You are very smart. You are very good at thinking, as a matter of fact. You are filled with knowledge gained in classrooms and from experience. You know what works and what doesn’t.
You manage with your head — your brain. You solve problems. You design and implement processes and systems. You research markets and customer attitudes and behaviors. You understand and work within generally accepted accounting principles. You can work the right buzzwords into conversations, and meetings.
When something goes wrong, you are very good at analyzing it, and understanding what happened, and how. You love numbers; they are comforting, and clear.
You are very smart.
But people solve problems with more than just their brains, don’t they? Are they moved by the spreadsheet only? Do they come to work each morning looking to bring their blood, sweat and tears to a process or a system?
They want to believe. They want to bleed for the right mission, the right product, the right person. They want to win, to taste the fruit of an investment of their talents, their knowledge and their experience. They want to stretch, trust, and be trusted. They want to feel, and to love, and to commit.
These things don’t fit on your spreadsheet. They are not a system or a process, nor is summoning them a system or a process. They are messy and unpredictable, discomforting and hazy.
They are faith, and faith doesn’t live in your brain. It lives in your heart. While it takes brains to solve problems every day, don’t forget people and organizations achieve mastery with their heart as well. It’s a genuine competitive advantage.
“Big brain, tiny heart” is the most common mistake organizations — and leaders — make. “Tiny brain, big heart” is the second most common.
You manage with your brain, and you lead with your heart. You have to do both — deliberately and intentionally — to be great. Simply doing one, or the other, alone makes you and your organization mediocre.