Generalise or Specialise – Bruce Dickinson Shows Why A Bit Of Both Is Better For Business

By April 23, 2019 No Comments
Bruce Dickinson Delivering Inspirational Keynote

As many Iron Maiden fans know, alongside being a great rock vocalist, lead singer Bruce Dickinson is also a highly regarded sportsman. He has had a long and successful career in the sport of fencing.

But it was during one particular fencing competition that Bruce began to feel that something “was not quite right”.

“I am not normally an angry person,” he explains in his book ‘What does this button do?’, “Yet the further I advanced in the competition, the more it seemed as if there was a pressure cooker inside my head that wanted to burst. I had never experienced anything like it.”

But rather than panic, or let it end his fencing career Bruce approached this strange new feeling as just another challenge to be overcome. He did some research and came across the popular left brain/right brain theory and felt compelled to know more.

“I did every [left brain/right brain] questionnaire,” he says. “And in every single one I ended up bang, slap in the middle.”

Bruce then started fencing again, but this time, he decided to use his left hand instead of the right. The effect was remarkable.

“The anger was gone. The will to win and the passion remained but the pressures cooker had disappeared. I had lost one mind; now I was using another.”

This ability to tap into ‘both sides’ of his brain gave Bruce an enviable advantage.  He believes this flexible attitude is particularly advantageous when it comes to business.

Often businesses build teams around particular skill sets and often that translates to teams dominated by particular personality types.

For example, IT services providers often spend time and money growing a highly specialist ‘left brain’ dominant workforce.  However, a logical, scientific team like that is not always best placed for   solving complex real-world business problems.

Or, consider the marketing agency made up of ‘right brain’ visual and linguistic creatives. Do they have the skills and temperament needed to understand and make use of key analytical data that could significantly boost the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns? In many cases they do not.

There is a danger that building a workforce that resides in one camp or another can leave an organisation short of the well-rounded professionals, or generalists, who can cover all the bases. You can of course balance a team by chosing some ‘left-brainers’ and some ‘right brainers’.

However, think what might happen if your workforce all followed Bruce’s example. If they were the sort of people who had the imagination to ‘switch hands’ when the circumstances required.  If they had learned to use both their left and right hemispheres. Such people turn obstacles into opportunities by breaking through the shackles of our ‘specialism obsessed’ world.  And that, says Bruce is what leads to success.

When Bruce Dickinson delivers his highly respected business talks it becomes clear that this topic of spanning the logical/creative divide is one that he has thought long and hard about. It is also one that he has acted upon, not only in his personal challenges, but when building teams to progress the businesses that he has successfully invested in.

Bruce talks about his personal breakthrough and how addressing his own left brain/right brain bias has helped his creative, business and sporting career, during his inspirational keynotes.  To book him to speak at yours call Dave Daniel at CSA on +44 1628 601 411 or email

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