How do you make your decisions?

Making right decisions in any organizational level is one of the essential elements of efficient business. To choose key indicators based on which we make decisions and evaluate them on time is a skill which gives additional value to our organization among all the others and creates key difference.

In a modern business environment, employees improve their skills in every field. Decision making process is upgraded on a brand new level. In this process now different perspectives are considered insights are widened, creativity and “out of the box” thinking is strongly supported.

In following blogs we will be focusing on some of the most important creative capabilities and techniques used to create new perspectives in the decision making processes within our business environment.

In the first text we will be talking about brain holism, capability to attain balance both in rational and intuitive domain, aiming to have a whole insight of the elements in the decision making process.

Brain Holism

For a long time, mankind has been aware of two different styles of mental activity, one connected with the rational, logical process, and the other with our more creative, intuitive and visual capacities. Both are familiar to us, although we learn to rely more on one than on the other.

Scientific studies over the past twenty years have shown that these different mental styles are tied to different areas of the brain. Specifically, the rational process involves activity of the left hemisphere of the brain, while the intuitive powers reside in the right hemisphere.

The distinction was first noted in 1962 by American neuropsychologist Roger Sperry. Sperry began studies that showed each hemisphere has separate functions. A special screen was set up that enabled Sperry to send images to particular parts of the brain. When a picture of an orange was flashed to the subject’s left hemisphere, he had no difficulty in saying what it was. However, when the same image was flashed to the right hemisphere, the subject could not say what the object was, but was able to select an orange from a group of objects. More refined experiments indicated that verbal capacity is tied in some way to the left hemisphere.

It also turned out that the ability to recognize symbols, shapes, faces and other visual stimuli is associated with the right hemisphere.

A second scientific basis for the brain holism theory was found in studies of stroke victims. People who have had strokes in the right brain have symptoms different from those with strokes in the left brain. When the right brain has been paralyzed by stroke, the patient is purely left brained and can talk normally, but does so in a flat, unemotional tone that has no figurative speech. The patient also has difficulty recognizing faces or finding his way around the hospital.

When the left brain has been paralyzed, the patient can recognize faces and shapes, but speaks very poorly and only in simple words not formed in sentences. The patient also has a more deeply felt level of emotional distress.

What these and other studies indicate is that each hemisphere has characteristic mental processes associated with it. Just how these functions come to be tied to a hemisphere is unclear. Apparently, each hemisphere has the capacity to perform any function, but at an early age the hemispheres begin specializing in a way that soon turns the left brain into a rational, verbal, sequential thinking machine, and the right brain into a visual, intuitive non-linear sensing organism. In people who have not had strokes or undergone the split brain procedure the two hemispheres are working together, passing information and insights across the corpus callosum in a way that enables coordination and purposeful action. The left and right brains have different functions. The left brain is the heart of our logical ability. In gathering information, analyzing its significance, making deductions and drawing conclusions, the left brain is heavily involved. In understanding equations, or engaging in cause-effect thinking, our left brains are at work. Language, the ability to select words and form phrases, and using them to express meaning, is a left brain activity. Left brain thinking tends to be reductionist and particular, that is, it looks at things by reducing them to their component parts and analyzing them.

The best word to characterize left brain thinking would be linear. Things follow one another in sequence and connections are clear.

Right brain thinking can best be described as non-linear. It often seems to involve an element of surprise, and it is sometimes haphazard and “jumbled up”. Right brain thinking involves drawing back and seeing a situation as a whole, where left brain thinking involves careful gathering and processing of information. Right brain thinking involves intuitive awareness and sudden, insightful understanding, where the left brain conveys meaning by use of symbols and metaphors.

It does so because of two other basic right brain characteristics: the visual orientation and the associative capacity. The right brain responds to shapes, sizes and colors and to spatial dimensions; enabling us to recall a face even when the name is forgotten. Sensitivity to sounds is also a right brain quality. The right brain also has the ability to make associations or connections between items and events.

Daily life appears to be more affected by left brain activities mainly because the right hemisphere is non-verbal. We are not as conscious of its activity as we are of left brain activity, which involves use of internal discussion and explicit rational thought.

Both styles are in fact used with most activities, both in business dealings and outside of work. When used together they are at their best. In playing games, the left brain can help set strategy, but the right is indispensable in coordination; body movements and assessing the environment.

In driving a car, the left brain is used in analyzing problems, but the right brain is used in judging distances and direction. In communication, the left is used in forming concepts and analyzing replies, but the right is used in being sensitive to non-verbal cues and to body language.

When we make decisions, left side of the brain is all about statistics, data and realistic expectations, while the right is into intuitive approach, getting out of frame of the well known practices, uncertainty coping, creative approach. What is important for us is to maintain both hemispheres in balance, activating more the one that is needed depending on circumstances.

In the next text we will present one of tools for energizing the right hemisphere – creating analogies.

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