Risk Leadership: Risk Managing Intuition

It’s nice to be made aware of some different thinking to your own in areas that one is focusing on.  This happened to me last week.  I, along with many of you have been preaching risk-based decision making for a long time and along comes this advice to students at Stamford University Graduate School of Business – Listen to your intuition.

In this presentation Jillian Kilby is a young woman engineer and she 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.

I agree and disagree.  Intuition (or gut feel) absolutely has its role in decision making.  However, primarily only when it is about a decision that you are very familiar with and there is little time for further consideration such as a fire fighter entering a burning building.  Intuition is not such a great option when it comes to bigger, less frequently made decisions.

Having said that, the weighing up of success vs satisfaction is where intuition does play a role in bigger, less frequently made 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.