MANAGEMENT: A Bit Of Right Brain Will Help
Recent Western Cape Business News
Leadership and decision-making has for the past few decades relied on financial figures, fastidious detail and rational reports – the left brain – but the emerging 21st century leader needs to be more well-rounded, more open to creativity and innovation, and more intuitive.
This is according to Chris Breen, Emeritus Associate Professor at UCT and the programme director of the short course ‘Leading with Intuition’ at the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) which runs from 20 – 22 September.
“While some may immediately balk at the idea, and indeed many executives may say it just seems too irrational, madness perhaps to use one’s intuition. But take a closer look and there is much more than meets the eye when it comes to intuition – in fact, there’s plenty of method and bottom line merit to this madness,” explains Breen.
In the journal Science, a research article showed that increasingly complex decisions place increasing strain on cognitive sources. The quality of a person’s decisions declines as complexity increases. Complex decisions, then, overrun cognitive powers. Henry Mintzberg, in his Harvard Business Review article ‘The Fall and Rise of Strategic Planning’, adds that when one gets to more senior leadership positions, the demands of strategic thinking are very different to lower levels of management.
“Planning is about analysis – about breaking a goal into steps, formalising those steps, and articulating the expected consequences. Strategic thinking, in contrast, is about synthesis. It involves intuition and creativity,” writes Mintzberg.
Breen says that the Leading with Intuition short-course at the GSB is one of the few programmes of its kind in the world that breaks managers out of their existing patterns of thinking.
“It’s not about left brain thinking versus right brain thinking. It’s about finding middle ground between the two as a leader. It’s about breaking out of the ‘comfort of complacency’ as Edward De Bono puts it,” says Breen.
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