Excerpt: “Business is ART”
Business is ART by Jon Umstead provides business leaders with an easy-to-follow approach to business success. Its purpose is to provide a simple process—with templates—that business and organizational leaders can follow, from the creation of a powerful vision to strategic business plans, performance metrics and back again in a continuous cycle of improvement. This book is filled with personal anecdotes and experience, as well as wisdom from other business leaders, creating an engaging, accessible, and empowering guide to business success.
Twelve Steps to Business as ART
While ART is a simple acronym and concept, there are many crucial details lying underneath.
A business begins with the vision. If you can envision it, then the next step is to articulate it. You must articulate it to make it real. But where does this vision come from?
For the more fortunate souls, the ability to create a vision is almost mystical or otherworldly. The vision just appears in their minds. Some people wake up dreaming about something that becomes their vision. But others really have to think it through—to think about their situation and what it is that they want in a more deliberate way—before they can develop a vision.
Regardless, in all cases, it starts with an idea that needs to be explored. This exploration can take on many forms. This book provides you with just one means to conduct that exploration; it’s one possible process out of many that may work for you as it has for me.
You will find details, examples, and backstories that support the process of taking that vision and making it a reality within the book; however, here is the twelve-step process, or science, to approach business as an ART. Each step is illustrated later:
1. Briefly articulate the vision.
2. Conduct a self-assessment that includes the definition of your own personal definition of success.
3. Paint the picture by creating a document of at most three pages, or better yet, an actual work of art such as a painting, a video, or a web site that visually tells your story.
4. Revise or refine the vision if necessary.
5. Honestly assess today’s reality versus tomorrow’s vision.
6. Recognize the gaps between the vision and today’s reality.
7. Identify goals that you will have to meet in order to close the gap, and define objectives that will measure the rate of success in achieving those goals.
8. Identify specific initiatives, projects, or actions that have to be taken to realize those objectives.
9. Determine how you will manage the initiatives (project planning) and measure progress toward the completion of those initiatives.
10. Determine how you will manage the business itself.
11. Execute the plans and regularly measure your progress.
12. Continue to review, assess, refine, and modify the previous steps as necessary.
As you will note, this twelve-step process involves a healthy mix of science and art. Creating the vision, determining goals and objectives, and identifying initiatives or actions necessary to achieve them fall into the realm of art more than science. These tasks require imagination. On the more scientific side are developing detailed project plans, executing them, and measuring progress.