Use Your Intuition to Make Business Decisions
“There’s no room for intuition in business” said the unwise person flailing at their company.
Since the word, “Eureka” was uttered in the early 17th century, intuition and/or gut instinct (or a simple “just knowing”) has been at the helm of many a great idea. Business or otherwise.
The trick is trusting your intuition (or the tingles as I call it) enough to go out on a limb and declare a new direction/product/sensibility/etc. I can be very tricky in a highly political environment like the ones we find in corporate America.
I recall a time several years ago when my team was preparing a presentation to the president of the division. I was the youngest manager (typical in my career) and deemed the least experienced. I was assigned one of the more controversial topics, transitioning to a new HR format which included using core competencies in the workplace. It was a new concept and not everyone believed in it, but I took it on because I believed in it.
My manager, whom I still love dearly to this day, was really a mother figure who had no qualms about mothering her staff (“she’d raised three boys, there was nothing she couldn’t handle.”) During a practice run, she stopped me and said she didn’t like the direction my presentation was headed.
Being an intuitive novice, I still knew she was wrong. I felt like the presentation was headed in the right direction as it practically wrote itself, it contained my sense of humor and style and I really didn’t want to change it. I didn’t know how to express it other than it just felt right. I acquiesced after a few choice words about letting me manage my part of the presentation, for which I was reprimanded by the Director. Later, however, she called me in her office and told me to go with my instinct. I was never sure why she had a change of heart:
- Was she being a little overbearing and wanting things to be ‘perfect’
- Protective of the youngest and most rebellious cub
- Or did she want to teach me a lesson…
Regardless, the day came and I presented what I wanted to, to the president, and it was hands down the most successful presentation of the group. After the presentation, she came right over to me and told me how proud she was of me, and that I’d killed the presentation.
In this scenario, there were many things working against my intuition and confidence. I was:
- The least experienced (youngest)
- Perceived as the rebellious/very opinionated cub
- Discussing a highly controversial topic
But something felt right about the original presentation and it bothered me to even think about changing it. When questioned by my mentor, whom I trusted, I still felt that she was wrong and I was right. This, I think, was the beginning of my learning to trust my tingles. If I’d bombed, I would have taken full responsibility for it and when you feel strongly and thought it out after your eureka moment, you have to be confident enough to go with your gut.
So what’s your intuition telling you in your business? Take a listen and then flesh it out. You never know where the next great big idea is going to come from.