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Hiring Strategy: Right Brain or Left Brain?

It seems to be a natural tendency for business owners to hire someone because they think that they’re bright and capable of doing a whole host of different things. This makes perfect sense, since they’re usually short on cash and long on things to be done. But I’d like to suggest that this line of thinking, and operating without a hiring strategy can often get you in trouble, especially if the person who is trying to do all of the various things isn’t naturally suited for them all.

When developing a hiring strategy, it may be useful to consider (among other characteristics) whether a right brain or left brain dominant personality would be best suited for the tasks and responsibilities you need to be accomplished.

Although there is some controversy over right brain left brain theory, first identified by Nobel prize winning scientist Roger Sperry, I think we can all think of many people we know, that seem to embody characteristics that are popularly accepted as being either right brain or left brain. According to an article by Kendra Cherry, a writer who specializes in psychology and child development, here is a run-down of commonly accepted right brain and left brain characteristics:

“According to the left-brain, right-brain dominance theory, the right side of the brain is best at expressive and creative tasks. Some of the abilities that are popularly associated with the right side of the brain include: Recognizing faces, Expressing emotions, Music, Reading emotions, Color, Images, Intuition, Creativity…

The left-side of the brain is considered to be adept at tasks that involve logic, language and analytical thinking. The left-brain is often described as being better at: Language, Logic, Critical thinking, Numbers, Reasoning”

Applying theory to everyday use, let’s look at a case study about a client I’ll call Mary and the hiring strategy we implemented…

Mary is a creative graphic designer. Mary found herself in a predicament when she hired Sam as an assistant. She needed someone to help with client design projects and help keep things organized and under control. Sam claimed to be able to handle a wealth of different tasks, from designing to html coding, to layouts, to bookkeeping, taxes, spreadsheets, customer service, sales and marketing.

Initially Mary thought he was a godsend. But as time went by, Sam became overwhelmed. He was a talented designer, and could take care of a lot of the creative and strategic stuff, and had a strong work ethic. His intentions were admirable. He had a great imagination. He “got” what Mary was trying to put across to her clients and could translate it beautifully into compelling graphics. But the truth was, that when it came to the more practical organizational and administrative responsibilities, it just didn’t come naturally to him. Their small office started feeling and looking more and more chaotic as there was no left brain energy to balance out the right brain energy that both Mary and Sam possessed.

When Mary called me several months ago, we spoke at length about what an effective hiring strategy would look like. We outlined all of the tasks and responsibilities that needed to be done. We sorted them by job classification. And we looked at whether right brain or left brain dominant characteristics would be better suited to handle each position.

Things had been busy, so it was easy for Mary to make the decision to keep Sam on, but limiting him to the more creative areas that suited his right brain style, talents and abilities best. We grouped together all of the left brain administrative duties and Mary was successful in finding a detail oriented admin person to take care of the practical aspects like project management, bookkeeping, filing and keeping the place organized.

By considering right brain and left brain style in her hiring strategy, Mary was able to come up with a small team of people who complemented each other and got their respective jobs done without the stress and chaos that had existed some months before.

If you need help developing an effective hiring strategy, learn more about LEAD, my Small Business Leadership Program.

Susan Martin, Business leadership coaching

school grants April 30, 2010 at 1:08 am

found your site on today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

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