Greetings. Who could have imagined that an 1895 Norwegian painting that is all about stress and human anxiety would become the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction. Yet yesterday, Edvard Munch's widely-known creation "The Scream" sold for a whopping $120 million. That's $120 million in an era and an economy that is filled with stress, anxiety, fear, grief and all of the other emotions that this popular painting seems to evoke. Which must make it a fitting symbol of our times.
But it shouldn't require the sale of one of four versions of The Scream to get us to understand the challenge of leading companies and organizations in difficult and uncertain times. And the challenge of driving even greater employee engagement, empowerment and innovation when so many of our employees, team members and associates continue to worry about the future of their jobs and their long-term economic prospects. to not only cope but create the innovation and customer value needed to turn things around. Add to the mix recent college grads who wonder if their investment in education was worth the cost at a time when so many of their friends aren't finding opportunities in their fields of study.
We need to figure out a way to turn today's anxiety into creative energy--much like the burst of energy Munch must have had when he imagined The Scream. Energy borne of the frustration that there are things going on that are beyond our control and that the only way to cope is by screaming or creating a new reality.
These are times that demand greater innovation--in energy and the environment, transportation and mobility, health and healthcare, food and nutrition, access to education and creating meaningful work and greater economic opportunity for everyone. These are challenges that require a new canvas and a palette of new colors--at a time when too many of us simply want to scream. The only question is whether our scream will be a sign that we've run out of energy and hope or a new call to action in unlocking our real genius.
We win in business and in life when we acknowledge the occasion need to scream. And when we turn frustration into the type of new thinking that can improve the companies, communities and world we share.