Raiseyour hand, if you depend on analytics and metrics to inform your decision making?
Raise your hand, if you depend more on gut intuition and relationships to inform your decision making?
Did any of you raise both hands? Two different problem solving styles and yet most of us gravitate more naturally to one or the another. The first one reflects more left brain thinking while the second one reflects more right brain thinking.
Both are important, so those of you who raised both hands are on to something. It may be the balance between both hemispheres of the brain that results in the best decision making.
Yet, the truth is that logic and analytics have become the go-to tools for most business leaders. It is part of Western European culture and the one more heavily taught in Business Schools. Talk to any MBA graduate and you will know what I mean.
But let’s pause a moment, as I believe it time to give right brain thinking a little more respect! And as we become a more diverse nationwe may need to open our minds and honor cultures that utilize more intuitive relationship oriented approaches.
As Carl Sagen stated, “There needs to be a much stronger bridge between science and analytics with intuition and spirituality.” I have to agree. For too long, “creative, intuitive types” were considered a little too touchy-feely in the corporate world. These employees often seen as over contemplative, sometimes emotional, and not fitting the mold of linear thinkers who religiously embrace metrics and robust planning processes for achieving goals.
But these same folks were also often described as visionary, big thinkers and pretty darn creative with their circular thinking.
The reality is that this place we call work, is dynamic and grounded in relationships. Emotional intelligence, which is seated in the right brain, has emerged as an important attribute of Conscientious Leadership.
My relevant story: In a prior work life with my left brain analytics training, I filled the role as VP of Strategic Planning. I created the flow charts, scenarios, contingency plans, and metrics up the kazoo, to guide the organization. I was successful and garnered my kudos from left brain executives. Yet, although we followed these plans to some degree, there was no way we could guess at the changes that coming which made the plan obsolete. We neglected the right brain intuitive thinking that facilitates planning as an art – with creative visioning and attention to the relationships and pulse of partners and consumers.
And it’s important to consider the underlying aspects of intuition that neuroscience reveals may provide powerful benefits in the corporate world. For example, did you know the chemistry in the body rewards those who are relationship oriented, altruistic and may be following their intuitive nature? (right brain stuff)
In other words, it feels good when we let go of our ego that demands being "right" because the data tells us so.
It’s time to challenge dependence on left brain analytic thinking as the panacea for solving problems.
Here are some new ways of thinking that connect to your left brain thinking:
· Connect with others in an empathetic way, not logical way, to learn and feel better.
· Recognize that innovation often comes from creativity experienced through intuition.
· Understand that universal mythology, revealed in stories from around the world, often tease out the narrative. It’s time to pause, listen, share, and not be wed to the mantra of analytics.
Let’s utilize both left brain and right brain thinking.