their results against a measure of beauty. Their search for beauty will lead to truth and reality.
I recommend a three part Beauty Scale to measure the beauty of your work:
- Does it pass the WOW scale? Where: 1 = 'A real turnoff.' 10 = 'I love this.'
- Does it pass the design scale? Where: 1 = 'Repulsive/unfriendly.'10 = 'Breathtaking.'
- Does it pass the worthiness scale? Where: 1 = 'Who cares?' 10 = 'Earth shattering.'
- Can you imagine a world where everyone scored 10,10,10 for everything they did? I’d love to get your feedback on this idea, even the accountants!
- My new book (Cracking Great Leaders) describes a new business model based on love, truth and beauty and shows leaders how they can implement it within their organisation. Read the book. Even if you don’t agree with me I promise it will make you think more deeply than normal.