With that in mind, and unknowingly, the GMS Senior Management Team has brought this iconic image of the art world into your normal working lives. You will of course have realised immediately that the main staircase up to the GMS/Hire Offices on the first floor is now adorned by a classic interpretation of the original, not a reproduction, but so much more.
Some of you will surely have recognised the gentle touch of the artist’s brush, the subtlety in the detail, the colour coordination bringing the picture to life and the overwhelming serenity and majesty that this piece of artwork encapsulates. Little could you have known that this masterpiece was generated from within?
Let’s put it in perspective, for your $100m plus you would have obtained a picture 162.3cm x 130.2cm. You would have purchased a mere 2.8m2 of modern art in total at around $40m/sq metre. The interpretation in the stairwell is over 3 times this size, more vivid in colour and demonstrates that when needed your Senior Management team really is a coordinated team of people. By the way, now I have seen the price of the original if anyone wants to buy it from me as the self-appointed trustee of the picture I am open to offers! The Senior Management team’s interpretation also benefits from being much more portable than the original, breaking down into 16 easily transportable ready to hang pieces. I also imagine you would probably get a much better deal on the insurance!
So how did this come about? The GMS Senior Management team went on a team building course in October with the intention of improving integration and working methods between us all that would hopefully benefit our everyday associations. This course incorporated some activities that were intended to help each other understand a little more about how each other’s thought processes worked and some externally organized activities, designed to be enjoyable, but inherently containing a serious point about how when we all work together we can produce something bigger and better than when we all work alone.
The “Girl before a Mirror” exercise, as I shall call it now, was put to us as a simple painting task. Working in random pairs we were each given 3 blank canvases, between A2 and A3 in size, a pencil, a ruler, brushes of all sizes, access to half a dozen standard colours of artists paint and three coloured prints, not connected to each other, and about a 40% of the size of the canvas. We had two hours to scale the prints onto the canvases, free hand draw the details in pencil, then paint the canvases using only the base colours provided mixing all other colours needed from these limited choices. Not one of us knew what we were part of, but we were told to simply focus on our own task and do the best we could.
As soon as the two hours elapsed, the canvases were taken from us and we moved elsewhere for more traditional management activities. That is meetings and debate for those of you who are feeling a little skeptical J. At the conclusion of these activities we were escorted back into the painting room and to our surprise the canvases had been assembled into the picture you now see in the stairway.
So what was the point? The individual parts may not integrate perfectly, but there is a high degree of cohesion when you think how it was prepared. When each of us focused on our task and did as well as we could for a larger cause, then the outcome was far better than if any one of us had tackled it themselves. It also demonstrates that although you do not always know what the bigger picture is, if you are a team player and do what you need to do to the best of your ability, then the bigger picture will fall into place.
Each of us had a task, each of us stayed focused, so the team was successful. If any one of us hadn’t kept that focus then the result would have been very different.
So that is why we agreed as a team that the picture should be displayed in our offices. Not because we think it rivals Picasso, but because it reminds us what we can do when working together. Hanging it where we have means that the message is reinforced to us every time we come into work and it makes us smile because it was fun. It is our hope and our wish that, now you understand its origins, our “Girl before a Mirror” will remind you that we will succeed far better when we work as a team and that we can all have fun while doing so.
The GMS Senior Management Team