'Right-brain' thinking necessary for future of procurement

6 May 2008
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07 May 2008 | Paul Snell, in St. Louis, US

The need for logical, analytical and linear thinking in business has been overtaken by a need for a more emotional and empathy-based approach, according to a US business writer.

Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind and a speechwriter for former US vice-president Al Gore, told purchasers at the annual Institute for Supply Management conference the way business was being conducted was changing in favour of more emotional, empathetic skills.

He said skills characteristic of the left side of the brain, such as logical and analytical abilities, used to be the most important in business. But there was now a shift to incorporate abilities cultivated by the right side.

"Today [left brain] abilities are still 100 per cent necessary, but they are no longer sufficient," he said, adding those people able to use both will move forward, and those that do not will be left behind.

He attributed the shift in business to three factors - abundance, Asia and automation. Business has adapted to the high standard of living among the US middle class, where products are now created to differentiate on design and emotion, rather than cost. Routine work is racing toward the cheapest provider, often in Asia. And increased use of technology is making many logical, analytical tasks obsolete.

He added companies were now looking for employees who can demonstrate "symphony", the ability to be able to see the wider position of the work they do.


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