Sunday, August 3, 2008

How powerful is intuition? In business. In life.

Most people would probably agree that we can't run our businesses or our lives on intuition or gut feel alone. Facts, figures, information, competitive environment, past success or failures all play a part in our decision-making. But when faced with a choice where all things seem relatively equal, learning to trust our intuition can be extremely valuable.

There are many successful business people who will tell you how important it is to believe and trust intuition as a guiding factor. Richard Branson, Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates have all admitted that much of their success can be attributed to their ability to sense what's right based on instinct rather than rational processes. Even Einstein wrote that "the only valuable thing is intuition."

John Naisbitt, author of Megatrends, was quoted as saying "Intuition becomes increasingly invaluable in the new information society precisely because there is so much data." So the question is how powerful is intuition becoming as a legitimate and highly recognizable tool in our society? According to a 2006 PRWeek CEO survey, 62% of CEOs use their gut feel when making decisions. And then there are companies who pay $10,000 a month for business intuitionists, like Laura Day, who was recently featured in Newsweek, to help them as an organization become more intuitive, innovative and creative. Obviously, Seagate Technologies and other companies must think it's extremely valuable.

We all possess intuition. Some people have more of an innate ability to pay attention to it and trust it than others, but we can all learn to do that. You probably know people who are very objective in their judgment and then others who are naturally subjective. Or people who tend to be more original and creative thinkers and others who would prefer to simply restate what others have said.

Arupa Testolin, of Intuita, wrote an encapsulating article on the importance of intuition in management decisions. She closed by saying, "Our greatest challenges today will be surmounted by choices made, not from what we know, but from what we don't."
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