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Gut Instincts & Business Decisions

Gut Instincts, Intuition…. 


 … and Business Decisions?

You know that feeling that something just feels right. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but your gut says to go with it.

This is something we’ve all felt. It’s oftentimes at the core of many personal decisions we make. When we’re deciding on which house to buy, for instance, sometimes falls back to what feels right. While making major decisions based solely on what feels right certainly isn’t always the smartest way to go, but the lack of awareness will definitely wreak havoc if we ignore it completely.

After all, the wisdom borne of our experiences helps create a balance when rationality alone won’t cut it. As life goes on and tactic knowledge is acquired, important experiences are stored. A complex circuitry exists between the brain and the limbic center that calls to our attention important signs or signals.

The term gut instinct is actually a term coined by process we experience when intuition is trying to get our attention. When we are faced with a stressful or complex situation, the amygdala sends notice to the gastrointestinal tract, where that ‘gut feeling’ occurs.

Did you know that the longer we’re on the fence about a decision, the greater the likelihood that we’ll make the wrong decision? It’s no different than back when we were in school and we weren’t sure about the multiple choice test. When our gut says the right answer is ‘C’, but then we waffle back and forth between ‘C’ and ‘B’, chances are – our original inclination was on point.

When working with clients, we oftentimes first start out with a hypothesis. A hypothesis, for this purpose, is just like the common definition that it is an educated guess. We take the client’s issue or problem that we’ve been hired to ‘fix’ and develop a hypothesis to start from. It’s really no different than some of the most mundane things we do in the normal course of a day. For instance, if we know they are doing road construction on the main thoroughfare to work, we’ll quickly conger up a hypothesis to determine the next best route to work. We can likely take the side streets and get there faster than skipping over to the next major highway.

While business solutions are much more complex, the idea is the same. We identify the issue or problem, create a hypothesis, gather data, determine the best methodology, and start analyzing.

Getting back to gut instincts though – we don’t have time to gather all of the critical data to make some decisions. Many decisions we make as leaders need immediate attention. We form our decision based on previous similar situations under similar circumstances. This information has been stored in our long term memory and basically adds to the recipe for a gut instinct.

When it comes to solving complex organizational issues or enhancing and maximizing strategic business plans, gut instincts are a very common used method to get the ball rollin’. We use our gut instincts to get things started. It doesn’t mean it’s going to be the right answer. After all, we still need to weed through the symptoms to get to the heart of the real problem. We can’t skillfully resolve a multifaceted organizational issue without carefully and systematically going through a complex process.

When we listen to our intuition, we are more likely to respond more accurately in some situations. By listening to our gut, we are far less likely to miss some otherwise important decision-making opportunities.

When have you trusted your gut instincts and it proved you right? Read more about those on Wall Street who listen to their intuition.