If you’ve ever heard of hemispheric dominance, then you learned that the right side of your brain controls creative thinking, while the left side is all about logic. OK … I admit that that whole theory has been somewhat debunked in recent in years. Even though the right brain hemisphere largely relates to creativity, there are actually eleven areas of the brain that work together to help with the process. Logic and creativity work synergistically — particularly when you run a successful business.
The bottom line is that ideas are only valuable when you can predict a good outcome, and this takes solid planning and forethought. So hang on. You are about to learn how to blend creative thoughts with logic before making important business decisions.
Ideas Form When Your Imagination Runs Free
Smart business owners naturally stay on top of the news, so, you really can’t avoid hearing almost-daily reports about what Amazon is doing to shake up the business world. Clearly, Jeff Bezos and his team don’t have any boundaries when it comes to envisioning future possibilities for the company.
Before you argue that Amazon is a $420 billion-plus company, just remember that it started as an online bookseller that Bezos ran out of his garage. Although its trajectory was both up and down, his unfettered imagination has grown the company into the behemoth that it is today. This is the best example of thinking outside of the box that I can think of.
Let’s say that you run a custom accounting software development business. You’re doing fine, but you’re starting to hit walls because more and more potential customers now choose off-the-shelf software to meet their bookkeeping and other accounting needs. Maybe it’s time to consider creating the most flexible off-the-shelf product that can all other products currently available by putting more flexibility in the hands of customers. Your stellar experience with customization can make it happen.
So, when making future plans for your business, remove all filters. Don’t think about what could get in the way of your success; just focus on the moon and beyond. As Carl Sagan , imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.
Imagination is Also the First Step Toward Planning
Now that you know where you want to go, it’s time to use your imagination to start recognizing your areas of uncertainty, just as you did when you originally decided to form your business. Close your eyes, meditate, or do whatever works to focus in on your vision. Don’t worry about trying to solve potential problems at this point; just make sure that you know what they are. But, don’t forget to examine the potential pluses as well.
Back to our software company example, a move to providing off-the-shelf software immediately creates visions of issues ranging from product design and staffing to production, packaging and marketing. But, your history in customization also creates a huge positive vision. You can already begin to see how the customization modules that you have right now can be converted into the do-it-yourself customization features that software buyers will recognize as unique.
With a comprehensive list of potential negative and positive issues, you are now ready to move into the planning phase.
At This Point, Unabashed Logic Can Take the Lead
Once you have an idea and a roadmap of expected upsides and downsides, you need to logically create a workable plan. This is where you should let the left brain take over.
Use anything that lets you visualize each step —and monitor progress during implementation. You might like drawing your own decision trees or even marking pertinent points on sticky notes that you adhere to a big wall. If you’re a bit more techie, I’d strongly recommend that you look into some of the project management tools that are available.
Whatever tools you use, keep in mind that there’s no reason to practice planning while in a bubble. Every person on your team has different perspectives and insights. They can help you resolve issues even when you don’t see good solutions. If you’re a one-person business, don’t be shy about discussing your plans with close relatives and friends. Unless you’re the one person in the world who never discusses business outside of the workplace, they probably know more than you realize and can come up with many usable ideas.
Forethought and Planning Convert Ideas into Fruitful Actions
One main difference between the chaotic and overwhelming nature of ideas versus clarity and progress is forethought. Your mental crystal ball is a valuable tool for imagining the future of your business without restrictions. But, you have a big brain that can lead to successful plans if you use all of it effectively.
According to a 2013 study, 65 percent of Americans believe the old wives’ tale that we only use 10 percent of our brains. In fact, MRI tests have shown that most of our brains are active most of the time. Sometimes, blending creative and logical thought processes takes a bit of practice, but it’s worth the effort. By learning how to use forethought and planning to covert seemingly outrageous ideas into workable strategies, your business might become the next Amazon!