Chapter 11: Part 2 – From Left to Right

On the issue of cultivating employees’ “right-brain abilities,” the first question we need to answer is: who needs to develop right-brain abilities? In fact, the answer is everyone. But different people will have different training programs. Some people seem to have strong “left-brain abilities,” but in fact their “right-brain abilities” are also strong; they may be disguised “left-brain thinkers.” These people are exactly what we need to focus on and cultivate because “right-brain ability” is their true “authenticity.” Once these people learn the method of “right-brain thinking,” their work ability will be greatly improved. They may even become future Jobs or Musks in our company. Of course, we must not forget those who are obviously “right-brained thinkers” because they often lack systematic “right-brain thinking” training. As for those who are truly “left-brained thinkers,” learning is also beneficial. Although their true “authenticity” lies in their “left-brain abilities,” learning “right-brain abilities” can help them better understand users and people around them, realize the diversity of the world, and establish empathy. This allows them to view their work from a new perspective and learn to communicate with people with different thinking patterns.

An accompanying question on this issue is whether companies also need to specifically cultivate “left-brain abilities”? My answer is simple: yes! On the one hand, “The Right-Brained Organization” not only needs to be good at “right-brain abilities,” but also highly dependent on “left-brain abilities.” The Right-Brained Organization does not reject the use of data, strategy, processes, etc. These skills and methods have not failed; they are still necessary for normal operation and development of enterprises. Therefore, they also need to be continuously cultivated. Especially if you have a small or medium-sized enterprise and you yourself are a “right-brained leader,” both you and your employees need to improve their “left-brain abilities.” The easiest way is to hire well-trained “left-brained thinkers.” Of course, easy and convenient methods are not necessarily good methods; we have already learned many lessons from this. Therefore, on the other hand, it needs to be pointed out that we also need to develop specific “left-brain ability” training programs for those who are good at “right-brain abilities.” Not only do we need to specifically train future senior managers in enterprises among “right-brained thinkers,” but we also need to provide “left-brain ability” training programs for those who are currently in junior and intermediate positions as “right-brained thinkers.” Even for some seemingly similar problems, different empowerment methods are needed for different thinking pattern groups. For example, for many engineers and managers who are good at left brain, user experience is about learning how to form empathy. But for designers, they may need to focus on learning how to use data methods to make decisions in the user experience process, such as using A/B testing and usability testing results to improve design.

At the same time, we also have an important question that arises from this: where do we go to find those future CEOs who have the opportunity to become tomorrow’s stars? My view is that their chosen careers will often tell you the answer. Interests and talents are not necessarily the same thing; they can even be completely separated many times. But talent often gives birth to interest. If your talent is 2.26 meters tall, then you will naturally try playing basketball. And naturally you can dominate on the basketball court. This sense of accomplishment will naturally make you like basketball. Similarly, those who are talented in right brain will also choose jobs related to creativity and other right brain abilities as if by fate even if they initially chose the path of left brain abilities due to family, education or social factors.

Product managers are a high-frequency gathering area for future CEOs. Product managers are also your primary radar scanning area because they often have both left brain and right brain abilities. Jobs and Nadella were both product managers. Designers are also a group of people you should pay attention to; they usually have more obvious right brain abilities but as a result their left brain abilities are generally not as good as product managers. The third key group is marketers; they are also very good at using intuition. But their work is more professional so you also need to train them more comprehensively especially focusing on training them in ways of thinking that focus on fundamental problems. The last one is human resources managers; their positions should inherently rely heavily on right brain abilities so many excellent human resources managers can fully release their authenticity.

But this does not mean that other positions have no chance. On the contrary, in China, we have too many “right-brained thinkers” who have been forcibly stuffed into the “left-brained thinker” professional circle. They may be engineers, financial managers, lawyers, doctors, etc. Therefore, as we suggested earlier, companies need to open the doors of functional departments and carry out various “impractical” training to give them the opportunity to form cross-functional teams. At this time, their usually “hidden” innovation capabilities will be displayed.

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