Danica Purg: Leaders and managers in this world have a great power. They can change things for the better and for worse. They have a deep impact on the society at large. At IEDC we believe that we have to bring up responsible leaders, leaders who are reflecting on the aim and consequences of their actions. And that is why, besides ethics, we also included years ago aesthetics into our programs.

Edgar Schein: Leadership is phenomenally a very personal thing. A person has to have more than competences and artistic impulses. Great leadership acts, great managers acts are what is beautifully done. There is always an artistic component. And therefore in developing leaders people should go in touch with their artistic impulses and value them and honor them.

Danica Purg: think that there is a lot that we can learn from art. One thing is making parallels like with an orchestra. Using the parallel of a jazz orchestra for the good times, when we can improve in organizations, using classic music for difficult times, when everybody has to sing the same song. We can ask. "Is music manipulating with emotions?" "Is leadership manipulating with people?" So, there are many things we can learn from art.

Pierre Casse: The asset of great leadership is assumption. The ability to be aware of the kind of assumption which you have, to challenge your assumptions and to invent in your assumptions. And it is quite evident that one important source of challenge for assumptions is art.

Miha Pogacnik: Today, as you probably notice, there is too much competition on the level of technical knowledge, on the level of products. All products are marvelous, maybe too marvelous, too complicated, too complex already. So, experiences are a great thing today. Actually people who are designing and strategizing come down to an artist and say. "What a great experience! What a stage of creation and dramatizing things: And sure, even they start to talk a language in business that is very much an art language."

Nancy Adler: The real question is, can we design ideas, services that are worthy of choosing. If you focus on design and create design then the question is, how we come up with creative design?

Edgar Schein: The ability of art is to represent things that are unconscious and not available to normal conversation. So the artist under the "label of art" can say outrageous things, can be even profane or critical. It upsets us, but we excuse it even if it would be unacceptable if the same thing would be said in a serious conversation. So art is one way the society has to tell itself the truth.

Haris Pasovic: So we show scenes in different films, that are interesting for particular leadership styles or particular situations in which a leader has to act.

Paul Robertson: What inspires us within music is that we recognize that we always have opportunities to find the most beautiful part of ourselves.

Danica Purg: We created a creative environment for creative leadership and so people get in this way the inspiration from the environment, they get it from the professors and I believe that their creativity is certainly enhancing after this. And we can see that, not immediately or not with everybody who is participating in this process, but there are many indicators that people are appreciating this. And for me it was the biggest compliment, when a participant said to me. "When I came back from the study, my family said that I also became a better human being."

In the film you saw and heard some of the about fifty people around the world who really offer an interesting contribution to this topic. I learned the most from Edgar Schein and Peter Drucker. Peter Drucker said, what I quoted in the film, that jazz, that is, improvisation is fitting in good times and classical music is good in bad times. However, Edgar Schein argues that. In his opinion improvisation is also important in bad times. I believe there is truth in that.

What you also saw in the film is the importance of consistency. If you go to develop "art and leadership" in your curricula you also have to create a creative environment. IEDC-Bled School of Management is therefore made as an art gallery that invites participants to observe and to reflect.

Now I would like to present to you what leaders should learn from science and art, on the basis of five statements:

1. The concept of neural networks is a practical outgrowth of the chaos theory.

The concept of neural networks is a practical outgrowth of the chaos theory. Those networks are designed to recognize patterns and respond to them. This concept is currently used by credit card companies to monitor the way in which people around the world use their credit cards. They are looking for unusual patterns that may contain valuable information. In the same way such a concept can be used in studying other behaviors and get information about how to lead and motivate people.

2. From system theory we learn about the holistic and integrative perspective.

We have to look at the whole system to understand what it is about. A long time organizations are seen and managed from the following principles:

• To understand how organizations work, we take an organization apart and examine each of its parts separately.

• The people in our organizations are an interchangeable component.

• Organization and success can be achieved through specialization.

• An organization cannot regenerate itself, but must be maintained or it will be run down.

These concepts, also known as the machine model, do not fit anymore in the environment in which our businesses operate. Our world is characterized by instantaneous communication and information and by global competition, where capital can be sent wherever it can be put to optimal use. That means that it does not make sense to take an organization apart. It cannot be defined and treated as an island.

We have to look today at our organization in a different way. We can learn a lot from the concepts of some modern sciences. From system theory we learn about the holistic and integrative perspective. We have to look at the whole system to understand what it is about. (see also Wheatley, 1994).

From cybernetics we learn about the regulator, the way to control complex systems and the law of requisite variety. That means that "only variety can cope with variety." This requires flexibility in our organizations.

