The most successful business executives are almost always willing to explore any method that could potentially result in improved business operations, yet it is still fairly uncommon to hear about high-ranking business leaders turning to the arts as a source of inspiration. Those who have done so, however, have reported that their experiences in the theater have indeed proved to be quite beneficial in a number of surprising ways. As Murziline Parchment suggests, the art of acting is so different from an executive’s daily responsibilities that it forces a near-complete change in perspective that spurs creativity and innovation on an almost immediate basis.
While many executives are likely to scoff at such a suggestion and will surely offer a reminder of how little time they have to spare, the benefits of this particular strategy can be experienced in relatively short order. Business leaders certainly do not have to audition for a lead role in a Broadway production; all that is necessary is minor participation via a small role or bit part in a local production. In fact, it is quite likely that simply taking an acting course or practicing with an improv group will yield a significant benefit.
Executives who participate in stage productions or work with experienced actors will likely realize that many of their leadership skills can be applied quite well to the theater, but the true value of the experience is in the discovery of new ways to lead along with the enhanced insight into the unique creative processes involved in acting and theatrical productions. After all, the same qualities that make someone a valued speaker in business meetings are also vital for actors performing on stage: A confident tone projected to the rear of the room is necessary in both pursuits, and both actors and business leaders must be able to simultaneously relate to and engage each individual member of a fairly sizable audience.
Actors are tasked with convincing their audience to adopt a suspension of disbelief for the sake of entertainment, just as executives are tasked with convincing others to feel a strong sense of confidence and trust that the future of the company is in good hands. It is simply the manner in which these tasks are accomplished that differs, so executives who experience a different method for accomplishing the same goal can benefit tremendously from the new perspective they will have gained.
Of course, acting is not the only pursuit outside of the business world that can benefit business executives. According to Murziline Parchment, any artistic pursuit can help in understanding differing perspectives, but it is the improved ability to access a more creative side that seems to be most beneficial to those who hold essential leadership positions. This is due to the fact that leaders often encounter difficult and complicated situations requiring a creative solution. Business leaders who understand how to access their creative side and feel comfortable engaging in deep creative contemplation are simply far more likely to come up with a sound strategy in response to any difficult or complex circumstance.
Artistic and creative endeavors can also help business executives relate to those they are charged with leading. This is especially the case with acting, as this form of expression requires the ability to adopt the mindset of an entirely different person in order to ensure a highly accurate portrayal. While leaders are certainly not expected to give a performance in which they act out scenes featuring an accurate and entertaining portrayal of their employees, being able to consider the unique perspectives of others and the various factors influencing those perspectives can be incredibly valuable, as this makes it much easier to relate to anyone regardless of their respective backgrounds and prior experiences.
While business executives have the kind of responsibilities that demand a great deal of their time, it may be quite wise to invest some of that time to engage in artistic pursuits outside of their leadership role. This kind of pursuit can result in improvements to leadership skills and enhanced work performance, and it is quite likely that many business leaders and executives will also find a great deal of enjoyment in doing so.