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Art helps employees better understand their colleagues

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in HR Management,Human Resources

Employees of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services are tapping their inner art critics to better understand their co-workers.

In partnership with the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Farmington Hills, Mich.-based company is exposing workers to the work of artistic masters from different continents and different centuries in a setting where they can express their views on the artwork—and learn about their colleagues.

In small-group settings, employees are asked what they see in a piece of art. Someone who offers an observation is pressed for supporting evidence with the question, “What do you see that makes you say that?”

Called “Visual Thinking Strategies,” this open-ended, inquiry-based conversation gives each employee in the room some insight about the intellectual and cultural frames of reference that influence their colleagues’ points of view.

The sessions use art to help em­­ployees build skills in observation and attention to details; communication and understanding; and creative and collaborative problem-solving.

Contact: Jack Ferry of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, (248) 991-6610.

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Joan June 28, 2012 at 6:59 pm

This sounds like a real mine field to me. A small group setting where colleagues “can express their views on the artwork of artistic masters from different continents and different centuries” would have to have some really stringent ground rules. Art is an expression by someone to engender feelings and an invitation to participate in the artist’s vision. If a viewer does not WISH to participate in those feelings, or is negatively influenced by the art, there had better be some up-front guidelines about what and what not to say in response to “what do you see?” and what makes you say that?”

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