Solve It—Using Your Whole Brain

Article | Accountability Insights

by | Jul 31, 2014

The left hemisphere of our brain performs analysis and sets structures, while the right hemisphere of our brain works creatively to find new ways of doing things.  Regrettably, many organizations squelch right-brain thinking. Why? Sometimes managers in organizations are afraid of encouraging too much right-brain thinking because it may take their people off task. Here’s what such managers tell themselves: People might stop executing, get mired down in discussion, become distracted, or start focusing on things outside their control. Okay, stop. There are NO excuses for squelching right-brain thinking in the workplace.

So how do you keep such right-brain squelching from happening in your organization? Simple encouragement. Ask your people to think about and share ideas around how to make things better, streamline processes, and resolve issues. Looking at an obstacle, barrier, or issue from a number of different perspectives is exactly what’s needed to deconstruct and resolve it. Of course, you always need to analyze the situation, but don’t overanalyze it. Inspire your people to use both sides of their brain. Solve It, just like the other Steps To Accountability, requires whole brain thinking. Once your people believe you’re serious, their suggestions and breakthroughs will increase and improve.

Consider this example. A data-storage company grew from $200 million to almost $10 billion in ten years. It was an astounding success story until the game changed.  Premium-priced data-storage was out and less expensive alternatives that emphasized software solutions over hardware were in. The company’s revenues and profits plummeted because it couldn’t change fast enough. Only through a major turnover in leadership was the company able to find new ways of interfacing with customers, delivering new data-storage solutions, combining systems engineering and services, and resegmenting the market. Now the company is growing again and gaining market share, but more importantly, it has learned that new ways become old ways faster than ever before making it essential to continually discover and pursue new ways of competing—and that requires whole brain thinking from everyone.

To learn more about how to better manage constant change and continuous improvement in your organization by engaging both left- and right-brain thinking, we invite you to join our Accountability Community at, where you can review the case studies of actual leaders and organizations.

Solve It, Steps To Accountability, and Accountability Community are all registered trademarks of Partners In Leadership, Inc.