Using Left Brain | Right Brain Thinking To Build Better Teams
Derived from a presentation authored by Russ Finney (Twitter: @rfinney)
What we at itmWEB call “vision dynamics” actually means the process by which people perceive the world around them though their own mental lenses and filters. This is further influenced by which side of the brain a person may favor when processing their never ending stream of sensory information.
Understanding these concepts can you help you to become a better communicator and can help your organization to build better teams!
We use visual clues to make important decisions and assumptions – sometimes when we don’t take the time to study the problem and gather all the facts – our assumptions can be invalid.
Is the helicopter about to land on a red solo cup?
We very quickly gather the context of a problem and make important observations – but what we are describing can look perfectly sensible to ourselves – but may sound farfetched to others.
(Click the image to see the animation)
Some debate exists regarding how good of an indicator the spinning lady is for determining left brain or right brain preferential thinking – but without question people see the spinning orientation differently (clockwise or counter-clockwise). Some can see her rotating both directions.
(Click the image to see the animation)
This graphic can help to see her spinning in the other direction.
Can you find the face in the coffee beans? Right brainers can often find it quickly – left brainers sometimes simply give up the quest.
Do you see one face or two? It is possible to see this image both ways. We tend to highly trust our first perception – and can often be surprised when others see a different image. This dynamic happens within project teams – and it can actually be a strength.
The large version of this image sees ordinary and somewhat forgetful. But if you study the photo closely you will find that it is actually quite unique.
Over 5,000 red chairs are lined up on the main street. An image which the brain will probably quickly discard and forget becomes an image which shows a unique perspective never seen before and worth remembering. Finding similar unique and surprising insights to add into business presentations can increase the possibility of having them be retained within the minds of others.
Is the man running to the left or to the right? Take a moment to decide before reading below.
We tend to make rapid perception decisions based on the context of a question. But what if the question is wrong? Our mind shifts into the framework of the question – and we can then miss important facts based on the filter done by our framework assumptions.
In the case above – the man is not running at all – he is actually laying on a set of stairs.
Are the squares straight or curved?
How about these? Straight or curved?
In both cases the lines are perfectly straight – but we still don’t believe it – we give the benefit of the doubt to our own perceptions. This can also happen within teams of people who bring their own filters and bias to a project.
What season of the year is it in this photo? Take a moment to decide.
Depending on where you live you may choose fall or winter (sometimes in colder countries the observer may choose spring). The coats and white spots are visual clues which we zero in on because of the context of the question.
The other visual information becomes much less relevant. Our inquiry content can focus our mind away from nonessential information.
Including the fact that the newspaper reader is laying flat on his back.
We do the same thing in our own problem solving efforts – we tend to screen out other details to zero in on the needed information – and sometimes this can cause us to filter out important facts – which could have an even bigger impact on an observation or outcome.
Here is the same photo from another angle.
In complex organizations sometimes the information can look a little like this photo – only the most obvious details emerge. Finding more detail requires more visual effort. Executives and project leaders face this dilemma everyday – too many information layers obscuring the essential information.
Another point is that sometimes innovations are hiding in plain sight – but they can be obscured by too many institutionalized processes and too many details
By this point many of the right brain thinkers have probably already found the cat within the photo – the left brainers continued reading.
Our left brain likes order and predictability. It thrives on perfecting a process.
The right brain craves creativity and vision – it is always seeking out a new and better way.
Keeping these two drivers in balance is important – not only within ourselves – but within our companies, teams, departments, and projects.
Having advocates perceiving from their dominant mental perception viewpoints (left being textual and process focused – right being visual and creatively focused) can give a totality of view into a team based effort.
Balanced teams remove perception blind spots, insure multi-view lines of sight, inject creativity mixed with discipline, and build a healthy perception tension within combined goal oriented efforts.
A simple model to remember is the organization created to build the US at its founding (we can’t confirm the historical accuracy of this model).
If Benjamin Franklin is considered a right brain visual thinker and Thomas Jefferson is considered a left brain textual thinker – then the proper balance was achieved for greater success.
But that is not always enough – in many cases a facilitative personality is needed to guide the combined team toward the balanced and optimal decisions as well as the final goal and outcome.
Are your teams in balance with contributions coming from both right brain and left brain oriented members?
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