Leading with Head & Heart

Back when our daughter was a junior in college, she came home one weekend and announced that she’d missed the deadline for on-campus housing assignments and would have to find an apartment. (Oops. Sorry Mom and Dad.) Her parents (us) had equally strong, but opposite reactions to this news.

Parent One: When was the deadline for on-campus housing? Did the university try to contact us? Will they make an exception? How much extra will an apartment cost? 

Parent Two:  Where will she live? Will she be safe? Who will she room with? Are they good kids? How will this affect her studies? Will she still come home on weekends? 

After lots of discussion, we agreed that it probably was time for our daughter to take this next step. It wasn’t going to be a financial hardship, and we could ask her to take on more of the incidental expenses. And while we wish she hadn’t sprung it on us, we could learn from this as a family. We started off in opposite corners, but ended up in the same place.  

We’ve noticed it often works this way with business decisions, too. One of us puts more emphasis on objective principles and impersonal facts, while the other of us puts more weight on personal concerns and the people involved. When there’s a decision to be made…

The Head of our company asks: 

  • What are the pros and cons? 
  • What kind of return can we expect?
  • What are the risks involved? 
  • Why are we doing this now? 
  • What information do we need?

The Heart of our company asks: 

  • How will this strengthen our relationship? 
  • How will this affect our customers? 
  • What’s best for the team?
  • What choice aligns with our values?
  • What new learning will come of this?

Neither Head nor Heart are sufficient on their own, but together they cover the bases for making the best decisions.  

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