Bryan’s Blog: Following intuition takes guts

Intuition can be a powerful decision tool, however it is so often misused. If you are not aware of the times when you could or should follow your intuition then you are most likely taking a big chance on the outcome – then you will certainly need guts.

The times you should use intuition are when you are making a decision under familiar circumstances and when there is little time to stop and think the issue through. A typical example is for a fire fighter entering a burning building. Studies have shown “gut-feel” decision making can be very effective because the mind has the ability to read patterns that we have not consciously processed and rationalized.

Can intuition be used in making bigger, more strategic decisions? Well until I’d watched this video by Jillian Kilby, a young engineer and a student at the Stamford Graduate School of Business, I completely shunned the idea. In the video Jillian quotes Einstein as saying:

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, the rational mind a faithful servant.”

And asks if:

“Do we live in a society that honours the servant and has totally forgotten the gift?”

She goes on to say that Harvard Business School Professor Clay Christiansen teaches MBA students to listen to themselves when they make decisions. To weigh up success vs satisfaction.

Intuition (or gut feel) used in this context absolutely has a role in making strategic decisions. We need to listen to our inner selves to identify what will truly make us happy, otherwise we run the risk of following false desires and making poor choices. For those of you familiar with my MCI Decision Model, this is equivalent to understanding the drivers of our decision on a continuum from Survival to Desire to Purpose.