Thursday, February 15, 2007

Not in My Right Mind

I don't know about the rest of everyone, but sometimes writer's block turns into something more like writers' bottleneck. At such times, it would probably be helpful to just move onto the next topic instead of staying stuck. There's a message there somewhere. I'll figure it out & get back to you... well... sometime. In the meantime, given that I let myself stay stuck for so long, let me just point out that I'm thrilled to discover that a) some play can have a purpose and that b) there are really good, left-brained/analytical minded-appealing reasons for developing and engaging right brained thinking too. And some fun ways to go about it.

My father, a leftie, would probably be pointing out about now that given the link between brain dominance and opposite handedness, only the lefthanded are in their right minds. As bad a joke as that is, it's actually related to some of what I've been exploring lately more in-depth.

One of the perks of having a small person around the house is having ready access to Lego bricks - one of my all-time favorite toys - so I was pretty jazzed to learn not-so-recently-now (back in November, at the International Coach Federation conference) that there are some good justifications to playing with them that go beyond just having fun. The Lego Serious Play folks say you can actually unlock important information by playing with Lego pieces as a way of facilitating communication between the two halves of our brains - and yes, it does seem to work. At some point, I'm sure I'll get licensed to facilitate this process... I'm that interested in it. If you're interested in it too, be sure to let me know as it might influence how soon I get in to get this done.

Not only is the process fun, it's also based on sound brain theory, which means that it meets my definition of cool, being both neat AND useful. This engaging both halves of the brain to get at better answers is definitely in line with what I've been saying for years, even if it hasn't exactly been out loud. As far as I can tell, an analytical approach that is open to intuitive-based quantum leaps of thinking will always (and I tend to use absolutes rather lightly) be far more productive than either approach alone. This is what I call being logically creative. LSP not only helps make that process possible, the brain theory upon which it's based explains why it's so useful.

And now Dan Pink explains in hard terms why we should care to even look at a right-brained approach to matters when so many of us got where we are and achieved our greatest successes by focusing on one that is strictly left-brained analytical. With hard data that the most analytical mindset can appreciate, he explains in his book, A Whole New Mind , how and why that road is a dead end if it's the only road we travel. It's worth reading. And if it means nothing to you, then I'm guessing that what I do and how I do it probably means nothing to you either. No harm, no foul. When you're ready, we can talk.

I'm guessing though, that a lot of tech folks will get it if they stop long enough to really think about what's involved in their work. The ones who understand why it's important to be able to take ping pong, pool, or foosball breaks from time to time in the afternoon - because tech work is as creative as it is logical - will get it. Those who understand the need for logic laugh long and hard at the total lack of logic in, say, the Kids in the Hall sketch where the guy actually thinks he'll get the car started by washing the windshield. And who doesn't love a good laugh? The thing is, those who also understand the importance of the creative element will probably keep their jobs longer.

And if you accept the basic premise, then what? Figure out how to nurture and tap into that creativity, I guess. Playing with Lego bricks (with or without the Serious Play element) is one way. So is any creative endeavor, really... crafts or other artistic expression, music, you name it. The folks at Face the Music use writing and performing blues tunes to engage creativity toward a useful end, so do check them out if that's an appealing-sounding option.

I'm interested to hear your own observations about blending logic and creativity - send them to me at and let me know... do you believe they belong together, or are they separate pursuits?

How can you use creativity to expand the reach of logic?

Kimm Viebrock is an ICF-credentialed Associate Certified Coach who helps technology professionals and service-oriented technology groups develop and use their skills more effectively and increase their value within the larger organization, allowing them to do more, do it better and have more fun doing it. Kimm is devoted to finding the connectedness in life.