I was rearranging my office and found a copy of the article below that Cheryl Hall from the Dallas Morning News wrote about my whole brain work in 2005.  It is fascinating to see how relevant it still is today; in fact, how vital right brain thinking is for getting through the recession and building a powerful economic future. It is certainly working for companies like Zappos and AppIe!

See if you agree.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Cheryl Hall

And on which cerebral hemisphere do you dwell?

‘Whole Brain Lady’ says firms need both left and right thinkers

02:17 PM CST on Saturday, February 19, 2005

American business is rife with half-brained companies, Dr. Sandy Gluckman says. The 61-year-old clinical psychologist has made it her life’s mission to fix that.

The “Whole Brain Lady” has spent three decades studying how our right and left brain lobes function. And it’s true, she says: Everyone is born with a brain that has one slightly larger side that becomes naturally favored throughout life.

In the business world, most executives prefer coolly calculative left brains to creative, more emotional right ones. And left-brain leaders often surround themselves with left-brainers, which leads to myopic thinking and missed opportunities. “These executives make decisions from a logical but skewed perspective,” Dr. Gluckman says. “They will not focus on anything that’s intuitive because it’s not quantitatively measurable.”

That’s where Dr. Gluckman, the organizational specialist, steps in.

Since 1971, the founder and president of the Gluckman Group has counseled hundreds of companies about assimilating unlike minds. Every executive team needs at least one member who’s “willing to throw a cat into the pigeons” and challenge the status quo, she says. That person’s opinion has to be treated with equal respect.

“When you say, ‘Let’s turn this on its head and look at it this way,’ or ‘Let’s throw out what we did last year and see what happens,’ then you can out-innovate the competitors,” Dr. Gluckman says.

Because of the recession, companies tended to keep number-crunchers at the expense of long-term visionaries. That’s wrong-headed, she contends. You must have a vision for your company before you can get there.

Lauren Raissen, former chief executive and owner of Breath Assure Inc. in Los Angeles, sought Dr. Gluckman’s counsel a few years back. She’s a left-brainer, her husband is a middle-mind thinker, and a third executive was a right-brainer. She asked Dr. Gluckman to help them navigate their impasses.

“Once you apply her dynamics, you understand where your decisions are coming from. And when you get stuck, you can figure out why you’re getting stuck, “says Ms. Raissen, who has since sold the company.

Right-brain vs. left-brain isn’t gals vs. guys, Dr. Gluckman says. Women are just as apt to be lefties as men. “Women do secrete a chemical that allows us to use the right brain more effectively than males,” she says. “But in terms of natural physiological dominance, there’s no difference.”

Other factors

But there may be socialization at play.

“I’ve discovered closet right-brainers,” she says. “These people, mostly men, forced themselves to develop strong left brains because they got rewarded and promoted for it.”

There is real science behind right- and left-brain dominance, she says. Just as you tune in to your favorite radio station to find the music you want, you tune in to the brain frequency you prefer. The right lobe operates at a faster frequency (13-plus waves per second) and physiologically can’t process logical, rational, sequential thinking. One idea or emotion sparks another idea or emotion, creating breakthrough thinking.

The left lobe operates at five to 12 waves per second and can’t handle ambiguity, multiple realities or polarities, she says. “One plus one always equals two, while the right-brain thinker can add one and one and understand why it sometimes equals three.”

Learning this back in the late 1960s came as great personal comfort to Dr. Gluckman, who’d been a misfit in South Africa’s highly structured school system. “I saw everything differently and tended to ask these weird questions,” she recalls. “Then in my late 20s, I discovered there wasn’t anything wrong with me. I’m just right-brain-dominant. I realized this had huge implications for business.”

In 1971, she wrote her dissertation showing the value of using the whole brain in business development and training.

Her training “tools” are plays performed by actors. “There’s high return on investment when you train this way,” she says, “because people remember it.”

Drummed out

Larry Solomon, executive vice president of human resources for Plano-based Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages, hired Dr. Gluckman to develop a skit about embracing diversity. “It was a little tongue-in-cheek about an individual who lacked a sensitivity to difference,” he says. “Industrial theater is a powerful and engaging way to convey complex principles in a simple way,” Mr. Solomon says.

E-mail cherylhall@dallasnews.com

Which one are you?

Use the following questions to help determine this…

If your LEFT brain is dominant, you:

  • Get to know people through sharing facts.
  • Focus on facts and solutions.
  • Are pragmatic and cautious.
  • Perform tasks in a proven and accepted way.
  • Like to know exactly what is expected of you.
  • Prefer a clear, step-by-step process.
  • Tend to overlook giving recognition to others.
  • Need many facts before arriving at a decision and acting.
  • Believe caring and empathetic people are too soft in business.
  • Solve problems by focusing on the way the task is being implemented.

If your RIGHT brain is dominant, you:

  • Get to know people through sharing feelings.
  • Focus on feelings and the bigger picture.
  • Are creative and open to taking risks.
  • Look for a new and original way of doing things.
  • Like to be constantly surprised and challenged.
  • Prefer to experiment as you go along.
  • Give recognition easily and spontaneously.
  • Are action-oriented, quick and spontaneous in arriving at decisions.
  • See analytic and logical people as cold and uncaring.
  • Solve problems by focusing on relationships and teamwork.

SOURCE: Dr. Sandy Gluckman

Online at: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/bus/columnists/chall/stories/022005dnbushall.4bc22.html


Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>