There is No Art in Business

There is No Art in Business

Operational Excellence is based on science and it is not an art. Science is based on observations that form a hypothesis and experiments designed to learn. Art is an expression of creativity designed to stir emotion and is very much subject to interpretation.

There are two dangers in thinking your process or business is an art: (1) you lose the chance to improve it, and (2) and you run the risk of being held hostage.

You lose the chance to improve your process or business

Welding aluminum is very difficult. Moisture is a source of hydrogen which can create holes or spaces inside the weld, known as porosity. The most experienced welders have learned steps to reduce the moisture content and prevent porosity or space in the weld, which would have to be ground out and repaired when discovered.

When the welding is done by hand, it is subject to even more variation from welder to welder and from weld to weld of the same person, as fatigue sets in or as the position of the weld changes. Again, the most experienced know the steps that reduce the risk of porosity.

The danger in believing aluminum welding is an art is that as an art, it will never be studied. The valuable steps the experienced aluminum welders have learned will not be documented, tested, or challenged. An observation won’t happen and no hypothesis will be formed, so in the end the skill of the welder and/or the process will not improve.

You run the risk of being held hostage

A hostage is a person held for the fulfillment of a condition. Interestingly in the case of the aluminum welder artist, the hostage situation can go both ways. The artist may hold the operation hostage by demanding overtime, money, or endless praise.

Likewise, the operations can hold the artist hostage by keeping them long hours or demanding heroic effort because they are the only one able to create the masterpiece. The situation is not good for anyone and is solved by recognizing all business and all processes – however difficult – are science and not art.

Help your organization study processes they believe are art. The phrase “starving artist” should not apply to your operation!

Learn more in Patrick’s book, “Facilitating Effective Change,” available online through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Patrick Putorti

Patrick Putorti

Patrick Putorti

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