Being Michelangelo: Revealing Your Business Masterpiece

What does one of history’s greatest artists teach business owners about how to succeed?

Since visiting Florence last month and viewing many of Michelangelo’s most famous works, including his monumental statue of David, I’ve been pondering the relationship between the artistic process and creating business success.

Michelangelo held an important belief about the art of sculpture.  He believed that in each block of stone there was a figure hidden inside, waiting to be revealed.  To him, the master sculptor’s job was to clear away what was not the image and reveal the masterpiece inside the stone.

I’ve realized that this same principle applies to business owners.  Finding the potential masterpiece your business can be requires clearing away all that does not belong.  As business owners, our gift lies in the place where our values, passions, and strengths meet.  Discovering that place is the first step toward sculpting the business masterpiece.

From a legal planning perspective I have found that this means having a laser-like focus on what you want to accomplish.

Six qualifying questions I typically ask prospective clients are:

  • what is the intention of the business,
  • what type of entity will best serve the business,
  • what types of clients you love and those you don’t,
  • what skills you have or lack that are essential for your business’ success,
  • what level of risk you are willing to take to achieve your goals; and
  • what potential legal liability does the business involve?

With these answers in hand, I am able to help my clients be sure that their contracts, internal policies and procedures, corporate structure, and business succession plan, all manifest the owners’ vision for the business.  Anything that does not serve or reflect that vision is stripped away like the unwanted marble on Michelangelo’s David.  What remains is the masterpiece.