Style is a concept that is used in many areas. In arts for example it denominates a certain characteristic or typical way of … painting. In fashion it is used to describe a certain tendency to dress. And style is also used in architecture to express more or less the same — way — in which a building is made — classic, modern, gothic, etc. And even organizations have their style in organizing activities.
This is less visible, but equally significant, because style gives (form to) identity and authenticity.
Awareness of differences in style in other areas – like painting – could help to understand the differences and importance of style in organizations. For example the difference in style between the two Spanish painters: Pablo Picasso (from Malaga) and Salvador Dali (from Catalonia).
Both have had their own style, which we can not easily express with words, but they are prominent when looking at the painting of each of the artists. Style and arts (in painting) can mean to different things: the own style of the painter and the style of a movement that dominates a certain period.
Dali for example has always been predominantly associated with the surrealist movement in arts. Picasso on the other hand has been associated with cubism but also with many other styles.
In fact the main differences — in style between the two masters — is perhaps that Picasso has altered his style and preferences to express himself, whereas Dali has been loyal to mostly one style; surrealism.
Picasso has always been valued more on the market than “Dali” and probably because of the same reason. Where the market is capricious and not only focused on one style, it will most value the artist that is able to switch from one style to another. One point in time the market turned its back to surrealism as being out of date. This happened with al style periods like in philosophy where a period like existentialism is “overdue” at one moment in time. The hype or trend is over and if you are still committed to this style the market will ignore you.
It is said the Picasso was always an outsider, never committed to one style, always looking for new way to express himself. Dali had found his “way” and not willing nor eager to open up for new developments and innovations.
Style is even present on a personal or psychological level. Myers and Briggs have elaborated this topic with a set of personal preferences; in this case the Judging versus the Perceiving preferences.
“This fourth preference pair describes how you like to live your outer life–what are the behaviors others tend to see? Do you prefer a more structured and decided lifestyle (Judging) or a more flexible and adaptable lifestyle (Perceiving)? (http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/judging-or-perceiving.asp)
It seems that Picasso would be more Perceiving (P) where Dali would favor more a Judging lifestyle (J).
Style is peculiar way in which things are done – made, designed, etc. It is omnipresent, also in business, but less visible than the style of a painting. But give it some attention. Focus on the way you organize your life or business.
© 2006 Hans Bool