From quantum physics we learn that "relationship is everything." We have to move away from concepts such as right and wrong and focus on issues such as effectiveness and improvement. We also have to realize that we are the creators of our own environment. The environment is created by us, by what we choose to see or worry about.

Arts and science offer us the concepts and often provide the tools that we need to see the symptoms of forthcoming change, to understand them, and to respond to them. We can learn how to see patterns more clearly. What else is the job of the director of a symphonic orchestra or the coach of a sports team? They know that the entire organization or team that they lead is much more than the sum of its parts. They also realize that the relationship with the environment (sponsors, quality of the playground, the public, etc.) is essential for the final performance and that it is the task of the director or coach to optimize the system for the good of the greater whole. We can learn from these team-leading metaphors as they deliver reliable knowledge straight from practice. The same goes for the knowledge we can extract from practice-based case studies.

3. The violinist can demonstrate through the work of composers such as J. S. Bach that order and chaos are mirror images. The composer created a new order out of the chaos.

4. The violinist can show that the composition has patterns and helps others to discover it. What appears to be irregular is actually very systematic.

5. Art communicates, inspires, shocks and provokes!

• Art and artists stimulate us to see more, to hear more, and feel more of what is going on within us and around us.

• The artist can stimulate us to broaden our skills, our behavioral repertory, and our flexibility of response.

• Analysis of how the artist is trained and how he/she works can produce important insights into what is needed to perform and what it means to lead and manage.

• Most important of all, the art puts us in touch with our creative self.

At IEDC we offer leadership development programs that help to transform the mindset and a "heartset" of leaders. We develop a worldly mindset, enlarging the scope of leadership and a change mindset, to be able to lead the continuous change. Beside attention for ethical dilemmas and sustainable development issues, we are using arts as a source of inspiration for new leadership. As Edgar Schein said, arts can help us to see more, to hear more, and to feel more what is going on within us and around us. Art is shocking, provoking and inspiring (Schein, 2001). Arts help us to see the symptoms of forthcoming change, to understand them, and to respond to them. We discovered that leaders can learn from a violinist, from a conductor, a painter or an actor. It brings leaders from purely rational thinking to using intuition and imagination, very important attributes in increasingly complex environments.


For me, the best examples of a holistic and integrative leadership programs are the ones of the IEDC-Bled School of Management, that were prepared for the top leaders of BAE Systems, a leading British multinational company. Their top 200 managers participated so far in these programs and the impact it had on their change of mindset was great. They participated in the "senior leaders" program and went to China, India, Japan and the United States, Bosnia and Herzegovina ("How to be Sanguine in Sarajevo," 2006), and Slovenia, in order to learn from local experiences of leadership challenges. All five modules were built around different mindsets: receptive, reflective, competitive, collaborative, catalytic, the last being conducted in Sarajevo and Bled.

Another extraordinary experience we had with a European company with a headquarter in the Netherlands, EUREKO/Achmea. We set up a seminar called "Leading Change, Identity and Values." We did not invite our professor of finance to teach on that seminar, although he is one of the best finance professors in the world. We did not invite brand specialists. We had an architect talking about his creative expression of identity. We took the managers to Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the country and its people have a problem with identity. We met with artists who told us how they managed risk during the war. We listened to religious leaders and their views on identity. We had discussions with former prime ministers who told us how they were coping with the changes. During those seven days we saw what we should all aim at in management education: reflection and transformation. I would call this program high-touch rather than high-tech. As a result, the managers who participated in those programs want to lead change in their companies now. They were highly energized and wished to be more innovative. They also had specific ideas about what they wanted to do. I think that this element in leadership development is becoming more important than new knowledge.

In order to be able to cope with the challenges of today and the future, management development institutions need to go beyond functional knowledge and skills. We need to acquire the concepts and methods of art and science. They offer us a source of knowledge, wisdom and feelings that we need in order to understand our complex environment, to adopt to change, and to be change agents ourselves.


Adler, N. (2011). Leading beautifully: The creative economy and beyond. Journal of Management Inquiry, 20(3), 208-221.

How to be sanguine in Sarajevo: Leadership as transformation or tragedy? (2006, October). Paper presented for Business as an Agent of World Benefit: Management Knowledge Leading Positive Change, Cleveland, OH.

Mirvis, P. H. (2011). The vision and the voices of IEDC-Bled School of Management: 25 year learning history. Bled, Slovenia: IEDC.

Purg, D. (2008). Art and leadership: IEDC-Bled School of Management. Retrieved from iedc.si/home.aspx

Schein, E. (2001). The role of art and artist. Reflections, 2(4), 81.

Wheatley, M. J. (1994). Leadership and the New Science: Learning about organization from an orderly universe (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.

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