Gregory Ronczewski is the Director of Product Design at TeamFit platform – view his profile on TeamFit

 

“The first hole made through a piece of stone is a revelation. The hole connects one side to the other, making it immediately more three-dimensional. A hole can itself have as much shape-meaning as a solid mass. Sculpture in the air is possible, where the stone contains only the hole, which is the intended and considered form. The mystery of the hole – the mysterious fascination of caves in hillsides and cliffs.” ~ Henry Moore, The Listener, 1937.

A sculpture is tricky not only to experience but also to describe. I wrote a post awhile ago looking at multiple facets that present themselves as the viewer moves around a 3-dimensional object. What if a part of the solid matter is removed? Moore found ways to use negative space inviting the audience to ask: what is more important, what is there or what is not?

I saw Moore’s work at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art located on the shore of the Øresund, Denmark, a short trip from København. Apart from Henry Moore, the Sculpture Park features work by Jean Arp, Max Ernst, and the big and colourful mobiles by Alexander Calder. In time, Reclining Figure No. 5 has become the signature image of the museum. It’s a great example of how the empty space “connects” the outside world with the sculpture. Its strong presence makes the visitor walk around and experience the dialogue between the negative and the positive.

Henry Moore, Two Piece Reclining Figure No. 5, 1963-64, Bronze, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Donation: The New Carlsberg Foundation Photo: Kim Hansen

 

Albert Einstein published the Theory of Relativity in 1905 and kept working on it until 1915. Moore was born in 1898. The idea of finding something not by looking for a specific object but instead, focusing on what is not visible, yet suggesting its presence occupied many minds. The works of Barbara Hepworth whose art has often been discussed in the context of Henry Moore’s sculptures uses a similar approach integrating the visible with not visible. Being and nothingness, negative and positive, masculine and feminine, yin and yang. Einstein, Plank and others saw the universe as a place where the revealed tangible form is not all there is to explain. Astronomers using the same concept were able to point to the existence of celestial bodies while looking not for a visible object. Instead, the negative space sparked the connection.

Often, we focus too much on what we see omitting perhaps not apparent facts, but indeed, things that are the most important. Expecting the expected becomes a way of confirming our hold on the present. It gives a sense of control and for sure requires less cognitive power. It is not very exciting though. Like driving with GPS assistance is secure, and will get you from A to B faster, but when you wonder—when your mind wonders, to be exact—many unexpected connections are made.

Let’s see if a similar way of thinking can be applied to skill management—skill management in the context of building competency models. On one hand, we can define all the necessary abilities and desired experience to find the best candidates (or to check the competency level), and on the other, we will see all the gaps. Those gaps will either confirm or decline the match. In essence, the result will be either positive or negative. What if we treat the gaps in the same way as Henry Moore treats the missing material from his sculpture? The difference becomes a possibility of a new skill or a talent rather than a simple fact of not conforming to the expected. If you have a number of skills connected to specific roles and the experience is assessed to be at a certain level, we may confidently point to many possible talents and skills that may surprise the profile owner. What if observing skills, roles or behaviours we conclude that there must be another set of skills – perhaps not claimed, or visible, but all the data available points to the existence of unexpected.

NASA Exoplanet Exploration lists five ways to find a new planet:
Watching for wobble (Radial Velocity) – 674 planets discovered
Searching for shadows (Transit) – 2927 planets discovered
Taking pictures (Direct Imaging) – 44 planets discovered
Light in a gravity lens (Gravitational Microlensing) – 64 planets discovered
Miniscule movements (Astrometry) – 1 planet discovered

I wonder if looking at the skill map with an astronomer or explorer mind could result in unexpected finding pointing to talents that exist deep down, but for some reason, were not realized. For competency models, it adds value to the expected simplicity of confirmation. Taking up new roles based on the discovery of dormant talents is a wonderful reward worth finding.