“The future belongs to a different kind of person,” says Daniel Pink, in his book, A Whole New Mind.
It belongs to “…creative and empathetic right-brain thinkers whose abilities mark the fault line between who gets ahead and who doesn’t.”
Pink claims we are living in a different age. A different time that demands different thinking.
According to Pink, right-brain creative thinking coupled with left-brain logistical reasoning is the great differentiation that separates the wheat from the chaff. I concur and expand it to incorporate a move to the next level:
From The Information Age to the Conceptual Age to the Collaborative Age
The information age required logical thinking and the ability to use technology. Technology took many common routine, repetitive tasks and automated them.
Pink says that the threats and opportunities we face today require high concept and high touch. We have moved from the information age to the conceptual age. Detecting patterns and opportunities, creating creative and emotional experiences, and developing a compelling narrative are keys to success. Many, including myself, believe the same attitudes are necessary for the looming collaborative age, requiring a Transformative Leadership mindset.
Six Attitudes for Transformative Leadership Success
Pink identifies “six senses” or right brain aptitudes: design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning. Mastering them is only the start of this journey. Leveraging them is imperative if you want to distinguish yourself from others. Even with the latest press, based on a study at the University of Utah, that indicates the left-brain/right-brain concepts are a myth with some of the interpretations and claims, Daniel is correct in his assessment here.
I have adapted my introduction of these attitudes around leadership development and coaching. However, their application is universal.
1. Passion & Purpose (Meaning)
It is hard for any organization to rebound from a joint effort experience that goes awry. It can have a devastating impact on the board, committees, customers, stakeholders and staff.
Organizations should help shareholders create, share and act upon purpose and passion. Leaders play a HUGE role in this particular element. It should be a fulfilling experience. It should make a difference at all levels.
2. Experience Development (Design)
To most people experience development or design is something product development people or programmer analysts do. They do not see it as critical to their business success.
However, experience development is necessarily intentional and starts at the beginning of planning. Staff, before the logistics, discusses the design of an organizations experience. Well-designed offices, interactions and processes create unique experiences that excite the senses, jazz the brain and connect with emotions. It is about more than room color, rules and organization charts.
3. Engaged Story Telling
Big Data, facts, information etc. It is becoming available in many forms and from many sources. You can provide it via email. Upload a PDF to the web for sharing. Send a report hard copy via snail mail. Research data and facts are ubiquitous. However, facts alone do not persuade. Stories do.
We grow up listening to, reading, telling and watching stories. Story sharing is in our blood and part of our personal and corporate heritage. Yet today, many organizations have marginalized stories out of fear, laziness or lack of integrity.
Developing compelling narratives will increase attention, engagement and memory retention for all shareholders. The most vibrant organizations tell an illuminating, riveting and persuasive story.
4. Collaboration (Symphony)
The information age focused on analysis and specialization. In the conceptual age, synthesis and strategic thinking are critical. It is about seeing the relationships between relationships. Now as we move into the collaboration age, the depth and frequency of relationships interacting is growing.
Anyone can ‘manage’ a group of people with specific steps and tasks outlined but this does not always result in great service or products.
However, today we need professionals that can recognize patterns and connect topics and presentations to the big picture. We need professionals to create a masterful environment that encourages and allows collaborative interactions and programming.
5. Compassion (Empathy)
All leaders need more empathy and compassion.
It’s time we start putting ourselves in the position of our customers. How do our customers feel about our products or services? What do our associates think about the long list of “to do” items due months in advance of delivery or completion of a task?
Compassionate organizations make adjustments based on their customers’ needs, not their staff’s demands. However, they listen, solicit input from their staff regarding how best to meet their customers’ needs, and desires.
6. Humor Infusion (Play)
Play, humor and laughter are necessary to the creative process.
We have to get beyond the notion that play and work are two separate entities. That work is to be endured, not enjoyed. That play happens after work. The concept that serious people are more responsible is wrong. Embracing processes that allow people to enjoy work rather than loath it and empower them to act, will bring and keep great people flocking to an organization.
Play and work have more in common than we think! This is a critical attitude for developing an organization that will be successful in the 21st century.
Which of these resonate with you and why? Which are difficult to employ and why? Let me know your thoughts or contact me if you would like to discuss more.