Pointillism is a form of painting that I know nothing about. Well, not nothing. From Ferris Bueller’s Day Off I learned if you stand really close to this kind of painting it looks something like this:
And then when you step back from the painting, it looks like this:
I have seen a few pointillist paintings in museums, and it’s amazing how your view changes based on how close you stand to the painting. You can get lost in the “points” and forget that you’re looking at part of a dog, umbrella, or other element of the painting. You just see dabs of paint.
The difference in perspectives was captured in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. You can see Cameron’s reaction in a 20 second clip here:
Commonsense tells us that to paint this picture, Seurat would have had to stop frequently. He would have to step back and look at the painting from a distance, like an onlooker. It would have been the only way to confirm if what he was doing up close on the canvas was creating the scene he wanted to create. He needed to become the viewer for a time and view his work from that perspective.
Are you Cameron?
Business owners have many goals. They want to create a business that shows a profit, engages them and offers them the life they want – but many also dream of a business they can sell someday. Just like the painter, change in perspective is critical to accomplish any of these goals.
Why? Because as owners we spend most of our time like Cameron in the clip, getting lost in the dots. We fixate. We focus. We analyze, and we dab. We get the dot right, but we don’t always know to what end. To build the business you want, you need to step back and ask, “what will the buyer see?”
“But I’m not ready to sell”, you respond. So, what? That’s not all that this is about.
You need to become the buyer because that perspective change allows you to see things you don’t see as the owner. Problems, opportunities and different priorities appear as you view your business from the buyer’s perspective – even if you have no intention of selling any time soon.
Try it once. Spend 30 minutes looking at your business as if you were a potential buyer. It will change your perspective on what you’re building. You and your business will benefit whether you stay forever or sell tomorrow. Either way you can gaze at what you’ve created.
Just don’t touch the paintings.
Photo Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)