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Leonardo da Vinci: “Renaissance Man” and Generalist


Leonardo Da Vinci: “Renaissance Man” And Generalist

Was a second Roman Empire possible and, if so, who would you have hired to lead it?

Would they have been a great orator and philosopher like a latter-day Cicero, or a military genius like Julius Caesar? Many specialists seem appropriate – maybe a philosopher, a lawyer, an engineer, or a scientist?

If anyone could have recreated a Roman empire, it likely wasn’t any of those learned and expert men or women. Italy produced someone who could’ve revived its glory. He was primarily known as an artist but was also regarded as a “Renaissance Man.”

In contemporary business circles, he would be known as a “generalist.” He created the most iconic paintings known to Western Civilization, but he could have revolutionized warfare and science to transform Italy into a global superpower.

That person was famed painter Leonardo da Vinci. His iconic works include the “Mona Lisa” and the “Last Supper.” Centuries after da Vinci’s death, his paintings are still revered worldwide.

While those accomplishments are a glorious life’s work, they were merely da Vinci’s “hold-my-beer” moment. He once said, “Learning never exhausts the mind,” and we can see his mind on display in his journals where he:

  • notated human anatomical studies that outstripped his era’s greatest medical minds.
  • envisioned airplanes and battle tanks centuries before they became feasible.

da Vinci knew that “people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” His observation and skill across art, science, and engineering led to groundbreaking discoveries and inventions that went beyond one area of expertise, transforming humanity’s future.

The same is true of today’s talent acquisition culture. Many organizations look to recruiting firms to procure “specialists” who are singularly focused; instead, consider cracking da Vinci’s code. Consider independent thinkers whose skills go beyond the cliche candidate to the transformational piece to your puzzle, the one professional who can happen to your organization in exceptional ways.

The generalist sees the great value in a candidate that others often miss. A prodigious recruiter doesn’t need to specialize in your industry. They understand the universal needs across industries and the desirable qualities in each candidate, resulting in finding your own da Vinci.

Choose the recruiter who understands that team building is both a science and an art.

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