Based on my own experience in business, the best results come from a balance of vision and creativity, combined with a clear focus on logical problem solving and results.
This balance is rare and often called whole-brain thinking, versus the traditional right-brain or left-brain orientation. Accenture research from 2019 indicates that less than 10 percent of business leaders show this balance in their leadership.
Most of the entrepreneurs I meet as an investor and advisor have no shortage of right-brain thinking, showing vision and creativity. But often, they don't realize that their potential is being limited by a balancing focus on results, metrics, and customer specifics.
Here is my list of key principles for creating and capitalizing on a balanced focus as a business professional or an entrepreneur.
Start by marketing your vision and purpose.
Too many entrepreneurs I know start by highlighting their new technology and assume that it will sell itself. Unfortunately, technology doesn't create a vision, and it usually frightens customers away, unless they understand the vision and value first. Every balanced leader does marketing early.
Break your creativity into specific deliverables.
Most people need manageable product, time, and price specifics related to them, to appreciate the value of the big picture that you paint. Don't expect investors and customers to follow you, based primarily on the strength of just your passion and your long-term strategy.
Show results with a minimal viable product (MVP).
Trim your vision into a simple and focused quick solution that illustrates your potential, but doesn't have to wait too long or cost too much to be appreciated. If you try to strike out in too many directions all at once, you will confuse customers, and likely not do anything well, due to limited resources.
Listen to customer feedback and tune your vision.
Even your best vision of the future is likely not perfect, and stubbornly following it in the face of pivot recommendations is a recipe for failure. Learn to take action quickly on feedback, diligently solve problems, and build momentum toward your objective. This is where balanced thinking is critical.
Build trusted relationships and listen to advisors.
Peer relationships and good advisor relationships are key to any balanced leadership, especially for right-brained people. Even Steve Jobs, who relished his visionary thinking, later learned to listen to his advisors and his board, after losing his leadership role in the early days of Apple.
Keep up with the curve, but don't get too far ahead.
Some very creative leaders try to move too fast, in their passion to get the ultimate impact. They overwhelm and lose their followers, and they tend to run out of money. This is where metrics and real data must be used to guide your business, complementing your own vision and intuition for the pace.
Celebrate every progress step along the way.
Visionaries and their followers tend to burn out, never noticing progress toward that final dream. Your job is to break the big objective into small steps, and celebrate every success. This will keep you and your team energized, learning from each step, and willing to do the work for the final success.
Balance your business with your personal life.
Personal growth and satisfaction is rarely all about business. Whether you are right-brained or left-brained, you need to find time for your family, external entertainment, and your health. Business leadership and success requires whole-brained satisfaction with you and the whole environment.
If you find it impossible to think adequately right-brained and left-brained at the same time, then I recommend that you find a partner you can trust to complement your strengths and interests. Certainly you need to keep this in mind as you select key team members as well. Don't fall for the delusion of yes people, or feel successful when everyone on the team thinks like you do.
Real business success from the right balance of interests, skills, critical thinking, as well as execution. Don't let your dream idea and business slip away due to a lack of focus on results, and don't let your technology invention fail to start by never communicating the context. With the right thinking, your potential these days is huge.