Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Who's that girl?

How long does it take to become successful at something?

There is a temptation to think that Performance Management is a silver bullet. Nothing could be further from the truth. Performance management is a tool – a very useful tool, but it’s not a substitute for persistence and determination.

I’m reminded of Picasso who apparently was once asked by a fan to draw something on a napkin. The story goes that Picasso agreed but requested a sizeable sum before parting with the sketch. The admirer was shocked and asked Picasso how he could ask so much for something that took so little time to create. Picasso replied that it had taken him over 40 years.

A genius like Picasso was no overnight success – so what hope for you and me?

You might have noticed that the blog is looking a little happier today. That’s thanks to my very own Picasso – John Cassidy; photographer to the stars and talented business people. I spent some time with John last week, and learnt a few things I didn’t know about how to take fabulous shots of David Beckham, Sean Connery and Caroline Eveleigh (spot the celebrity in that list!).

John has been taking professional photographs for over 20 years focusing on the military, sports personalities and business people. He has worked in over 100 different locations - from the Falkland Islands, to Norway; Malaysia to Kuwait and back again. When not taking photographs of people he has photographed some seriously impressive jets: Jaguars, Tornados, Hawks and Harriers. And oddly enough you have to keep up with a jet to photograph it, which means travelling faster than the speed of sound in another seriously impressive jet. Some people have great jobs, don’t they?

John has taken over 100,000 images of celebrities, and over 500,000 images of business people. That’s significantly more than half a million images to get maybe 10,000 photographs that have been published in national newspapers, magazines, and journals. That’s a lot of photographs, a lot of smiles, and a lot of awards for his work.

This is performance management in action, driven by passion not scorecards.

John is good fun to work with and has an impressive portfolio of work. When he isn’t shooting people or jets, he also blogs about the life of a photographer.

My only complaint is that he didn’t introduce me to Thierry Henry. Maybe next time?

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