From the Canvas to the Board Room

"GAN" 2013 Global Tour
I’m in the fortunate position of being the CEO involved in the day-to-day operations at “Global Art Network“, an artist and a founder.
 There’s nothing else I’d rather do then assisting professionals achieve success in this industry.

 I realize that my experiences provide me with a relatively unique perspective and operational value. First, being an artist granted the ability to acknowledge the passion for the artistic experience. But it also allows me to channel that experience into actions which compliments, define and honor the passion.

Some situations require me to think strategically while other circumstances call for me to approach with the passion of an artist. I know as an artist, the finish piece needs a destination. I've trained GAN family to be receptive to the artistic experience without being hypnotize by the paradigm.
But I think appreciating all perspectives help in understanding the big picture.

As ‘Global Art Network” grew rapidly over the years, and we began to seriously think about a global strategy to address the large opportunity, I began to seek out the advice of various mentors, including people on our board and other trusted, experienced executives. I wanted to know if I should look at my job differently, as we approached such an important juncture.

One piece of advice that stuck with me was that once “Global Art Network’ went worldwide I would have to be able to think more like the CEO of an established global company in addition to the approach I learned as company founder with a national focus. As founder, I had been keenly interested in the culture of ’Global Art Network’ and its services since the beginning, and I remain so today, but the transition from the company involved new demands in my role. Growing to meet the new challenges of the job is something that almost every founder will meet. And because of it, as start-ups grow it’s not uncommon for companies to hire staff from outside the company who has a proven track record in leading global endeavors or is especially adept at specific opportunities the company needs, such as securing relationships globally.

My mentors and others have helped me immensely in learning how a CEO manages a company, versus how a founder might typically lead a start-up. Ultimately there are pros and cons to each approach. As I've gone through this process, it has made me think about the two skill sets, which aren’t mutually exclusive, but are certainly distinct -  listening  and marketing.  Each skill-set contains important perspective that any one can incorporate into how they look at their job and career, especially in the larger context.

I generally associate the following attributes to successful company founders, but I realize that there are variation based on the individual.

  • An overriding obsession for what they offer: This is something that can drive many executives and managers wild, but founders are often heavily invested in the product or services they offer. Steve Jobs probably best exemplifies this.
  • Deep understanding on the influence of company culture: Founders have been in the trenches since the beginning, so they have unique insight into the culture as well as the company’s challenges, its employees, and its relationships with stakeholders. The founder can apply deep contextual understanding and cultural knowledge to situations and decisions.
  • Emotional commitment: This can certainly cut both ways. Sometimes it’s best for an executive to let go, and sometimes extra determination is needed to get things done. You can count on getting this from founders.

 I generally associate the following attributes to successful CEOs.

  • Willingness to make hard decisions: Successful CEOs need to be able to quickly make hard decisions. These can make or break a company.
  • More logical less emotional: CEOs need to have a heart, but they have to stay focused on the facts and make decisions accordingly.
  • The need to prioritize and focus: As a company grows, opportunities and challenges expand exponentially. 
  • Successful CEOs understand where to focus their attention and how to leverage their teams to move the business forward.

Unfortunately, there’s usually not one solution you should be using to address a work challenge. I've found that it’s useful to think from multiple perspectives during the same day or even the same meeting. But the exercise of thinking in this manner in itself should help you as you take on the daily challenges of your job.

GAN specialized in providing career and business solutions to participants at all levels and business operation within the art industry. Our extensive international experience is supported by a global footprint.
  Global Art Network is a Louisiana based enterprise with offices in Baltimore MD, Cleveland OH, Boston MA, Seattle WA, Orlando FL and San Diego CA. GAN operate in 100 art metro areas and 31 countries. No matter which ever continent you are on we can assist you in reaching realistic goals.

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