Art Influences Language

In an earlier post, we offered the notion that art can create opportunities for everyone in any given environment to perceive things differently (perhaps even creatively). We found a suggestion in a recent perusal of Bisnow that having some art around may yield more benefits than we might have imagined. A post called, “Why Companies Should Invest In Artwork In The Workplace“, put forth this premise:

Installing artwork at work creates much more than just an aesthetically pleasing environment. Several studies have found that it can help boost employee productivity, creativity and interaction … letting employees participate in the workplace design process gives them a sense of ownership.

Fascinating that — not just because it supports our earlier contention but because it suggests art can influence and precipitate creative interpretations of language, in this case the words, invest and ownership. Let’s examine them in reverse order.

What Do You Mean?

Ownership is one of those buzzwords, like empowerment, that has been used and abused into a state of near meaninglessness. Most people understand, when they’re told they’re being given ownership of something at work, they’re being given pandering and lip service. Worse, they’re likely being given responsibility and accountability without the authority they’d need to make the decisions required to fulfill that responsibility. But allowing people to participate in the design of their workspaces and to install artwork manifests evidence of the ownership they’re being given without having to say a word about it.

Invest is most often used in financial contexts. But in this one, companies that encourage their people to participate in the design of their workspaces and to install artwork are giving those people the opportunity to invest in their workplaces and their jobs emotionally and creatively. That’s the kind of investment that will pay big dividends in performance, productivity, morale, attendance, conscientiousness, and more. Enabling that kind of investment makes good sense. And it makes very good business sense.

A Word About Leadership

The best leaders have a vision, articulate it clearly, communicate it consistently, and get out of the way. They understand the right people in the right positions will own that vision and invest in it. They’ll bring it to actualization. And they’ll be recognized and rewarded for their contributions to fulfilling it. Is it any wonder the best leaders will also let their people participate in workplace design and install artwork?

That artwork, that aesthetic expression of people’s ownership and investment, thereby influences language, giving new interpretation to the word, vision.

As influences go, we’d call that one pretty positive.

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