Business Success and Art: 5 Tips on How to Build Whole BrainThinking and Creativity

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The arts are emerging as a role model for business and organizations because the arts excel in areas where leaders struggle the most: chaos, diversity, ambiguity, envisioning the future and the ability to dare to break molds. (Wall Street Journal 8/19/03).

Creativity. Innovation. Visionary Leadership. Strategy.

These are the key ingredients in future business growth. Most organizations talk about them, but can't seem to understand HOW to achieve them. They search for answers from experts and books with the same repackaged strategies. Although it's known that a new approach is needed to transform the business. It's uncharted territory. Organizations are hesitant to take risks and explore new solutions unless there's supporting historical data. When traditional organizations get stuck in this mode, it's called the Elephant Pole Syndrome.

Most organizations lean heavily on "left brain thinking", which involves analysis, structure, and reliance upon historical data. Frankly, this has been the easy way to solve problems and make decisions, but with a very high cost to the overall business health . There's little risk and not much room for the creative thought that is needed to deal with today's business challenges.

THE ELEPHANT POLE SYNDROME

Circus elephants are tied to poles as babies so they don't wander off and create damage. They are conditioned to accept that the pole restrains them, so they stop fighting it. As an adult, the much larger elephant could easily uproot the pole, but remains compliant. Unfortunately for him, his thinking has become limited and he never realizes his own power. This has become the case in many organizations today, and it threatens the chances of survival in the future workplace.

If organizations learn to accept and use the whole brain, chances of business survival would dramatically increase. Why don't they just do it?

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It's a lot like picking up a paintbrush for the first time and being challenged to create a masterpiece. As you struggle with knowing where to even begin, you are also wrestling with the potential embarassment of making a mistake or failing altogether. You may believe that you don't have an artistic bone in your body.

When people think of art, creativity usually comes to mind. Artists are strategic visionaries who are able to tell the most striking stories through effortless strokes of a paintbrush, free of fear, confident of each color choice, shape, and shadow. These are the map creators we commonly call "right brainers".

ARTISTS AND WHOLE BRAIN THINKING

Art is more than just slapping paint on canvas and hoping for the best.

In truth, art requires whole brain thinking. Creativity, intuitiveness, and vision originates from the right brain, but art requires strategy, critical thinking, structure, and practicality. Most genius artists think through their masterpiece- how to lay it out lin layers, what colors compliment and contrast, how to space the objects, how to sketch it before committing to paint. This comes from the left brain.

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Artists have a tendency to work through their worldly problems on canvas (or other mediums like clay and sculptures). Not only is it possible to express oneself through art, it is also possible to use art to build confidence, experiment with risks, and shift perceptions. Artists also develop a commitment and accountability to the picture they paint, knowing that they will have to share the story, provoke emotion with it