I was on holiday in Rome and visited the Sistine Chapel (Italian: Cappella Sistina). It is the best-known chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope in Vatican City. It is famous for its architecture, evocative of Solomon’s Temple of the Old Testament. Under the patronage of Pope Julius II, Michelangelo painted 12,000 square feet (1,100 m2) of the chapel ceiling between 1508 and 1512.
It was breathtaking. The work, design, patience, persistence and talent of this individual, Michelangelo, awed me.
I had learnt from an art historian and staffer at the Vatican is that Michelangelo started to paint the scenes and after two scenes stepped down off the scaffolding that he put up by himself. Remember it is a long way down, very tedious work, standing while painting the ceiling and he was doing this painting by candlelight. Upon reaching the floor, he looked up and examined the images, the people he had painted, and the colors and after careful examination realized it was too busy and not enough clarity for people to see and understand. He then proceed to climb back up and continue his scenes with less images, and less people in order to get his message across clearly. He made simpler scene to make the scenes speak clear and louder to more people.
After hearing this and thinking about it for a while, I thought what Michelangelo did in the 1500s is applicable today. Whether you run a business, or run a department, do not just move ahead without a plan. Plans should be evaluated as you move forward to see if it is realistic, are you achieving your goals and does it make sense for the rest of the team. Do not be afraid to change direction, strategy, or your choice of image (people) to get you where you need to be to be successful and satisfied with your piece of work.
Now you may think, why did he not start over at that time if he wasn’t satisfied with how it was coming out? I do not believe he was not satisfied but I think he felt that for more people to get something out of it, spirituality and visually, he needed to change his tactics to reach a broader audience.
Can you relate to what Michelangelo did? Are there days you wished you stopped and changed direction in your business plan, strategy? Are there times you felt you kept going because you invested too much time and you were going to complete the task even if you know you should have altered the strategy?
I would like to hear how this story resonates with you.