Using Your Intuition

Harvard business professor Daniel Isenberg studied 16 senior managers in major American corporations. He spent days interviewing them, observing them as they worked and watching them perform various exercises designed to identify what made them successful. He discovered 5 different ways in which successful managers use intuition:

  • To help them sense when a problem exists
  • To rapidly perform well-learned behaviour patterns
  • To synthesise isolated bits of data and experience into an integrated picture
  • To check on the results of rational analysis – they search until they match their ‘gut instinct’ and their intellect
  • To bypass in-depth analysis and generate a quick solution

Charles Merrill of Merrill Lynch once said that if he made decisions fast, he was right 60% of the time. If he took time, analysed a situation and made a decision carefully, he would be right 70% of the time. However, the extra 10% was seldom worth the time.

Intuition is based on everything we already know and have experienced, intellectually and emotionally.

We may not be able to explain the rationale behind our ‘gut instinct’ but it is more than a whim.

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