Balance

The Corpus Callosum is a piece of connective tissue, about four inches long, that connects the two hemispheres of our brain. In effect, it enables them to “talk’ to each other. It ensures the different functionalities work well together to give us a balanced view.

Whilst the strict demarcation of “left brain logical” and “right brain creative” has long since been discredited, we think that the functions of the two hemispheres do still broadly fall into these different functionalities.

Interesting things happen when the corpus callosum is damaged, and the “cross talk’ is impaired. We can describe the things we see in our right visual field (left brain hemisphere), but without the connection to the right hemisphere we will force a logic to them. Show a picture of a chicken, and another of a shovel in the snow, and we are likely to say the shovel is to clean out the chicken shed. Conversely, things we see in the left visual field (right hemisphere) we can make creative connections about, but cannot describe. people with damaged corpus callosum can function, but have only a partial and distorted view of the world, and have difficulty translating feelings to action.

I think we can see the same effct going on in many businesses. When we are focused on returns, and other hard metrics, it’s easy to lose sight of things that matter – purpose, social contribution, a sense of community. We can make up logic for doing things that we know really we shouldn’t, but hey, got to make the quarter’s results.

The same with creativity. We see things and connect them, but can’t find the “acceptable” words to describe them. Things of real potential value that don’t see the light of day because we can’t translate them into the language of profit.

It’s easy to lose the ability to “sense” things, to ignore what our feelings. our gut and heart are telling us. to treat our bodies as merely something that gets our left brain to meetings.

With the change we are in, it’s vitally important we can balance logic and our senses to come up with balanced views. To avoid populism in all it’s forms, and create false logic for what we know to be counterproductive in the longer term.

In our businesses, the Board should act as the corpus callosum but all too often, it gets hijacked and disabled by short term pressures. A nned to “perform” for short term gain.

The balance provided by the corpus callosum is vital to our wellbeing. We may be able to function without it, but the result misses out on a lot of what makes life joyous.

The same goes for business.

What do you do when there’s no proof left?

We’ve been brought up to be able to prove our answers. QED.

As leaders and managers, we have proven models, case studies, market research. We have cultures that do not look kindly on being wrong.

And yet; the chances of being wrong are increasing by the day, and if we limit ourselves to actions where we can demonstrate proof, we find ourselves right smack bang in the mediocre middle, with all those others who have proof.

We have forgotten how to trust our intuition, to read the landscape for clues, not proof, to trust that our own unique understanding has a place.

If we do the work to develop mastery of our subject, answers will appear in those liminal spaces – those areas between the things we know or can prove. This is where advantage, and sometimes genius lies.

Technology is really good at the known stuff, but not yet at the emergent, at the level of insight or inspiration. In other words, the stuff of humanity.

I like Annie Duke’s book, Thinking in Bets. There is no 100% proof on anything really worth doing or exploring – it’s all a bet. And sometimes we will be wrong.

But when we’re right, despite the odds, that’s when we know the joy of being human.