The Art and Science of Sketching Your Road to Success

Reflecting on the many art classes and creative projects I have participated in over the years, I have come to the realization that a successful painting, drawing or photograph does not always reflect the outcome you set out to achieve. The way paint interacts, how the lighting on a subject changes midstream, or even when a total accident happens, the result can end up being even more interesting or powerful then the initial intent.

In the business world, which I have also been involved for many, many years I have come to understand that there are many factors that come into play that are not within anyone’s control; factors that affect our ability to satisfy clients and employees, attract the people we hope to impact, and take us off course from the profit plans we dreamed about when we set out.

Despite our lack of ability to know with certainty what will take us off course in art or business, if we set out without any planned course of action, the chance of getting anywhere near an envisioned result is futile, especially within a set timeframe.

There are times that we purposefully set out without any focused intent to see what will happen, to experiment, to practice or to develop a better answer. Most artists and entrepreneurs are striving to create something both new and successful, and it takes a combination of art and science to get there before we walk away frustrated or run out of money.

Leonardo da Vinci – Design for a Flying Machine, c. 1505

Throughout the centuries a pencil sketch has set the course for many successful paintings, and a thoughtfully drafted strategic plan has charted the course for many profitable businesses.  The best type of planning requires both creativity and discipline, and leaves room for flexibility.

Some of us have a preference to dream and others to execute.  It is the rare person who has a natural tendency to do both. Effective planning requires a certain amount of dreaming and execution.  If time is an issue, and it is for most of us, allowing enough time for both is necessary.

As a strategic planning facilitator I enable the dreamers to dream and the task masters to plan, together, in a way that creates something new and exciting, and realistic all at the same time.  As a coach I strive to balance my client’s natural tendency for science or serendipity, both of which are necessary for sustainable success.

Few of us have the resources or resolve to experiment for too long without creating results.  A facilitator can help design a process that will enable the blending of vision with follow-through, enhancing the experience along the way while helping to avoid the tendency to focus exclusively on art or science.

The hardest part of sketching can be putting down the first mark.